Social Squad

Role Models – Everyday Heroes

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I’ve met some very amazing people in my life, and there are some that I want to keep a little closer to me.  These are people that helped shape who I am today, and most importantly, they’re friends!  I find the best role models aren’t celebrities or other famous figures, but rather people that I encounter daily.

In sports, there are a few people who really helped push me and shared how they love the sport of running.  Macala Fifield, my teammate from high school who I’ve mentioned before, is probably the biggest reason I decided to pursue college athletics.  I still talk to Macala whenever I’m in a slump, and just hear about how her season is doing.  Her confidence is extremely admirable in a sport that really tries to wear you down everyday.

 

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Macala and I reunite.  This time, on different teams, and in college! (2016 )

 

Here at Saint Martin’s, I met two teammates that really stand out to me as role models.  Shannon Porter and Nathan Morgan.  You’ve probably heard about Shannon from her incredible accomplishments on the track.  She’s our premier distance runner, a GNAC conference champion, multiple school record holder, and an All-American.  With this resume and talent, you’d expect her to be a fairly intense person.  In reality, she’s on another level of kind and friendly, and loves to be with her team, and we love her too!  While I’m not expecting All-American honors, she is someone I look up to because of her ability to stay grounded to those closest to her, and stay positive and smiling every time I see her.

 

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Shannon rocks her smile with a motivational quote in the SMU Rec Center ( August 2015)

 

Nathan Morgan graduated last year, but I haven’t forgot the way he found a way to keep talking during the hardest workouts and push me when I really needed it.  I also was able to connect with him via our shared love of cross country skiing.  Nathan has taught me to find what you love and hold on to it.  I think Nathan is a person who really knows who he is, and the kind of person he wants to be in life, and I’m so glad to have spent a year with him at SMU.

 

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Nathan loves the great outdoors, as shown here on the beach during cross country team camp (2015)

 

There are also some people that have helped me through my journey to find a career.  In high school, my great friend, Emily Sexton, pushed me into my first student government meeting which was a domino effect that would essentially steer the rest of my years in high school.  She encouraged me to get involved on the state level, giving me my first experiences in public relations and marketing.  Emily is still a close friend and I expect great successes from her in life.

 

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Emily found herself in the area and visited SMU! (2016)

 

Finally, one last role model who I met here at Saint Martin’s.  She should sound familiar because she’s also on the social squad!  Sarah Salvatori was one of the first people I met during my freshman year.  I asked her for advice about choosing a major/minor and she met with me and answered all of the questions I had for her.  Now I’m lucky enough to work in the same office, and I continue to learn from her.  Sarah continues to show how to be professional, but express how much she enjoys her work, though her work!  We will really miss her in the office when she is gone next year.

 

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Sarah and I enjoying our tea, and a day at work in the social squad office! (2016)

 

Role models come from all corners of life, and once you find one, don’t let them go!  Be sure to let them know what they mean to you.  Who knows, you might be a role model yourself!

 

Thanks for reading,

Andrew

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Round 2 at SMU!

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Welcome back, everyone!  I’m thrilled to be back in Lacey for year two of my education at Saint Martin’s University.  There are so many events to look forward to in the upcoming year, and surprises that will become lifelong memories.  I just wanted to check in and update with what has happened since classes got out in May, and what I’m looking forward to in the days ahead.

A little while after returning home to Fairbanks, AK for the summer, my friend Danner Linhart, a Benedictine Scholar and now RA, came up to visit for four days!  We hit the trails in Denali National Park, taking in the sights and wildlife, and even visited Santa in North Pole, Alaska!   I love being able to share what I love about my home with other people.

Danner takes in the view of Denali after a long hike to the top – June 2016

Later in July, another friend of mine, Astrid Serrano, faculty member, Ernesto Chavez, and I traveled to Baltimore, MD and Washington D.C. for the Catholic Relief Services student ambassador conference.  We were able to connect with other student ambassadors and incredible people with amazing stories and experiences.  They will help us to carry out CRS’s goal of ‘Faith. Action. Results.’ in the SMU community with the rice bowl, and beyond.  We also just had a great time exploring a new city in the summer heat.

 

Astrid and I take the podium in the Russell Senate Office Building – July 2016

Since arriving in Lacey, I’ve been through my second year of cross country camp and I’ve been getting closer with my teammates.  We have a great group of freshmen who are joining us this year, and I’m thankful for all of them!  I will be running my one and only cross country meet this year at Willamette University in Salem, OR this Saturday and then I will begin preparing for track season.

 

Just messing around before our home cross country race with freshman, Seth Chism, and senior, Mitch Hughey – September 2016

I’m excited to be putting in more time with the Social Squad this year, while staying busy with our student newspaper, The Belltower, and my position with Astrid as a CRS student ambassador.  There will be plenty of great stories to come this year, so follow along with us here at SMU to hear them all!

 

Thanks for reading.

A Change of Plans

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At Monroe Catholic High School in Fairbanks, Alaska, I was extremely involved.  It was a small school so there not as many people as some of the bigger Fairbanks schools, but we had no shortage of opportunities.  I wanted to be a part of everything.  Sports, student government, service clubs, National Honor Society – I loved being busy!  When I graduated, I planned to go to SMU and coast through my first year.  I would be living in a new state, I would have a new track team, and I would have to make new friends and have new responsibilities.  I did not know what to expect so I did not want to get involved until I felt like I had a strong grip on my new environment.   This year has not gone at all as I had planned it…

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Picture day for the SMU Track and Field Team – January 2016

My first semester had a very redundant theme: home.  Seventeen-hundred miles away from home I was learning how to be comfortable with living somewhere new.  I’m not one to be nervous about new experiences, but there sure was a lot I was thinking about, even if I really was just excited to be here.  I had to figure out the campus, the meal system, time management, new friends, keeping in touch with old friends, community events, homework, cross country practices (including 6AM workouts), and lots of other little things.  One of the strengths that I do have is the ability to stay calm in stressful situations, until I am able to work out whatever it is that I need to do.  How did I get over these stresses?  I stayed positive and took every challenge as an adventure, and through that, I discovered that every other first-year was going through the same struggles.  We were able to get through everything (or at least the first semester) with a little help from our new friends.

The first floor of the Spangler residence hall is home to the Norcia community.  I so strongly believe in this embodiment of one of our Benedictine values of community, that I am currently in the process of becoming a Norcia mentor for next year.  This is just another way I am trying to give back to Saint Martin’s, and another way that this year had surprised me.

One of my teammates, who happened to be the editor of our school newspaper, The Belltower, mentioned writing for the paper.  I declined, trying to stick to my plan of simplicity I had set for myself, but it was so easy to imagine me writing for the paper.  I had always loved writing, and so I finally gave in and submitted my first article about my transition from Alaska to Washington.  It was around this time that I had also heard about Social Squad.

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Andrew and Andrew at the WSU Open in Pullman, WA – January 2016

I had a history class with Christine Towey, and I asked her about the Social Squad and the Marketing department.  It had piqued my interest because it sounded like the direction I wanted to go with my studies and a potential career.  I had an interview just before Christmas break and was notified that I had the job just before the second semester started!  So here I am, in February 2016, and I am not where I had planned to be in my first year of college…and that’s a great thing.  I had planned not to get involved outside of school and sports and here I am with two jobs and planning to take on a leadership role next semester.  At a university that stresses giving back to the community and provides me with so much, it’s difficult to not find a way to give back.  This makes me think about what other goals I have for the future, and what else I want to do with the seven semesters that I have left.

I want to become a Norcia mentor and provide to future first years what I was given this year.  There is a lot of strength and confidence in experience and there is a lot you can learn from those who have been where you are now.  I want to work more with The Belltower to have it distributed to more Lacey and Olympia businesses, and also have more businesses have their ads in the paper to give a better feeling of community in our paper in connection with SMU.  I want to be an orientation leader my junior year, giving myself another outlet to let new students feel welcomed into the next big adventure of their lives.  Ultimately, I want to be a role model, and someone people can look up to.  When I think of role models, I don’t think of celebrities or superheros.  I think about when I was growing up, and the people who helped me become who I am today.  These are my friends, my family, my teammates, my teachers, and my co-workers.  These people are the ones who I saw overcome daily struggles, and stayed strong when they were feeling weak, and simply stayed positive and smiled when everyone else seemed to have a frown.  That is the kind of person I want to be seen as in my life.

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Mariners Caravan event at SMU with fellow Social Squad Member, Lauren Diuco – January 2016

While sometimes it may feel impossible to roll out of bed, or to finish that hard workout, or finish that article for work, it is important to remember that no matter what, you are going to make it to the end of the day.  Think about where you are now, and where you want to be in the future and know that the future is coming, ready or not.  Find out what you need to do so that when the next day comes, you have done something to have a result that is a reflection of that work you have done.  It is in this way, that we can live one day at a time, and still have the future in mind.  It is in this way that we can improve ourselves, and learn to live for others.  It is in this way, that we can step back from our lives, and see the lives of everyone around us to give back what has been given to us.

Thank you for reading,

-Andrew