Tomorrow is the first day of the start of a very important journey.

I’ve wanted to go to grad school and have this graduate assistant position for over a year and a half now. It’s been a year and a half of waiting, hoping, pushing myself, tears, anger, frustration…you name it.

But it’s also given me the greatest life lessons, shown me who my great friends are, allowed me to love myself and others, and I wouldn’t change a thing! There will be moments during these long days where I question everything…do I really want to do this? I’ll feel like complaining and giving up, but I won’t because I worked really hard to get here. My friend told me to look at the positives. It’s hard, but you truly make a difference in the athletes’ lives. It’s hard, but you get to learn so many things about yourself and how to be a better athletic trainer. It’s brutal, but it has to happen, so you may as well look on the bright side! So I’m certainly excited.

I’m extremely nervous at the same time. I’ve been extremely interested in personality types and mental health…and a lot of stuff that’s shown me how to be a better person, which is step 1 to being a better athletic trainer. Knowing things about myself has given me so many avenues to improve, but it also gives me some more fear.

For example, I know that food is still a big deal to me. It’s still difficult for me to deal with, I have to make sure I eat or else I become extremely uncomfortable. However, I don’t know if that’s true, or if it’s just my fear. I’ve seen it enough times when I don’t have enough food, so I just fear repeating the pattern. I fear that I’ll get hungry and not have enough time to eat (I’ll always have food with me, don’t worry…), and it’ll be terrible. When I first moved here, the first few days were awful — I ate a banana and a protein bar on my first day, worked out, and then couldn’t stomach anything else for the next few days. Not a good experience = fear for the next time something similar happens. Or fear that something similar WILL happen.

But I am choosing to try and look past that fear. I have to remind myself that I brought snacks, there will be time to eat if I really need to, that I made enough food to have enough calories for the day. We get to eat when the players eat, we’ll make time. It will be okay!

Tomorrow: I am expecting a hard day. I am expecting moments of insecurity. I am expecting sore feet. I am expecting a little bit of sunburn. I am expecting moments of doubts and fears. But I’m also looking forward to meeting new people, learning to work as a team, gaining confidence in my environment (ex. the athletic training room and the practice fields…where to stand, what to do, how to help). I’m eager to ask GOOD questions, think before I speak, and slow myself down (physically before I do it mentally, it’s a whole thing!). Instead of expecting perfection, which is silly, I want to look for good moments to celebrate, and not-so-good moments to reflect on and improve.

It’s still hard for me to realize that no one expects me to be perfect. I know I expect it from myself with my quite…rigid personality. I also know that I sort of expect perfection from everyone else, but more in the sense that I think I’m observing perfection. I see other people who are even just a year further into the profession (ex. the year above me in school) and I already imagine that they never screw up, even with the small things. They’re confident, they don’t ask seemingly dumb questions…and then I instantly become overly careful of what I do, to the point that it would be better if I stayed true to myself.

So there are still things I’m going to struggle with, obviously, but I know there will be moments of clarity where I realize, ahh, I’m in the right place. And even if it doesn’t happen one day…it will happen the next.

The only expectations I have for myself tomorrow will be that I listen (and TRULY listen), work hard, and not worry. Oh, and that I will wake up really early and do my morning routine… Let’s do this!