The Sprinter who Ran a Marathon.

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By Andrew Porter

Last week, I had an interview where I was asked the following question: Would you describe yourself as a marathon runner or a sprinter? Immediately, I figured that I would go with the former; however, after further thinking, I changed my answer to the latter.

I believe that life is a series of sprints that make up a marathon. In every phase of life, we go through certain trials and tribulations where we learn, grow, and achieve.

It is only when we finish one phase that we can go to the next. These phases or sprints make us who we are. I am a firm believer that experience is life’s best teacher.

If you are looking for a clearly defined story or article with a solid topic, this article isn’t it. It is merely one stream of consciousness in the current of life.

Presently, I sit at the end of the semester looking back on my year. I am happy with my accomplishments, but never complacent.

I simply have chosen to evaluate my year and to leave my audience with some of what I have learned in an effort to educate others and hopefully to be a blessing to someone along the way.

  1. On Success

Michael Jordan once said, “I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

I encourage anyone who is reading this to always be aware that everyone has their own season in life. You will not always experience success at the same rate as someone else.

Never let someone tell you that you are a failure for doing things at your own pace. During my first semester of this school year, I succeeded in most of my endeavors academically and socially. I finished the semester with a 3.4 GPA, was accepted into Grady, and was able to help see the startup of UGA Elite.

Although I saw some moderate success, I am not complacent. There are many more goals I want to accomplish and I plan on seeing these goals through. I was able to succeed through hardwork and dedication. I know what it is like to see a 79 not get rounded up to an 80, I’ve stayed up late and failed a test before, and I have also read many rejection emails for things I have applied for.

Because of these failures, I always grow. It gives me strength, allows me to remain humble, and takes away any fear I may have. To anyone reading—run your race. It isn’t about how you start, but about how you finish. You gotta take L’s if you want W’s.

  1. On Friendship

George Feeny once said, “friends are the family you get to choose.”

People always tell you that college is the time of your life and that you will make friends that will last a lifetime. I would say that I both agree and disagree.

I have friends back home that I call my brothers. I trust and depend on them like no other friend group I’ve encountered. I also have a strong support system here at school as well. Currently, I find myself really trying to evaluate friendships and relationships in my life. As I evaluate people’s places in my life, I have come to realize that people play certain roles in your life for certain amounts of time, sometimes for reasons unknown to you.

My message here is to be careful. Don’t be afraid to trust, but always discern who you give your trust to. I have been blessed with great friends throughout my life and without them, my college experience would be totally different.

  1. On Mentorship

Growing up, my mother always used to say, “Be a blessing to someone else today.”

I have tried to live by these words. I always used to say that I am passionate about mentoring and helping others who are in positions that I have been in before. I would always use the fact that I didn’t have a platform as an excuse for why I couldn’t mentor.

This year, my mindset has changed. You don’t have to go to an afterschool program to mentor. Mentorship is finding a freshman male and being an older brother to him. Mentorship is helping someone edit a research paper. Mentorship is being there to teach someone how to tie a tie.

These are all things I have taken on in my spare time this year and it is truly an awesome experience. I definitely feel like I have been able to help people out this year, whether it is socially or academically. I really have enjoyed lending a helping hand and feel that it is our obligation to give back once we reach success.

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Overall, these are just a few of my thoughts as I sit at the end of my 3rd year sprint. I know that I still have much to learn and much to accomplish. Along the way, I plan on helping others so that that they too can accomplish their dreams and aspirations. I’ve finished this sprint and now it’s on to the next.

During my time at UGA I have found that every person you encounter is different from the next. Each person has his or her own story that makes up their collective narrative. Some people are sprinters, while others prefer to run marathons. Success doesn’t yield one standard pathway.

I live by a quote from the great thinker Ralph Waldo Emerson,

“Do not go where the road may lead, go instead where there is no path, and leave a trail.”

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