Finding the Balance: School, Soccer, Parenthood and Work!

When I started school, I remember joking around with my friends and family about becoming a soccer player. You may think some girls just play soccer for the cute uniforms. Well, guilty as charged, because originally—that was me! Later that year, around August, Manor College’s soccer coach wound up reaching out to me, and asked me to join the team. I thought this was a joke, or I was on the show Punk’d, because I never talked about soccer with anybody at school, and I didn’t know any soccer players.

Well, fast forward to September when the season started. Being on the soccer team taught me to watch the opponent’s feet. If you have time one day, just watch a basketball player or football player on the field or court, and observe their posture and their body weight. You see that if they lean to the left more so than their right, then 9 times out of 10 they’re going to go right, and visa versa. When my coach had me out there on the field, he pushed me to run more than what I would do on a regular run; he pushed me more then I would push myself. I wasn’t the best player, but I was fast!

The soccer team was down to earth; it was a couple other girls that never played before, and some that you can tell soccer was their life. In the beginning, it was good; I was a cheerleader from middle to high school, so I knew about the obstacles that came with it. However, college was a totally different experience, with practice every day, then class at 6:30pm at night. Pet peeve: I hate sweating and being dirty, and going straight to class after the workout was just…ewwww.

My social life was another story; friends and family complained about not seeing me. My life was basically being a working mom, full-time soccer player, and school full time; plus, my son was in football. So, talk about a chicken running with their head cut off!  My grades were good, but the days I had games were the days I had my hardest class. I was thinking: I can do it, I’ll get my grades up and work turned in, in no time. Nope: I failed.

Being a mom while playing soccer was hard for me sometimes. I felt like I wasn’t giving my son enough attention. However, when I thought about it, I knew that was me just telling myself that I need to quit. That right there made me realize: I can still do what I want and still have time for my son and do what I need to do for him. I brought my son to the practices; I brought my son to the games. Yes, it was hard, but I managed. If my son did not have his tablet or phone, he would play with the soccer ball or my coach would let him play with us doing practice.

In other words: I put what I learned in soccer into practice. I pushed myself harder than I ever would have before. It took me a while to learn the right balance for my life; for now, I’m taking a break from the soccer team and concentrating on academics. That doesn’t mean you can’t balance work, sports, socializing and school, but here’s what I learned: part of being an adult is finding what works for you.

Sheresa Palmer is a Criminal Justice major at Manor College.

A Letter to Incoming Freshmen

When entering college, what’s the first thing that comes to mind as a freshman? The hot guys or girls; do they have a sorority or fraternity; or what type of clubs/sports they have?

You may start to believe that college is like what you see on tv/in the movies. Well, if that’s the case, let’s just say: you will be completely shocked.

My first day as a freshman was January 17, 2017. I was excited because I was so ready and nervous at the same time. I was thinking: what if the professors do not like me, or what if they are complete jerks? I was so overwhelmed that my mind was racing a thousand miles per hour like a race car.

However, my experience was the complete opposite of my fears. The professors/advisor I have had so far love me, and actually helped push me to become the best I can be. I’m not saying that school is easy breezy, because if that’s the case, everybody would be passing with flying colors and wouldn’t be stressed about midterms, etc. But: you will become more mature here, and you will succeed if you make good choices.

I am going to say this to the up and coming freshmen: relax, breathe. The professors are so welcoming. Some are stern and it’s going take a cold day to get them to smile, but they want the very best for you.

Please, do not come to college and skip class because your friends are not in the same class as you, or because you do not like a teacher. You are in college now, where “What you do today, will affect your tomorrow.”

My top tips for first year students:

  • Take advantage of all the help that’s given to you.
  • Check your emails.
  • Network — reach out to people, help out with different organizations.
  • Take advantage of your education.
  • Study and get a tutor, even if you feel like you do not need one.

Your first year is your easy year. Join a study group, or make one. Don’t be a procrastinator and turn in the assignment at the last minute. If you like to work under pressure, then go for it, but for most others, don’t. In other words: know yourself and how you thrive. Do not keep putting stuff to the side because you want to have fun or be with your friends. Better yet: make sure you have one friend that’s going be on your case and motivate you and everyone in the group to stay on top.

I’m ending this blog with a thought.

I pray that y’all have: No distractions, no unnecessary interactions.

It’s focus time.

It’s grind time.

Sheresa Palmer is a Criminal Justice major at Manor College.