About me

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As a junior college transfer, I am a first year student, and junior, at Presentation College. Along with my major studies in the field of communications, I am collecting a minor in business essentials, and representing the Saints as a relief pitcher on the baseball team. Outside of academics and athletics, I work as a catering server at a hotel/restaurant, and enjoy reading, watching movies, and traveling in my free time.

Service Learning Project

This spring I registered for a course titled “Intercultural Leadership”. With no idea what I was getting myself into, I figured that the class would offer me the opportunity to develop my leadership skills in a way that I had not done before, as I do not have much experience dealing with people of different cultures. I have gained some different experiences living in multiple regions of the United States, but I really have never been thrown into diversity that I wasn’t able to simply adjust to. As we started dissecting the text book, it became obvious that this course was focusing on leadership in a global context. Having never left the country, I was interested in learning how to handle intercultural diversity, but was struggling to understand how this information would correlate to my life. A couple weeks in, the professor, Dr. Naomi Ludeman Smith, explained to the class the main objective of the semester: get involved with the growing population of immigrants in Aberdeen. For anyone who does not know, the population of Aberdeen has grown by five thousand in the last five years. Of those five thousand, three thousand are what we call in class “new Americans”, or immigrants.

The project that we as a class have decided to take on is compiling information around the community and putting together brochures that will contain that information and be made available to new Americans to help ease their transition into life in Aberdeen. After visiting hubs for immigration assistance such as Cornerstones Career and Learning Center, the public library, the Molded Fiber Glass plant, Lutheran Social Services, and the department of labor in town we have put together six separate brochures. The titles of the brochures are “laws”, “labor”, “housing”, “education”, “language”, and “community fears”. Each containing vital contact information and the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions by immigrants in Aberdeen. On Thursday of this week, the class will be splitting up and heading out into town, visiting the places we have already been and presenting our product in hopes of learning that the information we have gathered and put together will be helpful to those who need it. This has been the first time that I have ever gotten seriously involved in my community, and I am excited to see our efforts as a class come together and be used to help those in need.

 

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A Day at Storybook Land

Me and my mom posted up with the tin man

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Where’s Waldo?

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Three generations: My mom, Sister, and Niece walking down the yellow brick road

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My favorite girls

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With my main man

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The Saints Press

Presentation College has been without a student run news publication for decades, but that changed just a few weeks ago with the debut issue of “The Saints Press”. It is the first ever PC publication to be in a digital format, making the school news more available than ever before. As of now, the website contains tabs with stories about each sport on campus, student life, college tips, and an “ask Bernie” section where students can submit anonymous questions to the school mascot who will be full of fun and helpful advice.

The publication was kicked off by the members of this semester’s multimedia applications course. It was originally titled as a class project, but as time went on it gained a large amount of focus from the class, and building longevity of The Saints Press has become a serious goal. Myself and many members of the class have decided to make a club for the school newspaper, and are excited for the group to form and grow next fall and in the semesters to follow.

Joining the club would be a fantastic opportunity for anyone who is interested in getting involved with their campus, and forming a portfolio of published works. Aside from finding more journalists for the paper, there will be multimedia positions that need filling next fall as well. If you are computer savvy, and have interest in directing, editing, or filming videos, The Saints Press would be glad to have you join, as the main factor of this publication that separates it from past school papers is its interactive digital format. We are hoping to grow the interactive contents on the site, and the technology friendly club members we can get, the easier that will be.

Check out The Saints Press at https://saints-press.com/ , and get in touch with myself, Da’Marcus Cox, Aleijah Tomlinson, Camden Thomas, Shayla Strauss, Georgia Brittan, or Maddie Goetz for information on joining the club next semester!

 

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Places to See While in South Dakota

Mount Rushmore

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Crazy Horse Monument

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The Badlands

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Roughlock Falls in Spearfish

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Peak of Spearfish Canyon, top of the 76 Trail

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Book Review: “Relentless”

I recently read the book “Relentless” by Tim S. Grover. Grover is a personal trainer of professional athletes, and has worked with numerous current and future Hall of Fame basketball players. Kobe Bryant, Charles Barkley, and Dwayne Wade are a few, but his greatest personal project, and what makes this book one that belongs on every athlete’s shelf, was Michael Jordan. He took on MJ as a client when he first broke out into the league, and Jordan credits Grover for separating him from the good and making him great. The book, while its initial influence is directed towards athletes, can be translated into any walk of life and/or career as it is all about the type of mindset that is required to reach and maintain success. Grover breaks down the stresses and challenges that everyone faces in their mind when they are doing their work, and offers suggestions of how to combat those issues. The book is not the golden ticket to success, because everyone must figure out their path and walk it on their own, but through reading his words, and allowing yourself to absorb them and trying out his advice in real world situations, you can grow your mentality to become, in his words, “relentless” toward your goals. In the book, Grover defines “the zone”, the “dark side” within us all that drive us to the zone, and the killer instincts that are required to keep us in that zone. If you are an athlete that is hungry to compete at a higher level, or anyone who is desperate to reach the top in your field, this book is for you. Let go of what you think you know, give his philosophy a try, and see where it takes you.

 

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Spring Semester Speeding By

As every student athlete can relate, the semester that your sport is in season always seems to move a little faster than the other. This spring, however, has given me an entirely new respect for the phrase “time flies”. In the past, it has been difficult for me to juggle school and baseball at the same time, but I have always managed to keep my head above water. This semester has offered me the feeling of drowning for the first time. Eighteen credits, starting up a new school news publication, getting involved in the community, playing ball, and trying to maintain a social life have stuffed my plate full beyond belief. Maybe I am complaining, maybe I am getting lazy, or maybe I have discovered my limit. Regardless of which of those three options is actually true, I have been as stressed this semester as any other time in my college experience.

As I sit and write this, I cannot help but reflect a little bit on what it all means. I remember the first day back from Christmas break… The hanging excitement of a fresh start and a new year in the air. The opportunities ahead, not only in baseball, but in school and life as well, were full of potential, and I remember how ready I felt to take it all on. I had told myself I could do it, and that I would do it well, and the next thing I knew, I was here. And here we are. The last three months seemed to melt together, and now I am grinding to give my GPA a chance to survive heading into finals, while searching for a way to slow down every week to enjoy each little moment out at the field…

Life is crazy, and it’s not showing any signs of slowing down or taking it any easier on us any time soon. However, while I just shared with you that I am struggling to make it through my own hectic schedule, I would like to offer a bit of advice. (I’m honestly just saying this as a reminder to do it myself… but nonetheless…) Take a breath. When everything seems to spiral out of control, and you feel completely helpless, take a step back and breathe, dude. Everything will be alright, and you will find your way to the light at the end of the tunnel, no matter how dim it may become.

 

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Slingin' It

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Presentation Baseball Opener

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After a change in the weather, the Saints baseball team packed up and headed to Yankton, SD on February 18th instead of the previously set date of February 25th. Winning one game and losing the other on both days of the weekend led to a 2-2 split on the series against the Yankton opponent, Mount Marty College. Day one, dominated by a handful of quality appearances from starting pitchers on both sides led to two low scoring outcomes, and set a competitive tone for the weekend. With both teams eager to get the proverbial wheels of the 2017 season rolling, there was a sense of emptiness in the first two games due to the lack of offense, but that gap would certainly be filled up on day two.

Check out the scoreboard at the top. The picture is a little off, but the inning to inning scoring in the guest row doesn’t quite add up to the final tally in the runs column, does it? Well here’s the answer to that riddle: the goose egg in the top of the seventh isn’t a goose egg after all… In game one of day two, the Saints, proudly representing PC green and gold, not only overcame a four-run deficit in the top half of the last inning, but they dropped a TEN spot in the top half of the last inning. That’s right. The zero in the seventh was actually a ten. As the boys started the inning, one baserunner at a time, the bases would get loaded, a run would get walked in, and then the momentum scale would tilt heavily in the favor of the Saints. After the first run crossed, the Lancer’s lead fell to three, and the big man, sophomore, Anthony Guzman, would step up to the plate. With his team behind him, and the bases juiced, Guzzy would hit a towering GRAND SLAM homerun to put the Saints ahead by one. For those of you who do not understand the importance of momentum in college baseball, imagine the game as a car and the concept of momentum as the gasoline that fuels it. Not only did Guz top off the tank, but he changed the oil and swapped out the filters with that dinger. The machine that was our lineup in that seventh inning would cruise to add five more runs following the grand slam, and then the defense would shut the door on the game in the bottom half, capping off the victory.

All things considered, the Saints had some ups and downs in their opener, but with glimpses of incredible success driven by the will to fight, and hunger to win, the potential of success for the 2017 campaign is extraordinary. LETS GO SAINTS!

 

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The Mental Game

Half of the game is mental; the other half is being mental

– Jim McKenny (former NHL player)

 

I believe that this quote is relatable to all athletes to some extent, which can only mean one thing… We are all a little crazy here at PC. Attending a college where the majority of the student body is made of athletes offers an interesting social dynamic. We all have to fight the battle against our minds during workouts, practices, and games, but what does that battle look like for a volleyball player compared to a baseball player? A football player as opposed to a golfer? And even more interestingly, one role player on any particular team in contrast to a player who serves a different role? We are all playing the mental game, but often have no clue how mental any of our colleagues, peers, and even teammates really are. I’ll go ahead and open the floor for this discussion by trying my best to explain the mental game for a relief pitcher on the baseball team.

 

Firstly, I would like to address the factuality of a common myth around the baseball community, which claims that all pitchers are “weirdos”. As much as I would love to defend my kind and deny this claim, I cannot. We, as pitchers, are all indeed weirdos. What I can say in our defense, however, is that the position requires us all to have a certain level of “strange” within us, because without it, that battle with the mind that I’m talking about could never be won. The game of baseball is a beautiful depiction of true competition. Without any offense to other sports, there is no way to evade the clock on the diamond. You can’t take a knee or start fouling towards the end of the game. Regardless of the situation, I, as a pitcher, have to throw the ball over the plate, and give the son-of-a-gun at bat a chance to beat me, and this is where the weirdness comes into play.

 

The first step to gaining an advantage over the man that you have to give equal opportunity to is to let him know that you are a little crazy. Some of us believe in strange warm-up antics, others believe in the perfect walk-out song, and many of us believe in the simple effectiveness of the all powerful high and inside fastball. Whatever it is, all pitchers have a method to their madness, and the end-goal is to get one step ahead of the hitter.

 

People who do not know the game do not understand the magnitude of the “game within the game”. Each pitch of each at-bat is a battle of wits between pitcher and hitter, especially in the case of a reliever like myself. My job is to come in during the late innings of a game, and set a new tempo. Whether we have the lead and need a shutdown inning, or are behind and need a momentum shift, each pitch that I throw has the potential to change the course of the game at a pivotal moment. Through two and a half years of serving this role in college, I have learned the importance of the craziness and intensity that is required on the mound, and have invested myself so deeply in it, that it is sometimes difficult for me to separate my gametime mentality from my real world mentality… Certainly a contribution to the “weirdo” stereotype tagged on my breed.

 

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Crossing Cultures?

PC is made up of student-athletes. We all experience the same daily grind of training, attending class, going to practice, and trying to find time for the occasional nap or bite to eat. Living the same lifestyle, taking the same courses, and sharing the same facilities every day presents a pretty sizable area of common ground between us all, yet there is a noticeable separation between each team. This does not apply to every individual, and I (being the introvert that I am) personally have not made any attempts to resolve this separation, but my fly-on-the-wall personality, paired with a recent interaction, has made it evident to me.

 

The separation that I am talking about can be pictured in the cafe during any meal on any given day. The men’s and women’s soccer teams sit with each other in the front, baseball and softball share the next closest tables, basketball has a table behind them, and football and volleyball players can be found in the back. I understand that we spend most of our time with our teams, and there is no bond quite like the one between teammates, but why is it so uncommon for groups to mingle with each other on a campus as small as this one? Certainly there is an element of cultural difference amongst sports teams (even within each team at this school) which can be difficult to overcome, but, from my perspective, we all have a lot more in common with one another than we do differences.

 

The interaction I had which made me think a little more deeply about this separation was with two of the French students who are a part of the exchange program going on right now. As I was walking around giving these two guys a tour of PC, we got to talking about cultural differences between the U.S. and France. After some good conversation, there was a minute of silence as the three of us were weighing our similarities and differences in our own minds, and the pause was broken by one of the guys, “Why is your cafeteria so segregated?” I had considered this before, but to hear someone who had spent less than an hour in our cafe express their acknowledgment was kind of unsettling.. He explained that he noticed everybody representing their respective teams through their clothing, and each team keeping to themselves. This was considered strange by both of my new French acquaintances, and I struggled to come up with an explanation for them.

 

I don’t know exactly what I am asking of you all here, if anything at all, but I think it would be pretty cool if our student body meshed together more. I understand the hypocrisy here, as I previously mentioned my lack of effort to step out of my own comfort zone, but I am willing to change my ways and take some chances. So here is a challenge to both myself, and you, my fellow saints: Say hello to someone new every day. You never know what may come of the simplest of interactions. Let’s get connected!

 

 

“We but mirror the world. All the tendencies present in the outer world are to be found in the world of our body. If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. This is the divine mystery supreme. A wonderful thing it is and the source of our happiness. We need not wait to see what others do.” – Mahatma Gandhi

 

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Welcome To Aberdeen

 

After living in six states, and attending two middle schools, two high schools, and now studying at my second college, I think it is safe to say that I am accustomed to being “the new kid”. Starting up in a new place can be stressful, but the excitement and potential of new beginnings is unmatchable. I have become comfortable with the idea of taking on new environments where myself and what lies in the future are unknown, and have fully embraced the “rolling stone gathers no moss” lifestyle. However, I must say that the transition to Aberdeen has been totally different from the rest.

 

Firstly, the weather, I knew it would be cold, but winter in South Dakota is not just a daily adjustment. I witnessed the coldest day in Aberdeen history in December, a day in which the wind-chill fell to -50… WHAT?! Prior to my move here I had spent two years in the high desert of Southern California, and honestly, from a college athlete, going from a regular 120 degrees in the summer to sub-zero every day was the most difficult thing I have ever put my body through.

 

Another aspect of this move that makes it stand out is how rapidly Presentation College is growing. While being recruited to play baseball at Presentation, I was told that my time spent here would be the time that PC baseball gets on the map. What I was not aware of, however, is that the entire school would essentially be “getting on the map”. With a growing student population, and the constant opening of new clubs, organizations, and student resources, Presentation is the place to be. Instantly becoming a part of the growing culture at this school has made the transition enjoyable, because everybody is participating in this growth in some way or another, and that hangs a sense of connectedness over the campus.

 

Lastly, my move to “The Deen” has been different because it is the first journey I have embarked on as an adult. I feel as if I grew up throughout my previous travels, got my stuff together, and made a mature, meaningful decision to come here. I am more focused on school than I have been in the past, I am taking my sports life more seriously than ever, and I am excited about every day that lies ahead.

 

 

“Half the fun of travel is the aesthetic of lostness” ~ Ray Bradbury, Author

 

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