‘I just want to quit, I want to give up and never look back. What happened to the days when my life revolved around myself, my own goals, and everyone supported me?
‘Where are my cheering friends, the ones who supported me after my wins and my championships?
What will I do if I have to do it all alone, even when no one is looking?’
Stress from school, athletics and my family forced me to ask myself these questions only five weeks into the fall quarter.
At the time, I never truly knew that the answers that I demanded were soon to come, at the highest price I’d ever have to pay: my education.
Six weeks into my sophomore year, I had to drop out of school, and work three jobs to make ends meet.
I had to grow up and take responsibility for my life, my athletic and scholastic dreams and refocus on what is important, even if it isn’t myself alone, but the entirety of those who I affect and am affected by.
As an athlete, leaving my team behind was like losing a part of my soul.
I never knew how much of a part the solidarity of a team would play in my personal life.
Nor did I expect to feel so out of place in the big bad world, without the people who shared my common goals.
The compassion that is expressed between coaches and athletes, even when it is silent, is greatly missed.
For two-and-a-half months, I could not spend time alone with the jumping pit.
Nor could I share my stories with the lanes of the track. I could not, in a sense, figure out who I was.
Because at this point it could not be a matter of questioning who I was, or who I was with the team. It was figuring out who I’m not.
I’m not going to collapse because I have to do it alone, nor will my world end if things are put on hold, and I will not change this, even when no one is looking.
As I fought back the tears I forced myself to regain composure, as i would soon have to make a decision.
To stay in the world, or to sacrifice just about everything I had in me, and find a solution.
I told myself that if being back in school was a part of the person I’d always known myself to be, then my coaches, the athletic staff and my teammates should be my motivation to dig down deep in my soul and change the weaker part of my attitude.
The part that questions whether or not I get something out of each of my life’s experiences, and if so, what am I willing to do for my education and athletics.
Even if it means starting at the bottom.
My heart slowly adjusted to becoming a grown up, taking responsibility over my life, and asserting power into the things I hoped to manifest.
The answers to my intuitions forced me to see college life, and athletics from a different perspective.
At this point in the game, every one of us will have to be as mentally strong as we are physically, both in and out of school.
Now, don’t get me wrong.
I had to juggle all of the wrong answers before I could move forward.
The harshness of the world isn’t to be taken lightly.
It may seem as if my conclusions were reached within a matter of days.
And they were, but they were the hardest days of my life, when nothing else mattered but finding the road out of adolescence into maturity.
They were long days of labor, of hours of filling that still didn’t pay enough to buy food or put gas in the car.
They were many nights on a soggy pillow, soiled with a million dreams of education, love and a light out of the darkness.
But, after all the hard work, I found my way home.
I was reunited with hope, as I set food onto this campus.
My head was clear and my mind susceptible to change, and all that comes with it.