Friday Flashback: “Life is full of chances to learn”

During my sophomore, junior and senior years of high school, I had the opportunity to write a biweekly column entitled “Student Voices” for my hometown newspaper, the Rosemount Town Pages, an experience that deepened my awareness of my growing role in my community. There is no online record of this column, just a disorganized three-ring binder of newsprint clippings that I transport from apartment to apartment each time life takes me somewhere new. In the coming months, I will share a column each Friday as a way to preserve this period of my writing, and my self-discovery, on a digital platform.

At the time I wrote the column below, my sister Shannon was nine years old, playing soccer for our local club soccer team. I didn’t know much about the game at the time, and I still have much to learn, but I’m proud to have the opportunity to cheer Shannon on now as she plays college soccer for Carroll University in Waukesha, Wisconsin. She has grown into an incredible athlete and a leader on her team, and I am lucky to call her my sister and my friend. I can’t wait to cheer her and her teammates on this weekend as they play against Cornell College and Grinnell College in Iowa!

“Life is full of chances to learn”

Date of Publication: October 29, 2004

Over MEA break, while many students were watching television or sleeping in late, other students were working hard. One of these students is my younger sister, who, with her Dakota Rev traveling team, competed in the state soccer championship in Cambridge. Even though their opponent, also a Dakota Rev team, played very well, my sister’s team won in overtime.

Although I am very proud of my sister and all she has accomplished as a soccer player, this state championship game was the first soccer game I had attended over the span of the fall season. Because of my own busy schedule and the tremendous amount of homework I receive as a high school student, it has been almost impossible to attend many games, so I am mostly unfamiliar with the sport of soccer and its rules.

During the game, I frequently looked over at my mother, an avid “soccer mom,” to ask, “Are they allowed to do that?” or “Why didn’t that goal count?” Each time, the somewhat annoyed look on my mother’s face faded into one of greater exasperation, and I came to the realization that I know almost nothing about soccer.

As a child, I participated in softball, basketball, and volleyball, all of which I do not do anymore. I did not, however, play on a soccer team, which explains why I know little about the game.

Even though I was aware that I knew little about soccer, I still desired to attend, knowing that the game would be a learning experience for me. I hoped that the game would expose me to thinks I was unaware of at the time, which it did.

This soccer game was similar to school. Every day I get ready for school, knowing I will learn many new things throughout the course of the day. I am prepared to encounter experiences I am unfamiliar with.

Hopefully, this will still be the occurrence when I graduate from high school and move on to college, and then into my chosen career. I hope that I will have the opportunity to learn something new each day, and to approach each new experience with optimism and the desire to learn. I wish the same for my peers.

In the words of Abigail Adams, “Learning is not attained by chance, it must be sought for with ardor and attended to with diligence.”

This column originally appeared in the Rosemount Town Pages on October 29, 2004.

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