Monday, September 30, 2013

Social Suicide and Other Sacrifices

As students who all hope to someday make enough money to support ourselves, and our future endeavors, we often find ourselves extremely busy. Often I find myself torn between going out and staying in.  However when the opportunity is too great to pass up, sacrifices must be made in order to move my academic/professional life forward.

I was recently sent to San Diego, California to attend a conference hosted by the Marine Technology Society. It was incredible to say the least. However having to miss three days of labs, classes and extracurricular activities is certainly not incredible.

I began the search to see just how far someone would go to advance his or her career.

No one sacrifices more than Olympians. Their time, bodies and social life all must be sacrificed for the greater good. Three years ago, at the age of 14, Gabby “flying squirrel” Douglas left her mom, her three siblings and her two dogs and moved from Virginia to Iowa to work with an Olympic caliber coach, Liang Chow, who coached Shawn Johnson to Olympic gold and silver in 2008.

When Abby Johnston's diving coach moved from Columbus, Ohio to Charlotte, North Carolina to coach at Duke University, Johnston went with him. The Olympic silver medalist in synchronized diving got an apartment and took online courses, missing all of the awesomeness of her senior year. The pursuit of an Olympic dream also impacted the family and Johnston's two sisters, with vacations planned around diving meets - sometimes-even holidays played second fiddle to diving.

Beach volleyball player Jennifer Kressy is now well into her thirties and still sacrificing for her Olympic team. After missing the 2008 games by 50 points, Kressy spent the next set of four years living out of her suitcase and training pretty much every day. Rarely seeing her family except for special events and having to Skype date her boyfriend who is a French volleyball player are some of the sacrifices Kressy has made for her career.

No Olympian has sacrificed quite as much as weightlifter Sarah Robles. Though Robles is the highest ranked weightlifter in the United States, she was living off of $400 a month, from weightlifting, up until 2012. Robles would live off food stamps and anonymous donations to make ends meet all so that she could continue training for the Olympics.

Even our athletes here at the Island University make sacrifices in order to be better. They often begin their workouts before the sun rises and end their days well after the sun has set. That schedule sounds a lot like the life of a STEM student and so we are all brought together by the need to sacrifice the frivolous for the unforgettable.

While students and athletes alike are out on the hunt for a better future they should always keep in mind that compromise and sacrifice can be a helpful tool to reaching goals but one should never sacrifice who they are for what they think they should be.

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