Monday, April 9, 2007

Your Comments, Welcome

The University of Southern California is one of the great educational institutions in the nation. While there are many reasons for this, I feel that one of the most important is that they allow their students to have a voice. They allow the student to give feedback about their experiences here and the University takes this feedback to heart. One way by doing this is through the USC College Dean’s Prize for the Enrichment of Student Academic Life. This is a program that allows students to offer ways that could help enrich future student’s academic careers as well as offer ways to help the University. It can be something as small as a public speaker of something like adding a new major to our course catalog. Whatever you choose to write about they will listen and for the person with the best proposal, they are offered a scholarship. With my career at this University finally beginning to wind down, I feel that there are some suggestions that I would like to make.

Throughout my college career here at USC, and like many of the other students here, have had many good experiences, but with those good experiences, have also had many struggles. I learned the hard way about how tough college is. In my previous years of schooling, and up to coming to this university, I never had any struggles with school. It was a natural thing. I never had to study for tests, I just got good grades because I always went to class and there was never any extra reading to do. This leads me to my first proposal which is to offer a study skills class that one must take when entering the University. While there are many things that I have learned from this University, as well as other schools, the one thing I was never taught was how to study. I was never even introduced to ways that one could study. I feel that this hurt me and I believe that not knowing how to study has hurt many other people before me, and even those that I attend class with now. I feel that this type of class is one that could help everybody. I had to learn by trial and error and sometimes when you are finally introduced to a way that may work for you, it could be too late. This type of class will give you an introduction to the tough course load that you are about to be introduced with and soften the blow for the huge jump you take in your academic career whether you are coming from high school or junior college.

My second proposal is for a type of scholarship. Many of the people that I have taken class with are very fortunate in the fact that all they have to do is go to school and that’s it. They don’t have to have a job if they don’t want to, but what about those that need to work there way through school. I am a full time college student. I go to school five days a week, and I come home and study just like everybody else does. What many don’t know about me is that I also have to work forty plus hours a week to pay for school with minimal amounts of loans, and rent and transportation and this list can go on. I know there are a lot out there that have to do this and I feel that they should be rewarded some way because I believe that they have to work twice as hard as the person that is just the student. It takes a very dedicated type of person to do this and offering a type of scholarship for this type of person would be a wonderful thing. When I get off of school I go to work. I don’t get to go home and have a study group. When I get off of work at eleven at night I then can start my studying. I run off of caffeine and very little sleep. While doing this I still find myself coming up short on rent money, and having to find a way to get some money. Offering a person like this some type of scholarship for what they go through would be a great thing because, believe me it is not easy and there have been so many times that I have just wanted to give up because I felt like nobody cared. Being recognized for little things like that means a lot and could help keep a person motivated to keep on going.

Like I stated before, a college students life is filled with many good and bad times and the fact that this University listens to it’s student to help minimize the struggles is what sets it apart from the rest. I am sure that, like we have, USC has had struggles and has had to learn from the past. So I offer new proposals from what I have learned from this University in hope that one day it will help my future alma mater and alumni

Sunday, April 1, 2007

An Honorary Trojan

With the May approaching, we here at the University of Southern California like many other universities around the nation prepare for graduation. For this reason I thought that I would write a post about who I would nominate as an honorary degree recipient in my field of sports psychology and sports rehabilitation. My decision was based on the following principles values that we bestow in our university mascot Tommy Trojan which are, being faithful, scholarly, skillful, courageous, and ambitious as well as those proposed by James Freedman in which an honorary degree "celebrate sublime and d achievement. While there were many people that came to mind I feel that there is one that stood out above the rest. That person is Herman Boone, former coach of T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria, Virginia. Many people are familiar with Coach Boone because of the movie Remember the Titans, which was based on his first year of coaching at this institution.

Coming into T.C Williams High School in 1971, Boone was faced with an enormous challenge of coaching a mixed race team. T.C. Williams was a high school formed from the integration of three schools in Alexandria. This was a court ordered integration, so while the courts were ready for the schools to integrate, most of Alexandria was not ready. During this time, racial tensions were high and he was taking the place of an all white team with hopes from the community that it would be Coach Bill Yoast, a legendary white coach with several years seniority that took over the team. Instead Coach Yoast was named assistant coach by Herman Boone and Coach Boone officially took the challenge not only to put together a winning football team, but to teach his players to respect him and each other, and he also had to deal with gaining the respect in the community of Alexandria and the football community.

As a football coach he demanded perfection from his players starting from the day they met. This was shown by him leading the Titans to a perfect season. Coach Boone had to overcome adversity not just on the playing field, but in life. He wanted to show that the color of a man's skin does not matter but his actions do. Coach Boone brought together an entire community through a game. By doing what he did in Alexandria he kept alive a dream that his mentore, Martin Luther King Jr. had which was to have a dream.

I feel that Coach Herman Boone fits right in to the standard of Tommy Trojan and therefore a righteous nominee as an honorary graduate of USC. His battle with adversity, his involvement in the community and being a family man I believe has earned him this rightful nomination. Since Coach Boone has retired from his very successful coaching career at T.C. Williams High School, he spends his time giving presentations around the world about respect, teamwork, community involvement and importance of character. Another great honor in his name is the trophy given in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, which is a game between high school All-American seniors from the East and West side of the country, is named after him. If he were to speak to us at graduation he would speak of his struggles within a community. He would impose on us the morals and ideas that he placed on his team; brotherhood, teamwork, and the acceptance of change. And he would want us to remember everything that his team did for their community and apply it to the world today.

He is truly a person of great character, integrity and a symbol of social transformation. He overcame a time of racial tension and was also a very good coach. He is an all around man. While officially retired from coaching the game of football, he is still a coach. He coaches and motivates people’s lives. He is an outstanding role model to all those in my field and to all those that aren’t.