Transformation

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

My SMU Experience: Expectations vs. Reality

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There is a lot less ramen than I expected…there’s still ramen, just a lot less.

My idea of what I thought college changed a lot based on what I saw and heard as I grew up.  I would say my first impressions of college would be the first time I saw Disney’s The Extremely Goofy Movie.  I figured I’d be heading out with my best friends, driving away from home, getting involved in a sport, and maybe even a fraternity.  In the movie, Goofy ends up following his son Max to college, and I hadn’t even ruled that out at the time.  I love mom and dad, but that is not an option anymore.  Please visit anytime, however!

Later I had learned from movies and tv to expect lots of parties in college, and crazy friends.  That was also inaccurate.  Those opportunities exist, but good friends keep you out of those scenarios, and rather, watch Netflix and make food until the late hours of the night.  A classy alternative.  Coming from a place with no professional sports teams and limited concert options, going to college in the Seattle was a huge eye opener for me.  Fellow social squad member, Lauren Diuco and I, are counting down the days till we can watch games at SafeCo Field again or see the recently crowned Sounders take over CenturyLink Field as the MLS Cup Champions.  I really didn’t consider these options until I arrived at Saint Martin’s.

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Lauren Diuco and I show our support of (King) Felix Hernandez at SafeCo Field

 
Until my teammate in high school signed to run track in college, I hadn’t seen collegiate athletics to be in my future, but I planned to make it a reality, and I did!  Another reality that came true in college stems from another Disney movie, Toy Story 3.  Mom took that one hard watching Andy go to college, and I always thought it was kind of ridiculous until it actually happened to me.  It is crazy hard to say goodbye to your parents, especially when you live far enough away that you’ll only see them a few times a year.  You learn how to stay close, and they love updates and pictures, so make sure you do that.

My family with me at Monroe Catholic High School the day I signed with Saint Martin’s

Reality definitely breaks expectations and that is such a great thing.  Lessons continue to be taken out of the classrooms, and you learn so much more than what you have on your class schedule.  You learn which stereotypes you can break about college students, and create your own experience here at Saint Martin’s.  However, I’d be surprised if you don’t accompany a late night of homework with ramen at some point in your four years…

 

“Last” Means a New Beginning

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Eleven months and twenty-five days ago, I scrambled to throw my things in to my backpack.  Usually, I would be getting the guys together so we could go get lunch at Speedy Subs or The Chowder House, but today was different.  Today was a milestone that I would never forget, and one that would decide where my life was going after graduation.  That day I sat down at a table in our school’s library, surrounded by family, friends, coaches and staff.  Next to me was Jalon McCullough, the school’s star basketball player, and together we both fulfilled our dreams of competing in our sports at the college level by signing our National Letters of Intent.

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NLI Signing at Monroe Catholic HS – April 2015

I would bet that you can remember any of those milestones from your own senior year, or just life in general.  Those moments where you thought “This is why I worked.  This is why it took all of that time. Just to get to this moment and feel that even for a few seconds, it has all come full circle.”  However, these moments do not last forever.  I thanked all those who supported me and served as role models.  I signed my NLI, hugged my parents, coaches, and friends, and it was over.  By making my decision, I finally began seeing myself leaving it all behind.  So because I had accomplished what I had set to do in the years before, I now had to give it all up?  The “lasts” of my life started becoming milestones too.

Eleven months and twenty-seven days ago, I went to my last prom.

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Boys from the MCHS Class of 2015 – April 2015

Eleven months and fifteen days ago, we had our last day with our kindergarten buddies (who are now first graders!).

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Halea and Emma pose for the camera! – May 2015

Eleven months and nine days ago, I had my last day as Student Body President and swore in my successor.

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Haley Michelle becomes the new Student Body President – May 2015

Ten months and thirty days ago, I put on my cap and gown, received my diploma, and had my last day at Monroe Catholic High School.

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Jackson Wallace, Lucas Button, and myself get ready to take the stage. – May 2015

Last. Last. Last. Last.

Seven months and thirty days ago, I had my last day in Fairbanks.  Followed by my first flight to Seattle to get to Lacey.  Seven months and twenty-nine days ago, I had my first practice with my new Saint Martin’s Saints cross country team.

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New teammates! – August 2015

Seven months and twenty-four days ago, I had my first service project at the Olympia Children’s Museum with all of the first-year students for Incipio, our orientation program.

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Morgan Erickson, Amanda Grengs, Jona Spiller and myself take a moment before a day of service! – August 2015

 

Six months and twenty-six days ago, I went to the Washington State Fair for the first time.

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Myself, Claire Palmiter, Cameron Devine, Melissa Roth, and Tamera Ramsay after a fun day in Puyallup – September 2015

Five months and fourteen days ago, I had my first article published in the school newspaper.

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“Wait, you actually want snow?” in The Belltower – November 2015

First. First. First. First.

The saying “when one door closes, another door opens” comes to mind.  These doors were going to close and there was nothing I could do about it.  I had to go out and find the doors that were opening, and that meant leaving home.  If you are about to leave home in a few months, take in your lasts! You earned them!  Then know that there are many firsts around the corner… maybe even at Saint Martin’s.