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The sophomore diaries: It’s all about adjusting to the unexpected

Grenfell is a sophomore public relations and management double major and can be contacted at carly.grenfell@drake.edu

Given new circumstances, we never really know what to expect — your first biology test of the year, your first day on the job or even having your first child. In a world of beginnings, things can be tough. Adjusting isn’t always easy.  And in my time spent as a Division I athlete, I’ve realized rather quickly that adjustment is actually a pretty tricky concept.  I don’t usually like to focus what I write about on myself.  However, at this stage in my collegiate career, I can honestly say I’ve learned a ton that may be valuable to a handful of people.

Expect the unexpected. Expect the unexpected. Expect the unexpected. No matter how many times I replay this phrase in my head, it just doesn’t click with me. I’d love to give the person who came up with it a friendly slap in the face and ask, “Did you expect that?”  With all jokes aside, here’s the way I see it.  The “unexpected” is reactionary.  If you know you will have to react to a situation, good or bad, why not set yourself up for success while you are able?  Having no regrets should be the focus in attempts to abide by such an ambiguous saying as “expecting the unexpected.”

Let’s just say that tearing my ACL less than halfway through my freshman season was something I wasn’t prepared for. But who would be? Coming out of high school, I had never been injured before. It wasn’t the most pleasant experience physically or mentally. Looking back, though, there are certain aspects I wish I had taken more seriously. It wasn’t until I had to sit through practice everyday that I realized something you’ve worked towards for so long can be gone so fast. I guess the take-home point here is to make the most of every opportunity you are given. Don’t try to expect the unexpected. Instead, focus on what you will do now to capitalize on your talents and opportunities.

And to this day, halfway through my sophomore season, the struggles, the learning and the adjustments continue. Through the ups and downs, wins and losses, I’ve realized patience is a hard notion to embrace. It was surprising to me, as game time rolled around, how much you forget sitting out for a year. I could play 20 minutes one game and five the next. Is it fun to sit on the bench? Not at all, but these games were pivotal in that I can now look at basketball in a much broader scope.  Just as in life, the picture is always so much bigger than oneself. I recently saw a quote that said, “Work for a cause, not for applause.”

I’ll reiterate: when you play, practice, coach (and so on) for a cause greater than oneself, good things will happen.

My biggest problem, and I’m sure I’m not the only one to experience this, is having this vision in my mind of what I want it to be like.  It’s sometimes hard to remember that things don’t always go your way. So what do you do when everything isn’t all hunky-dory? You put it behind you. You quit worrying about yesterday and make the decision to be better today. Have you ever heard someone say, “Please stop while you are ahead?” Here’s my advice if you ever find yourself in a hole: please go while you are behind.  Nothing is hopeless!

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