Tuesday, August 18, 2009

the last night

This is my last night in El Segundo... it doesn't really feel real yet. Tomorrow at this time I'll be back in Indiana, and in just a couple days I will be back at school for cross country and tour guide orientation and just getting ready. I've had a good time in California this year although I definitely missed Indiana more and I definitely noticed LA's flaws this time around. So much pollution and way too many people. Everyone expects me to come back here (a lot of people want me to come for grad school) but I'm just not sure. I guess we'll see. Of course I love the ocean and all but I would rather be in a smaller town with a lot less people and a lot less pollution. I definitely need to spend a lot more time researching grad schools though, and of course I need to take the GRE! I have a ton to do this semester getting things ready, working on projects, and being in charge of random other things so it's going to be very busy. I've got to get on top of everything now if I don't want to just crash in a month or two. I love the beginning of the school year though. Fall is by far my favorite time of the year - everything good happens in fall. :)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

From Gearfire.net: Balancing School and Sports

NOTE FROM MARIA: This article is here because for some reason the Gearfire.net is down. In any case, if you have any comments or questions just email me at milyusha @ gmail . com - thanks!
Also, a big thank you to the guys over at HackCollege who linked this!

Balancing School and Sports
via GearFire - Tips for Students by Maria on 8/5/09

As we race steadily on to the start of this next school year, it can never hurt to think a little about what our schedule will be like for the next few months. We have to keep track of classes, study sessions, working, social lives, and all sorts of extracurricular activities. One major time commitment is if one plays a sport (or two, or three…).

No matter at what level - intramural, club, or varsity - playing sports can really take up a lot of time. Being an athlete generally takes up considerably more time than exercising or working out to stay in shape.

I have experience with all three of these levels of sports so I’d like to pass along some insights I’ve gained from the past three years. First, here is some background about my experiences. My freshman year of college I played club soccer (I played soccer from age 4 up through my senior year of high school, but I wasn’t interested in playing at the college level). A large group of us got together about 3 times a week to kick around the ball and get some games going. I probably spent an average of 3-7 hours a week playing soccer in the afternoons. Two of the afternoons were on weekdays and one was on Sundays. This lasted for basically all of my first year at school and gave me a great group of people to know right off the bat, plus it was a ton of fun. My sophomore year I went to the first couple of club soccer practices but hardly anyone showed up (the majority of the guys playing had graduated the previous May), and I figured it wasn’t worth my time to keep going if no one was going to play. I switched to the ultimate frisbee team (also considered a club sport at my school) since I had a lot of friends on it and loved that as well. We also had practices 3 times a week, ironically enough at the same time as the club soccer met, and again I was spending around 6-7 hours each week playing frisbee. I was very active on the team for the first semester but by the end of the second semester I was a little burned out on it. So the fall of my junior year I took up tae kwon do. We have a physical education requirement so I figured I would just take TKD (I had spent about 5 years when I was much younger working through many belts) and ended up also joining the club that semester for extra practice. I spent 5 hours in club and 2 hours in class each week, for another total of 7 hours. (I see a trend here!) For spring semester, though, I had decided to take a huge plunge and join the track and field team, a varsity sport. I attend a Division III school so we don’t really have tryouts or cuts for the running program, which is really nice! I absolutely loved it and am looking forward to running cross country this fall. Track and field took up considerably more time - two hour practice every day plus going to meets usually meant about 10-15 hours of practice plus at least a full day or two for each meet.

All right, now that you know all that background information you can understand a bit more where I’m coming from with these tips. They will apply to anyone interested in playing a sport at school, whether it’s from the IM level all the way to varsity.

  • Get stuff done - I can’t stress this enough. If you know you want to spend two hours playing basketball on Wednesday but have homework due Thursday, make sure you get the homework done! Exercise and sports are a great stress reliever but also a great procrastinator. Don’t let your academics slide for sports. If you have a big game or meet over the weekend, make sure you get everything done for Monday so you’re not stressed out Sunday night.
  • Know when to stop or take it easy - If your body hurts, give it a rest. There’s no sense in injuring yourself. If you have too much going on, step back from the athletics and figure out what you want to prioritize.
  • Talk to your coach and/or captain - About anything. They are there to help you out with your athletics and, really, life in general. Listen to what they have to say, and learn from their experiences.
  • Utilize the trainer - If something hurts you, go talk to the trainer! Even if you are not a varsity athlete they can at least point you in the right direction. Don’t wait to get treated for an injury.
  • Remember you’re in school to learn - Even if you really love your sport, you really came to college to learn (unless you’re one of those high school athletic prodigies who goes to a DI powerhouse on a full-ride athletic scholarship). Don’t let your academics slide. They’re likely what is going to get you a job or grad school after you finish your undergrad, not athletics.

I hope you find some of these tips useful. It’s a big time commitment to play a sport in college, no matter at what level, but it’s also very rewarding physically, mentally, and socially. Have fun with it!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Motivation & Burn Out

I think I've realized why I've been so lazy the past couple of weekends: I'm burnt out. While I do love being by the ocean and I enjoy a lot of people out here, I think I'm pretty ready to head back home to go ol' Indiana. This is not easy to write, as I know that once I get back to Indiana I'll miss California. But at the same time, I know it's the truth. There are definitely things that would have benefited from my staying around home this summer, but I do think it was good in the end to have returned to LA. The honeymoon phase is over and I can see the flaws out here, all the reasons why I should not live here for more than 2-3 months at a time. (Even that is pushing it.)

I am excited for school to start up; I'm excited for cross country, classes, being a tour guide, tutoring, living with Amanda in what's going to be the most awesome apartment on campus, getting Knit Knite + Knitting for Nets up and running on the web, and a whole slew of other projects. I am going to be so incredibly busy and it's going to be great.

I know I should be taking advantage of the last couple weeks out here (there is a lot going on) but I can't bring myself to leave the comfort of my room or the pool unless someone else is with me. Motivation for running is at an all-time low. I don't feel like biking for the heck of it like I did earlier this summer. I don't even feel like going around taking photographs (instant clue that I'm not totally with it!). The novelty of Los Angeles has worn off, I think. It's a shame. Also, the weather hasn't been nearly that good this summer, and I think that's taken its toll on me. I'm also just ready to get back to Midwest air with Midwest prices and Midwest friends. Don't get me wrong; I really do like LA, but 1. not when I don't have a car 2. not for these long stretches of time and 3. not when it's cloudy for more than half the time I've been here. I will for sure come back and visit (there are too many friendships I've made here that I would hate to see end), but I don't think I'll live here for extended periods of time.

Who knows, that might change. And if it does, awesome. If it doesn't, awesome to that too. Life is unpredictable and I'm not wanting to let myself get stuck somewhere. I want to go around and see other parts of the country, too.