Life Lessons I've Learned As A Strength And Conditioning Intern

Life Lessons I've Learned As A Strength And Conditioning Intern

There are still many lessons we can learn outside the classroom.
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I have worked as a Strength & Conditioning Intern for almost two years. This semester, I was lucky enough to become Head Intern, which put me in charge of the 30 plus other interns who volunteer their time in the weight room. Taking on this new responsibility got me thinking about all of the lessons that I have learned in the weight room. Now, I’m not talking about stuff related to training and exercise, although being in the weight room has taught me as much (or even more) about training than my classes at school. Being an intern in the weight room has taught me many life lessons that will remain true regardless of what career path I take.

I’ve learned that attention to detail is critically important when working on something. Doing something right the first time often saves time and the extra work of having to go back and do it again when it isn’t done correctly. All the little details add up, and can lead to a big difference in the end.

I’ve learned that there are a hundred different ways to achieve the same goal.

There are often many different ways to approach a problem, and there tend to be multiple solutions to that same problem. Just because you have one way of dealing with a problem and someone else has another, it doesn’t mean that one idea is wrong and the other is right. They may be equally valid and achieve the same results, just by different means. Open your mind up to other people’s ideas and you will strengthen your own base of knowledge.

Start with the big picture and hammer down to the details.

Often we can get so focused on one part of something that we forget the larger idea altogether. When it comes to training, we have macrocycles, mesocycles, and microcycles. You don’t start at the microcycle and work your way back. First, you plan out the entire macrocycle, and work your way down to the microcycles, adjusting as you go. Attention to detail is important, but so is having an understanding of the larger picture.

When tackling a big problem, work on one piece at a time.

Sometimes a task, like a paper or a project, can seem overwhelming. Not knowing how or where to start is an easy way to put it off altogether. When you have a big task to complete, it’s important to just start it! Waiting around isn’t going to do any good, and planning can only get you so far. Start on one small piece and complete it. Then, move on to the next one. By using this process, larger tasks can be broken down and accomplished in half the time.

I’ve learned that effective communication is vital to getting things done.

People communicate in many different ways. Sometimes a method of communication that works for one person may not work as well with someone else. Gauge what wavelength they are on, and adjust your own communication plan to get the most information across in the most efficient manner. So much of communication is beyond the actual words you say. It’s how you say them, how your body acts when the words come out of your mouth, and understanding every aspect of good communication is how to get something done quickly and efficiently.

Teamwork is everything.

Not often in life can you make it far on your own. At one point or another, you will need the help from one other person, or multiple other people. Nobody likes having to do group projects in class, but they help prepare you for working as a team later in life. In a team, you are only as strong as your weakest link, which makes working together that much more important.

I learned that the mind remains strong even after the body has started to give out.

Getting up at 4:50 a.m. after a bad night’s sleep isn’t easy. There were days where I got up before a lot of people on campus went to bed. It may be hard on the body, but the mind is stronger than you think. You can get up, even when you don’t want to. You can put in work, even when you don’t feel like it. Once you learn how healthy your mind is, other tasks don’t seem nearly as hard.

I think that as we get older, we need to go through a formative experience like this in one way or another. There is so much to learn outside of school and outside of the classroom. Take every opportunity you have to grow stronger and become better at something, because it will put you miles ahead of the people who just show up because they have to.

Cover Image Credit: Washington State University Athletics

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Black History Month Dos and Don'ts

Here is an open letter to let non-black people know what is and is not acceptable during Black History Month.

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Hello readers.

Here is an open letter to let non-black people know what is and is not acceptable during Black History Month.

Do not say the n-word. I don't care if it's in a song or if you say it to mean "friend," just don't do it. Warning: you may feel entitled to say it if a black person nearby says it. STILL DON'T DO IT. Black people have warranted the right to choose whether or not to say it. The creation of the word was used to oppress black people since slavery. Therefore, black people are allowed to feel disrespected when other people say it. And due to its history, you are NOT allowed to say it.

Do support black business. This is incredibly important for both non-black and black readers. These businesses will most likely be more expensive than department stores or other big name businesses. However, if you are willing to pay extra money for adidas or nike brands, you can put money towards the African American community. This is especially important because many companies do not hire black designers which perpetuates a narrow-minded perspective going into the manufacturing of clothing. Black people are often not given a seat at the table of opportunity - so when people try to build their own, support them.

For those living in LA, check out black owned businesses here:

African-American Owned Business Directory Los Angeles — Black Book LA – The Black Millennial's Guide to Los Angeles

African-American Owned Business Directory Los Angeles — Black Book LA – The Black Millennial's Guide to Los Angeles www.blkbkla.com

Our favorite stand-out black-owned businesses in Los Angeles that you should know about. Mention BBLA sent you.

Do be an ally. Call people out for racially biased actions. Whether or not a black person is in the room, there is power in having empathy and compassion for other people. This includes calling someone out for saying something racist or opening a conversation for something that you may or may not be sure whether or not their comment or action could be offensive. By sticking up for the people not in the room, you are practicing integrity and making other people aware of their own bias and ignorance. This is especially important for non-black people who have privilege that many black people do not have. When black people address issues they are often seen as being sensitive and over-emotional whereas non-black people have the privilege to not be seen in that light.

Do acknowledge the contributions black people have made to society. Every other month of the year (and during February) students are taught about history based on a non-black person's perspective. All I was taught in grade school was American history and the contributions of non-black people. However, there are many everyday appliances such as the traffic light, toilet, and digital computer that have progressed society that get no light. For some odd reason, this is the only month where people decide to talk about these inventions. Do your research and become more knowledgeable about these advancements.

Do have more conversations with non-white people. The solution to ignorance and cultural divide is simple: talk to people that look different than you. Rather than staying in own your personal bubble and shying away from difficult conversations, ask people about their opinions or experiences. In doing this, it is okay to ask and say "I am ignorant about this topic and would like to discuss it further". This conversation would be best to have if a safe and vulnerable space is already established between you and that person. Also take into account these conversations can be very triggering, and it is not the other person's responsibility to educate you about their experience. So if they do not want to explain it, they do not have to. Likewise, it is not your place to become offended or sensitive about their experience. You should not question their perspective and persuade them to feel differently. The situation happened and their perspective is valued. So you should enter that space with an heir of curiosity. In this same vein, it is not your responsibility to validate their perspective. Just take it for what it is, similarly to how you would not want anyone to question your perspective in a tough situation.

These tips could go on for days, but there is one key factor about this list. These are things not only to do during February but 365 days a year. The black community is constantly facing issues of not being supported and appreciated by non-black and black communities. So celebrate black and minorities all throughout the year.


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