Prioritizing Hacks

Hey guys!

Hope you all are dominating Monday so far. I know I am. I’m still knocking out a lot of errands applying what I learned from James Waters (see my previous post), and the to-do list hasn’t gotten any shorter. This is when I start to apply some of my “hacks” that I learned from my parents growing up.

My dad always told me about the “Yellow Pad”, where he always jots down his to-do list for the day or the week. My mom explained to me that for me to succeed in all aspects of life, I will have to learn balance. I still am learning and trying to balance everything in life on a daily basis. So in this post, I am showing you how to prioritize and balance things out in college.

Always write down what you need to do for today and for the rest of the week.

It’s imperative that we put our thoughts to paper, because sometimes we do forget things, and these things can be important (sometimes could cost us a good grade). This also gives us a little more of a sense of purpose, and helps us organize our days easier. I’m big on this, because I’m a creature of routine, and I find ways to move my errands into my daily routine. I would wake up at the same time daily, go to breakfast around the same time, then spend a certain amount of time in the library or behind my laptop working on assignments before classes begin. So, incorporate your homework times, errands in between your daily “staples” (classes, practice, or meetings), to maximize your productivity. When you list the things you need to do for the week, you can separate the tasks into different time slots of your weekly schedule. It’ll look a lot easier when your tasks are spread out instead of doing them all in one sitting.

The assignments that are due in the next two days are the most important.

This semester, I’ve finally been able to do this religiously. Partly due to the extra two-three hours I have daily (because I’m not playing college ball anymore), I’ve managed to squeeze in more homework time. I try to hand in my homework and papers a day or two before, this allows me to move forward onto the next thing a little faster. This tends to give me an edge towards the end of the week, I get to relax a little more on weekends.

The easy stuff first. 

Always do the easy stuff first, especially in the classes you are doing well. You are more often than not “fresh” before you start the hard assignments or projects, so I highly recommend that you knock all the easy things out early. Then give yourself a little break, or a cat nap before you take the difficult assignments on. For example, I’d do my discussion posts online for my Web Design class, email my group members for my Advertising project, go to classes, post a blog and then give myself a break before doing my Senior Paper. By the time I start my paper, I’ve already checked 4 things off my list, definitely better than being exhausted after my paper and seeing four more boxes to check off.

Nap, nap, nap. 

If you saw my bio on the NTID Ambassadors’ site, my love for sleeping is very evident. I’m a big fan of sleeping, because it has a direct correlation with my academic and athletic performance. Try to get a cat nap (20-30 minutes) here and there. I tend to take two naps a day, one between my homework hour and classes, and then another after classes, and before my work out. For some reason, I find myself zonking out on couches for naps rather than my own bed. This is largely due to keeping the nap times shorter. You wouldn’t take super long naps on a couch before your back starts to get stiff (I guess I’m getting old). This will help you think a little straighter and clearer, which helps you stay on top of school work a little easier.

So, to effectively balance things, you will have to make some sacrifices on a daily basis. You might have to sleep a little less one day for more schoolwork to be done. You might have to do a little more homework one day so you can sleep more the day after, or to hang with friends and such. Sometimes it’s friends, sports, or school. You will know. So listen to your gut and decide what’s important that day, then seize the day.




Small Victories

Good morning!

It’s almost nine in the morning, and I’m looking at my to-do list right now. I honestly think that to-do list is longer than the “Quarter Mile”. I have to collect data for my senior project, attend classes, post my discussion online, talk to some people for my two seminars this weekend, add more to my literature review, and knock out a bunch of small assignments. Not to mention training for pro ball while working two other part time jobs. Things are quite hectic as of right now. It’s a handful of things to do, especially in a week. But I’ll be okay. Thanks to James Waters.

Not long ago, I got lucky and was able to attend a presentation with some of my old baseball teammates down at Rochester School for the Deaf. James Waters was presenting that day, and he is a former United States Navy SEAL. He went on to present about how he operated, how he built a better team as a team leader, how to take on big tasks, and he explained that he got through “Hell Week” (five days of constant physical and mental training with only a few hours of sleep) by celebrating the small victories throughout. He explained that if we celebrate the small victories, it will give us more and more momentum. For example, if we have a list of things to do, and we check one off…that’s a small victory, celebrate that. Now we’re feeling pretty good…onto the next one. Do the same thing over and over, then things just seem to come to you easier. The seemingly insurmountable tasks are now a cakewalk.

So I’m going to apply that kind of approach this week. Break things down one by one, and celebrate my small victories. The next thing we know…week 13 will be done.

Fight on. And prevail.


Crazy 11 Weeks of School

I can not believe that 11 weeks of school has flown by! I am getting nervous that the finish line is getting closer! I have been so busy trying to catch up with all of my friends and be like, “I wanna have lunch with you tomorrow and you the next day and you gotta go out with me!” Also, I Ihave been traveling so much. Literally every weekend I’m always on the road. I just came back from North Carolina. Whoo, that was a grueling 11 hours of driving. I am grabbing every opportunity to travel before the real life hits me. Then I wont be able to travel as much I can.

I am also looking forward to the Thanksgiving break! I am driving out to Indianapolis for Thanksgiving to see my stepsister. She moved out there almost one year ago. I miss her dearly! The funny thing is, I told my mom that I was going out to Indianapolis for Thanksgiving. My mom said that was fine, then the following day my mom texted me and said, “I don’t want to spend Thanksgiving without you! So, she is driving out to Indianapolis to spend Thanksgiving with me and my stepsister… and….. she’s bringing the dog.. so I guess the family is going to be at Indianapolis instead of Pennsylvania, haha.

Ten Out of Ten, That Week 10 Was Crazy

Boy, that week was rough with three exams, two projects, homework assignments, and training in diving for a tough competition the following Saturday! I remember clearly staying up all night till 2:00 am or 3:00 am, studying for the exams and completing the projects. I stayed on campus with another friend who was having a rough week with trying to complete his long lab assignment. I’m thankful to have somebody experiencing the same thing along my side as we encouraged each other to keep going and finish the night. After the brutal week, I had a home diving meet with a diver who beat me last year. She was one competition I had to look out for. Yet, I beat her on 1M diving! She beat me on 3M, but only by few points. It was good and I felt the fire in me wanting to keep going and get better for later in the season.

During the week, I relearned one of my dives that I had before I came to college, three years ago! That dive was back 2 1/2 somersaults off 3M diving board! It was so much fun relearning it, even though I over-rotated and smacked onto my thighs hard and kept going. I competed it for the recent meet last Saturday, November 7, and I did very well.  I also broke the St. Lawrence 1M diving pool record. I had so much fun being with my team and watching a bunch of movies on the 4-hour long bus ride there and back! The photo I’m sharing is my favorite team photo thus far; we have this amazing family dynamic going on.

I have learned that no matter how bad of a week you may be having, whether it’s academic- or life-related, you can still find that fire in you and keep doing what you love.11230911_10207120263780677_2543113350552472788_nIt’s week 12 tomorrow and as it is an even week, you will be hearing from me again shortly! I cannot wait for Thanksgiving and reuniting with my family in Pennsylvania.

The Difference Between High School and College Sports

Good evening everyone!

Since I last posted on here, I’ve been pretty busy with school and trying to balance two different part-time jobs (NTID Student-Athlete Liaison and NTID Ambassador) while taking on a full-time college coursework and training for my second professional season. I’ve been thinking about a couple things, and I took a brief trip down memory lane during one of my workouts and realized how big of a difference playing HS and college ball was.

College sports is a whole new world.

You’re a hotshot athlete, with All-State honors and/or All-Conference honors, and you show up to college…you’re just one of the 30 something guys on the team who are also All-State/Conference athletes, even All-Americans. You have to check your ego at the door, because there are guys who are extremely talented, and they will push you to your limits and beyond as an athlete. You will be humbled.

College sports will own your life.

It might sound a little extreme, but it’s true. College sports is a big commitment, you commit to working out at odd hours of the day, being around your team, going to all these meetings, practicing with the team and so on. It will be tough, but the success and pride of being on a team makes every single thing worthwhile.

College sports will help you become who you want to be.

A lot of people go off to college to “soul search” as they go through their years. But for student-athletes, sports and being a top-notch student athlete will grab their souls. Student athletes will find themselves in situations where they are mentally, physically, and spiritually exhausted, and their inner champions will come out. I had this unique “revelation” around my sophomore year, I thought I was at my limits, and then realized that I was only getting started. It really changed how I look at things, how I operate, and pursue my goals. So far, my experience as an athlete here at RIT has completely transformed my “High School Self” into something bigger and better and more prepared for the real world.

Sorry if I sounded a little intense, but that was what went through my head recently. Until then, I hope you all have a great week!


Difficult Times and October Flew Right By

Hello Everyone!

October’s been an extremely busy month for me.

I’ve been hard at work at a capstone project. Capstone is what seniors in the Industrial Design Department consider their Senior Thesis. I can’t divulge what exactly my project is. However, it is related to motorcycles and aiding old and new riders alike.

I’ve been in contact with amazing resources here at RIT that varies from facility to the student themselves. Through the four weeks in October I’ve been to Buffalo for a weekend, and exploring the city and admiring the beauty of upstate N.Y. in the fall… especially when it comes to riding a motorcycle.

I suffered a devastating unexpected loss over the summer, so I really dived into motorcycles and art, something I shared a strong bond with my recently departed father. RIT and the Industrial Design Department have been incredible at supporting my goals. My capstone is primarily all about motorcycles and here is a link to my sketches that I’ve been doing recently. All the drawings you see were done in October. I may move to serious pieces that require more time.

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My fraternity also was there for me all the way. They backed me up every time I was struggling. The resources here are incredible. That’s why I’m also humbled and proud that the fraternity, Sigma Nu, which is a predominantly Deaf fraternity on campus, chose me as their Eminent Commander for Spring ’15/ Fall ’16. I’m excited to see what the year holds for me.

‘Til next time,


Goodbye Halloween, Hello Movember!

Hey everyone!

These last few weeks have been a little hectic to say the least. As my boss in Residence Life would say, “It is the “quarter wall” right now.” Where work is starting to pile up right around the 10th week, but we’re in the home stretch! It is absolutely crazy to think that I only have 19 weeks of classes before I graduate in May! But with graduation in mind, I have to start thinking of what’s next. Do I go to graduate school immediately after, or do I wait a while and gain more work experience? Only time can tell!

The past few weeks have been quite exciting, too. I’ll have to catch you all up. To begin, I am a part of the men’s club soccer team here at RIT and this year was the first time we have ever made it to the regional tournament. We had to beat out dozens of other area teams for a bid to make it to the tournament in Delaware, and we did it! It was a blast, and a great time to hang out with some of my friends that I’ve known for years now. They’re a great group of guys and are pretty good at soccer, too. At the tournament we ended up winning one game and losing the other two. We played Syracuse, Brown, and even Harvard. For the most part, the schools at the tournament were Division 1 and we, RIT, are Division 3. We knew it was going to be tough, and the teams were amazing. Overall it was a great weekend and I hope the team can make a habit of going to the regional tournament every year!

Next on my list is Halloween! On campus, it is great to see all the spirit and costumes that people have and wear towards the end of the week. It makes classes and campus feel a little bit different and even more exciting. There were different events such as small Halloween events hosted by different organizations on campus such as the residence halls, NTID Student Congress, and more. I got into the spirit as well since I started “reverse trick-or-treating” on my floor. I went around door to door, giving out candy from a Halloween cart. The surprise was great, and then again, who doesn’t love candy!

Even after the exciting past few weeks, I am definitely excited for winter break as I’ll be going to Disney World in Florida and then Japan for study abroad. Oh, and don’t worry… I’ll take plenty of pictures!

I almost forgot, for Thanksgiving, I’ll be going to NYC to watch the popular Broadway show “Spring Awakening.” There is definitely a lot on my plate and I love it!

Until next time.


College Dorm Hacks

Good afternoon everyone!

Hope you all are starting to get over the Week 9 hump. I just took a look at my “To-Do” list, and I still have some more hills to climb before it becomes a smooth cruise.

Recently I was giving a tour to a group of people, and they asked me if I enjoyed living in the dorms. I sure did. I lived in the dorms for two years and I loved it. I still miss it, and I’ve noticed a lot of people complaining about roommate issues (I never had any issues) and how cramped it is (it sure was), and so on. I’ve decided to share some of the “hacks” or tips that helped me live and enjoy the dorm life.

Find a common ground with your roommate(s).

This means finding meeting halfway and find a consistent bedtime, “social hours”, and figuring out a schedule where dorm maintenance can be done (taking the trash out and cleaning the room).

My first roommate Scott was the complete opposite of me- he was a computer guy, zero athletic bones in his body, and played tons of video games…I’m not a computer guy, I played a varsity sport, and I barely touched a Xbox controller until then.

We both decided that we have a lot of things to accomplish on a daily basis and needed to be in bed by midnight or so. We decided on a consistent bedtime, which helped us maintain a solid 7-8 hours of sleep everyday. We also agreed that we can have people over in the dorms until 8-9PM, then call it a night. This allowed us to socialize with each other more, do homework, or just relax. This gave me the opportunity to give video games a try, and Scott got the opportunity to learn more about sports as we shared stories and experiences. But if our friends wanted me or him to hang out more, we would usually leave the room and hang out somewhere else (in the lounge, other people’s dorm rooms for example). This is oftentimes what creates tension between roommates, so respect each other’s space and be considerate.

The dorms we lived in was very cramped, but we made the most of our space. So after a week of not putting our clothes and other things away…junk tends to pile up really fast. We decided that Sundays would be our day to clean everything up. After our morning breakfast, we would just pick up our stuff, do laundry, vacuum the floor, and take the trash out (we eat a lot). By the time Monday rolls in, we’re in tip top shape.

Keep things simple.

Simplicity is essential, especially in the dorm life. My second year, I had three other roommates. Four people cramped into a dorm triple. It was harder finding common ground, my other roommates would have people over way past my old hours. I ended up developing the ability to sleep with the lights on. My self-diagnosed narcolepsy was also very helpful. But this also meant I had to bring less stuff. I had to be really simple. I brought things based on how practical they were. I had my shirts and jeans for daily wear. One or two dress shirts, khakis. Casual and formal shoes. That was it. My closet had tons of space, and it proved to be helpful because we tend to pick up some new things/free give aways during the year. By the end of the year, I had a fairly full closet. I brought what was necessary, and it really made the room a lot more spacious. I’m also talking about how you should approach roommate issues as well–be straight up with them. Be simple with your “demands.” I had to learn to be blunt and ask for people to leave the dorms after 11 pm. That was my only request, and it paid off big time. So be simple, and keep in mind–not everyone is going to be easy to work with. So keep things simple in the dorms, and keep your negotiations simple as well.

Hope you all find this helpful!

Until then, have a great one.


A Tiger Retires and a Hawk Spreads Its Wings

A Tiger retires and a Hawk spreads its wings.

Are you wondering what that means and why I’m blogging about a tiger and a hawk?  To rest your confusion, I have some exciting news!  Two weeks ago after I returned from a racquetball tournament with the RIT Racquetball Club/Team in Albany, NY, I came home and immediately checked my mail because I know there’s something waiting for me.

It was a letter from my dream graduate school for Physical Therapy at University of Maryland Eastern Shore near Salisbury, MD! The letter explained that I am accepted into their Doctor of Physical Therapy program! I was ecstatic and emotionally overwhelmed. I felt that all of the hard work I have put into my undergraduate career is finally paying off. I knew since my second year of college that I wanted to attend UMES and become a physical therapist, and now it’s happening! It’s great to know that I am already off to another amazing school and to be a part of a new family starting this fall 2016 immediately after I graduate from RIT this May 2016! Since UMES’s mascot is a Hawk, I will be graduating this May and retiring as a Tiger and spreading my wings for the next chapter in my life as a Hawk. It sounds so cheesy, I know.

I want to thank my family, friends, roommates, swimming & diving teammates, professors at RIT, and the NTID ambassador group/family for all of their tremendous support and love. I’m extremely lucky and thankful to be a part of the UMES DPT family next year, but I cannot ever thank everyone at RIT enough. The following photo is my happy face, eagerly signing the paper in a heartbeat, agreeing to attend their program in the fall!


Aside from my exciting news, I also had my first RIT swimming and diving team meet of the year, and it is my last first meet as a diver! We competed against one of the strongest competitors, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), and I competed on 3M diving board for the first time since my Nationals Championships competition where I got injured the summer before I came to RIT! I did well and am excited to dive off 3M again. For the homecoming weekend, my brother also came up to visit me and see RIT for himself as he’s only a sophomore in high school! It was great having him around and I know he really likes RIT, he even observed a college class! You can see my brother, who is in the middle, in the following photo!

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Homecoming Weekend!

Happy week nine everyone! I can’t believe we are almost 2/3 the way done with this semester! It has gone by so fast! This past weekend was Homecoming weekend. There was a lot that went on including the pumpkin launch, a presentation from Jamie Hyneman from MythBusters, and the RIT men’s hockey game! We had a CODA (Children of Deaf Adults) gathering this weekend in Rochester, so it was nice to see everyone again!

Last time I posted I mentioned that I would share some ways that I de-stress here on campus. I love to go to the gym, swim laps, and walking in the RIT walking trails. The nature trails on campus are a great way to get out and move! Check out a picture (it all looks a little different now since the leaves are changing in Rochester).

Catch up with you all soon!