In August of 2016, I drove my dad's old truck 1,300 miles across the country. My final destination, Monroe, Louisiana. Growing up, I almost always had a golf club in my hands. For years I played in competitive tournaments and practiced relentlessly. Finally, all of my hard work was paying off, and I was on my way to play for a Division 1 program at the University of Louisiana Monroe. I knew a great deal was going to change, but I was excited to set off on my own. However, I did not show up as prepared as I thought.
Even though I was accustomed to the long hours of golf practice, I had never worked out in a gym. And I certainly never went running. As far as I was concerned, there was no such thing as a pre-meditated jog. Running was something I saved solely for being chased. When the team met for the first 6 a.m. strength and conditioning session, our trainer, Brooke, broke the devastating news to me. Every day we were going to run a mile as our warmup. To me, the idea that we needed to do something after running a mile was psychotic. I could count on one hand the number of miles I had run, and all of them occurred under duress.
The warmup went as expected. I tried to keep pace for the first third of a mile, then fell back to a slow jog, and eventually dragged myself in with a pitiful shuffling. Brooke was thrilled. She was the type of trainer that relishes the opportunity to mold an athlete out of an amateur. Despite my intense fear of her, I relented. Brooke told me I was not actually trying, and I was convinced she was demanding too much from me.
Unfortunately, I was not only falling behind at workouts. By midterms, my grades were suffering, and my golf game was abysmal. Everything I needed to do felt like the mile run from my first week, harsh and impossible. After a few very exhausting months, I started to understand what Brooke wanted from me. My poor performance was not due to the amount of effort I made.
Instead, I needed to be content putting all of my energy into our workouts, knowing I would fail. My fear of failure had been holding me back much more than my dismal cardio abilities. On the golf course, I was in my comfort zone. Even when I played poorly, I always knew I would practice more and perform better in the next round. So I tried to take that attitude with me to workouts and in the classroom. I did not become a superstar athlete or student overnight, but I did see a difference in my performance.
Now that I am entering my final semester, I can confidently say my time here has changed me a great deal. I finally learned how to be a good student, I have confidence both on and off the golf course, and I actually enjoy running. I'm still terrified of Brooke, but I don't think that will ever change. This semester I am very excited to start my internship at Newcomer, Morris, and Young. I do not have much experience in the professional realm, and I am apprehensive about starting this next chapter of my life. But I would like to look at this opportunity as my next mile run. Even though I may not start at a four-minute pace, I am confident I will gain the knowledge and tools to become better and I am thankful I have been given the chance to do that here at Newcomer, Morris, and Young.
Written by Angela Tocco, NMY Intern 2020