by USjournal Student Writer: Rebecca Darrup, Cross-Country Cowgirl
I know many of you are probably still finishing up your school year, and you've got this! If you're already done, the last final exam in the books, and now you're out of the books for a little while, congratulations! I finally got finished up for the semester, and got to watch some of my friends graduate. This summer, I'm taking a few online classes toward my bachelor's degree, but thankfully, I get a couple weeks to do everything except schoolwork!
I've been thinking about this for quite a while now, and trying to find the time to sit down and write around all of my finals, projects, essays, helping the team move all of our equipment out of the arena to the school, and moving my own horses for the summer. Especially when there's so much to do, picking a starting point and giving each item on the to-do list your best effort can be quite a monumental task. I wanted to be sure I could organize my thoughts for this in the way they needed to be -- and if I still sound just a little bit brain-fried, I apologize now!
There are plenty of assignments in life that are a bit intimidating, whether that's within your course load or just everyday life. When I was staring at a to-do list that involved five essays, eight final exams, two or three extra projects, wearing out an energetic dog, seeing friends before they leave, fixing your internet, keeping horses (and myself) in shape, entering rodeos on time, and keeping all of the commitments I made to other people (and there's possibly too many)... I wasn't even sure where to start, let alone if I was going to get to sleep at all during that time period! It was even more frustrating when I considered the fact that in all honesty, my to-do list wasn't even that long because I had procrastinated. It was just long -- and overwhelming. Life will do that sometimes!
I was getting ready one day, and trying to give myself a pep talk in the mirror when I actually took a second to read some of the quotes I've written on it, and smile at some of the stickers. One of them is a goat. My brother plays lacrosse, and there's a clothing company that's geared towards lacrosse players called GOAT USA. Goats are cool, for sure, but there's way more to this company. To them, G.O.A.T. stands for "Greatest Of All Time." Even though I never did play lacrosse, I grabbed this concept and ran with it! The more I think about it, each one of us is a GOAT in our own way. You might be the smartest kid in your math class, or the best at basketball; either way, you're a GOAT! One of the guys I rodeo with here at Mesalands Community College is dead set on being the GOAT of bull riding, and I believe he could be. But that's the thing about GOATs: they grab other people and take them to the top of their game, too. No matter what an individual's level of greatness is, a GOAT wants them to reach that, and believes in them way more than they might at a weak moment.
Anyway, that morning, I decided that I'd had enough of being overwhelmed. I was going to act like the GOAT, even if I didn't necessarily feel like it. When I looked at my list, I took it as a challenge to do as much as I could, to decide that I felt like doing what needed to be done. I decided I wanted to go write essays and ace finals. When I finally put my mind to it, I finished a research paper that had to be 8 to 10 pages in four hours. I was confident that it was well-written, and it came out to be nine pages with a page and a half of sources. It was still a challenge, without a doubt! But it needed to be done, and moping about it wasn't going to get it done.
The other thing that helped get me through my last few weeks of spring semester was this: I took a look at my goals. My rodeo coach is huge on goal-setting, and encourages the team to apply that to our lives outside of rodeo as well. At the beginning of last fall, he gave each of us a packet that included questions to help make sure your goals are your own, a page for rodeo goals, a page for personal goals, and a 'why' sheet where we had to explain why we set each goal. With that said, I've got a list of my goals and the steps it will take to reach them hanging beside my mirror, where I read them every morning and each night. I've got a section for my school goals, my personal life goals, and my rodeo goals, with a few random ones thrown in there too. When I wanted to decide what assignment I could skip and still pass the class, I thought of those goals I'd written, remembered I want to be the GOAT of my own life, and did all my work even though it was overwhelming and intimidating. My parents always demonstrated to do everything to the best of my ability, take every chance I got to do something new, and always be around to serve others. Doing anything half-way just drives me crazy because I know I can do better!
My rodeo coach is also so much more than just a coach. He is a mentor and a role model, as well. He's been working with me on changing my thinking because believe it or not, I can occasionally get pretty negative. A lot of that comes from knowing I can do better; for example, if I made the same mistake on several of my runs in the practice pen, I end up focused on that rather than on what I did right. That kind of ruins the fun! Coach also has been helping me to realize that the work I put in doesn't really have to be more than everyone else, but it does have to be correct. I think that applies to life, as well. Knowing that you've put in the work and the time makes you so much more confident to be able to do your job well, and it doesn't matter if that's in athletics, schoolwork, or an actual job. Knowing that "I don't mess up" allows you to look at a bad practice and think, "Nah, that was a fluke thing. No big deal." Besides that, if you're doing what you love, is there such a thing as a bad practice, or bad class? Rough, maybe, or could've-been-better, but bad?
As you finish off your school year, keep your head up! Remember why you started, and finish strong, with all you've got to give! You are the GOAT all day, every day! It doesn't mean things will be easy, but when you look a challenge in the eye and smile, it's a whole lot easier. Allow yourself to think, "Chasing my dreams; how much fun is this?!"
You know, they say if everybody likes you, you're probably doing something wrong. That means you gotta get up and stand for something. Your dreams are not everybody else's dreams, they were only given to you. So it's your job and your responsibility to make 'em happen. You bring 'em to fruition! How? That's up to you! You gotta come and get it! Now let's ride! -- Rank One, Roosevelt Road
Here are Rebecca's other posts, in case you missed them:
Best of luck in all your endeavors,
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