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Tips from a College Athlete

Life in general can be very tough, especially coming to college and moving out of your comfort zone, even moving to a new state. Or in my case, playing for a whole new team. My name is Beon Riley. I play for the University of Hawaii’s men's basketball team and I’m also a full time student majoring in business management.

My first two years of college were definitely a huge change in my life. I am originally from California, so moving to an island 3,000 miles across the ocean wasn't very easy. Hawaii is much different than any of the states I’ve traveled to, and I began adjusting to new norms and learning more about the beautiful culture. With such a nerve racking change, it’s important to find your passion and to use every opportunity as a lesson. Each day brings new lessons and new accomplishments, and opportunities to learn more about yourself. In this blog, I would like to share some tips for dealing with change and adversity, whether it be for school or life outside of that.

Being a student athlete, you have to manage your time as

well, including rest.I have grown to realize that rest is very important for all of us. Getting the right amount of sleep is dire to productivity throughout the day and clarity and necessary to perform well in your sport. Once I realized how much rest I needed, depending on my workload, I was able to make a habit of getting my work done early so that I could spend more time doing the things that I am passionate about like basketball.

That brings me to my next tip : sacrifice. Sacrifice was something I learned was very necessary in maturing. Balancing school and basketball, I came to understand that there was always a time and place for fun. Honestly, responsibility is the real word for it. I’m responsible for my time but I’m also responsible for my body. I would say one tip that helped me the most to make the next step from high school athletics to college athletics was monitoring what foods I was putting into my body. If I look at my body as a car, I could either give myself supreme gasoline or just regular 86 gas, but either way, whatever gas I put in my body would determine how my body felt and operated. Everything in the body is connected, so I make sure my body is ready both mentally and physically.

All of the tips shared so far are important to achieve your goals - sacrifice, rest, eating better and drinking a lot of water - but they also help you better yourself. My last tip could be the most difficult, especially if you are competitive like myself. My last tip: self love. I cannot tell you how many times I have felt embarrassed, stressed, or unhappy because of simple things that are out of my control. “Control what you can control”, that good old saying, is something I try to live by everyday. Jump shots are going to be missed, turnovers are going to be made, and people are going to hate, but recognizing that you made a mistake in the moment and being able to move on to the “next play” is something that doesn’t just apply to sports, but other aspects of life. It’s easy to get caught up in the negatives, and it really takes a toll on your body and your mind. It makes your perception of yourself skewed. Realizing that you are human that is going to make mistakes and picking yourself up after is something that will benefit and carry you a long way.

If I could leave with a final word of advice, I would say to never compare yourself to someone else. My favorite rapper, Nipsey Hussle always talks about, “running your own race” and “finding your own pace.” Everyone’s “race” is different. You should focus on your race and yourself. You should be your only competition, and try to be a better version of yourself than you were yesterday.

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