Dream on

A little over four years ago, I was coming of what I thought would be the worst 6 months of my life. I had been deferred, waitlisted, and ultimately denied from UNC. It felt like every dream I ever had was crushed. I would have to go to a school that I didn’t want to go to, in a town that I wanted nothing to do with.

I look back on it and think about how lucky I am. Lucky that I was put into a position to learn a life lesson at such a young age and lucky that I consider that to be the worst 6 months of my life. I almost feel guilty that I considered my situation to be horrible back then. After all, I was still going to college, I had still graduated from high school and I still had a supportive family.

Looking back, it was the best thing that could’ve ever happened to me. I learned a lot in the year before I finally transferred to UNC. I learned to open up and make new friends. And more importantly I learned a lot about myself, how I needed to work to be successful in college (at UNC) and in the future.

I truly am a believer that everything happens for a reason (as many people are) and I have no doubt that straying off the path I had always dreamed of taking made me a better person.

It was never a certainty that I would make it to where I am now, a mere 12 days from graduating. But what a journey it has been.

Graduation Sunday will be surreal, it will be a dream come true, one that I thought may not have been possible a few years ago.

If you take anything with you, take this. Dream, dream the biggest dreams possible and then do everything you can to make them come true. Graduating from the University of North Carolina has been my dream from early early childhood and now I am 12 days away from seeing that dream come true.

Class of 2017: Tar Heel Born, Tar Heel Bred

 

Blogging has taught me a lot

Before this year, I had dabbled in blogging some, but never to this level. But after a semester’s worth of blogging, I must say I have learned some valuable lessons from doing so.

I never expected blogging to be an assignment for one of my classes, I guess it just isn’t something that I considered to be valuable or necessary. Let me start off by saying, I was completely wrong. Just like drawing or graphic design, after this semester, I consider blogging to be an art form, a creative one at that.

I think you can learn a lot about someone from reading their writing. Maybe it’s just because I’m a journalism major and a write A LOT (understatement). But as you get further into the journalism major, almost every teacher you encounter will tell you that reading is almost as important as writing for a writer. I’ve read a number of my classmates blogs’ this year and I must say I’ve learned a lot.

The thing about blogging, which is true for basically every creative art form, is that every single person has a different style. Some people write about sports, some about personal experiences, some about food and on and on. That’s the thing that makes the idea of blogging for a class so great, you not only get to learn by writing, but you get to learn by reading what your classmates have to say.

I’m not sure how many of my classmates have read my blogs, but that’s not that important to me. What is important to me is that I’ve learned you can learn just as much from reading a blog as you can from reading a book or a news article. Not to say that blogs may not be newsworthy, because most of the time they aren’t, but they do provide unique and complex views that many in the traditional media either are uninterested in, don’t have time to provide, or aren’t allowed to provide due to their employer.

My advice to everyone is to read blogs, expand your horizons. Read about sports, about food, about the personal, deep experiences of others. You never know what you can learn until you try.

Procrastination isn’t always a bad thing

Let me start off by saying I’m a huge procrastinator, but I think every college student is to some degree. And I’ve definitely learned my fair share of lessons form procrastinating, kind of like the one I’m learning right now. I had to write a number of blog posts for a class assignment and let’s just say, I’m running a little behind with the due date quickly approaching.

It’s okay though, fortunately, this is an assignment that won’t come back to bite me because I can write as many blog posts I want in a short period of time. But looking back at it, I think it’s still a lesson I’m learning.

This is my last semester in college and that’s definitely played a role in how I’ve approached this semester. To be blunt, I’ve been extremely lazy, some would call it senioritis. As much as I would love to have a job, I cannot imagine how I would’ve approached this semester with a job lined up. I’m choosing to think about it as a lesson in disguise (at least for right now).

Unfortunately, the days of procrastinating are going to be coming to a close for me. I have to break out of the cycle of procrastination to be successful in the real world, at least that’s what I’m telling myself.

So for all you incoming freshman and those looking to go to college hear me out. Time management is the most important thing about college, but so is being social, going on adventures and making new friends. If you are procrastinating to do those things then procrastination is OK!! Of course you have to find that happy medium between too much procrastination and just the right amount.

At the end of the day, college is all about the memories and the things you experience. You won’t look back and see a test grade and think ‘man I should’ve started studying a day earlier.’ But I guarantee you will look back on a night that you didn’t go out, or a basketball/football game you didn’t go to and wish you would’ve gone instead of studying or writing that paper a day early. Don’t get me wrong, time management is KEY, but to make the most of college you have to learn when and when not to do these things.

It’s a lot easier said than done, but everyone figures it out eventually.

(IF YOUR GRADES ARE BAD THEN OBVIOUSLY DON’T PROCRASTINATE)

Leave books alone

I went to see “The Circle” at the movies Friday with my class (yes my teacher is awesome) and it made me think about books that have been turned into movies. There have been some notable good efforts and there have been some real bad ones.

I’d say “The Circle” was kind of in the middle, but the biggest takeaway I had was if you want a movie to be good DON’T BASE IT ON A BOOK.

I know some people may say ‘but aren’t most movies based on books?’ and that’s a solid point but movies based on books are almost always worse than the book. It’s not really anyone’s fault that it works this way, it’s just the nature of the business and the movie industry.

Turning books into movies almost always results in some detail, major or minor, being left out of the movie. This was apparent in “The Circle” and even occurs in generally well received movies like the Harry Potter series and the Hunger Games.

Don’t get me wrong, I liked those movie adaptations. But they were also longer series that resulted in longer movies.

This opinion may stem from my recent disappointment in “The Circle” but I think if you asked me in a few months how I felt about this I will have the same opinion.

ESPN Layoffs

It’s a real touchy day in the journalism industry today and I felt that it was necessary to at least write a few words on ESPN layoffs that have occurred today.

I can’t imagine being an employee at ESPN, what once was the go to sports channel, and being laid off today because of the management’s lack of awareness regarding their audience. There were some great journalists that were laid off today, Ed Werner and Jayson Stark to name a few. They will almost certainly find work, maybe even before the end of today. I feel bad for them, and for the smaller names. They did nothing wrong, well except go to work for incompetent leaders and management.

As soon as Twitter emerged, ESPN should’ve been put on notice. They should’ve known what was imminent. Real time highlights would emerge as king and it was obvious. Instead they stuck with an outdated formula for years before finally making some changes (changes that have made it even worse).

A company with no idea where it is going is a dangerous place to work and a dangerous culture to work in. ESPN clearly has no idea what to do next. Their dive into pop culture and politics, “The Six” aka the new version of SportsCenter at 6, is averaging almost 70k fewer 18-49 viewers than its lead-in show Pardon the Interruption.

Barstool sports tweeted out today that they have a higher engagement rate than ESPN and they have 30.5 million LESS FOLLOWERS.

Clearly ESPN is in a free fall. They can stop it though because of the vast amount of resources they have. But one thing is for sure, they don’t seem to want to change. Unfortunately for them, no change is going to ultimately lead to their demise.

Uncertainty

I’ve been thinking a lot lately and it’s kind of ironic that the name of my blog has a lot of meaning at this time in my life. We’ve all graduated from high school, but graduating from college has a different feel about it. It’s another point in your life that might leave you with a ton of uncertainty.

Becoming part of the real world for good is a scary thought and sight. I ask myself daily if I am truly ready for it. But, even if I’m not, it’s not like I really have a choice, I think that’s what keeps me up at night the most.

Yes, there are ways after college to delay one’s entrance to the real world but looking ahead all you are really doing is delaying the inevitable.

Maybe uncertainty isn’t all that bad. After all, the possibilities and dreams in this world are endless, especially for those with college degrees. I think I’ve started to realize that every single person takes a different path, even if they end up in the same place as someone else.

The closer we get to graduation, the more at peace I become with the uncertainty in my life. Things have a way of working out, they have before and I’m sure they will again. That doesn’t mean you can sit around and do nothing, waiting for an opportunity to arise. You have to make and create your own opportunities. They aren’t always going to turn out for the best, but you can learn something from each and every one that you are given.

There are thousands of people graduating from college with the same uncertainty I have. That’s another thing that gets to me, there is so much competition out there. But I believe that what sets people apart is how they face that competition and the adversity that the uncertainty of life provides us.

At the end of the day, my mind wanders back to thinking I should be thankful that I have the opportunity to graduate from a great university, that I have the opportunity to search for a job or go to a graduate school. Not everyone is lucky enough to face the type of uncertainty that I am facing.

At the end of the day, it may just be a blessing in disguise.

A Dream Sports Week

If someone told me a year ago that UNC would win the national championship late on a Monday night AND I would get to attend the Masters on Saturday and Sunday, I probably wouldn’t have believed it. But it happened, it really happened. It’s one of the moments you look back on and you almost have to pinch yourself, did it really happen?

2016 was an awful sports year as a fan for me. Two of my teams lost in the championship game (Panthers/Heels) and the Braves were in the middle of a huge rebuilding year. It made me reflect on how important sports are in some people’s lives.

When I say that 2017 has been the best sports year I’ve ever experienced I’m not lying. Yes it’s only April, but I’ve already seen my school win a National Championship as a Senior (talk about dream come true) and been to one of the greatest sporting events in the world in Augusta.

The Masters is a magical place to be. It was almost surreal walking onto the course. This was a place I had seen on tv dozens of times, but there is nothing that can compare to being there and walking across the course. Standing feet away from the likes of Phil Mickelson, Sergio Garcia, and Rickie Fowler, it was amazing.

I even got to meet Aaron Rodgers, the Packers’ QB.

What are the chances? National Championship, attending the Masters, and meeting Aaron Rodgers while at Augusta. Can’t wait to see what the rest of 2017 has in store.

 

Redemption

This may seem cliche as I’m sure there have been a lot of people discussing this in the last few days, but I think it’s still important.

UNC’s run to the National Championship game, one year after losing in the final, is nothing short of extraordinary. Not that people viewed this team as lacking the talent to do so, but in the sense of the strength of mind it takes to accomplish such a feat.

The average person will never know what this means to players on the basketball team, but I can tell you what it means to me. It has given me a new definition of redemption, a first hand experience so sweet that I’m not sure it will ever be topped. I can only begin to imagine what the players felt, what Roy Williams felt. Some of the things on twitter provide a good example of this, including this video, the UNC basketball twitter account simply put up with one word, Redeemed.

It is one of the more powerful videos I’ve seen. The raw emotion on Isaiah Hicks’ face, the one player who deserved a National Championship more than anyone, is so unbelievably moving. Seeing the net being placed over this head by Roy Williams is grand. I know this is something he will never forget.

And I know this championship will be something I never forget. The 55 thousand people who rushed Franklin Street after the final buzzer sounded won’t ever forget it either.

One year after heartbreak, here we are. What a way to end senior year. I will always be thankful for this everlasting experience and for truly understanding what it feels like to see my childhood dream to be achieved, a National Championship while a student at the greatest university in the world.

One month till graduation

This blog post is a little different from the recent ones I’ve been doing. It does have to do with where we are going, and by we I’m really talking about college seniors. I know I’m not the only one getting ready to graduate, not the only one with a lot of uncertainty in my life, but regardless it’s easy to feel that way.

I mean after all, the rest of my birthdays seem meaningless at this point, just like everyone told me they would after you turn 21. Growing up is scary.

I think this time in our lives demands a lot of soul searching, even more so than leaving home after high school did. There’s a lot of pressure to be successful, especially after graduating from prestigious universities. Nobody wants to have to rely on their parents at this point in their lives. I think all of those things make this time in our lives particularly challenging.

One day I’m confident I’ll look back on this stressful stage and laugh, but understand that this period was one of the most defining periods of my lifetime. Luckily, there are tons of other people out there feeling the same thing, outside of the lucky, extremely qualified ones who already have job offers or have accepted a job.

At the end of the day, I really think the most important thing, aside from applying for jobs, is to enjoy the rest of the time we have left in school.

It’s hard to believe that I really only have one month of college left. Leaving UNC won’t be easy, but not everything in life comes easy. Here’s to hoping for stability in our lives again, sooner rather than later.

And if you need any inspiration here you go.

Bring the ACC tournament back to Greensboro

I’m sitting here watching the Miami/Syracuse game currently taking place at the Barclays Center on ESPN and the first thing that came to my mind is, where is the Syracuse crowd? Isn’t this the whole reason the tournament was moved to Brooklyn?

Granted, the crowd is starting to fill in, but that’s mainly because Duke is about to play.

I get the reasoning behind it and I don’t have a problem with the tournament moving around every once in a while. Attendance for the 2016 tournament in Washington was down almost 16k from attendance for the 2015 tournament in Greensboro. Greensboro actually holds more people than the Verizon Center in Washington, but the fact that the tournament regularly sells out in Greensboro tells you all you need to know about college basketball in the triangle.

The tournament won’t be back in Greensboro until 2020, that of course is reliant on HB2 being repealed. Regardless, it shouldn’t leave for 5 years. Greensboro is the center of ACC basketball. You can add teams from the west coast and I’d still consider Greensboro the center.

To me, it’s all about tradition, it’s all about tobacco road, and the original ACC teams. After 2020, I hope we bring the ACC tournament back to Greensboro for good.