A Retired Diver Has Come a Long Way

For those who don’t know my story, here it is. It is hard to believe that I am a retired collegiate diving athlete now, with only two years of diving competitively at RIT under my belt. But I have to say that those two last years of my college years and being on the RIT Swimming and Diving team are the best two years of my life thus far. I’ve grown and fought to prove that no obstacle will stop me from diving again.

Summer before I started diving for RIT, I excelled in diving with only 18 months of training with the Junior Olympics National Team, going from getting last place at Regionals Summer 2011 to being the top 12 divers at Regionals, Zones, and my dreams came true. I qualified and competed at my first and last ever Junior Olympics Nationals Championships August 2012. I was so eager to come to RIT and break records, compete at Nationals all four years, and maybe get All-American every year. But my triceps torn right before my Nationals Championships 2012, and I had to drop out of Diving with RIT my freshman year. After my first year at RIT, I finally found out that my shoulder was severely torn in two places and I needed to get a surgery or I would not be able to dive ever again. This injury was going to end my diving career forever. I knew I needed that surgery and I wanted to come back to diving. After one year of intense rehabilitation and strength training to get ready for diving again. I stepped up and joined the RIT diving team again for my third year of college.

I came back and only did 1-meter as 3-meter was too tough on my shoulder. I kept fighting and surprised myself by getting second at States Championships, breaking one record, and qualifying for the Regionals Championships. That did not go too well. That didn’t stop me, and as a Senior at RIT, I knew I only had one more year of diving. I had one last chance to soar and make it to Nationals.

Senior year came, I got back up on 3-meter and had so much fun with it. Throughout the season I broke all four records for both one and three meter diving, including pool and team records. Won first for my States Championships on 1meter and 3rd for 3 meter. I wanted to keep my undefeated record for one meter diving and I kept it by winning the Regionals Championships and I was on my way to my first and last ever Nationals Championships.

As you all know, I got fifth at Nationals and was RIT’s first All-American diver for 1 meter and 19th for 3 meter. I was not thrilled at the moment as I wanted at least top 4. Over the last couple weeks, I had to take as step back and look at the whole picture. All of these divers I’ve competed against had far more years of experience diving at Nationals, and I didn’t. It doesn’t matter how many NCAA trophies you have, how many All-American recognitions you have, or how many years of diving you’ve had. What matters the most is where you are today and how you got there. I came back to diving after believing it was inevitable for me to end my diving career. I fought through and I made it. I made it to be the RIT’s first All-American diver, getting 5th place is incredible for me and I’ve proven that any obstacle I’ve had does not stop me from doing what I love. Diving has always been a passion of mine, and I’m not ready to let go of it. I know I will be a diving coach some day, and I will.

My coaches, Cliff Devries and Jeff Stabile, made me believe that I will succeed. I cannot thank them enough for where I am today and how far I’ve come. Thank you for your support. Thank you, my parents, my brother, my RIT Swimming and Diving family, my interpreter, Alisa J Supplee, my bosses, my friends, and most importantly my conscience to allow me to believe in myself. I hope to inspire all of you to go after you dreams, no matter what obstacles you may have.IMG_3104

The summer after my first year of college, I finally had the surgery and I had the hope to dive again.

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Two and a half years later, my persistence and determination brought me to my dreams of diving at Nationals, placing in the top 5, and being RIT’s first All-American diver.

Adding Water To Ideas

Good evening everyone!

Hope you all are having a great start to the week. Things here in Rochester are getting slower and slower. But I’m probably going to kick myself about that, because things will start to pick up once I talk about it. Anyways, I’ve had some extra down time as of late- and I’ve started to come up with a quite few ideas since. After investing some time in thinking about my ideas- all kinds of ideas- I’ve realized that I have a few courses of action that I have to take in order to make my ideas grow exponentially. Ever since I set up a routine of developing my idea- I’ve seen a significant improvement in my ideation progress regarding a few projects that I’m interested in pursuing. I’ve decided to share with you a few tips on how to do that.

Write everything down.

I don’t care if it’s late at night, but your mind has a funny habit of racing when you’re trying to relax. Most of the time those thoughts are going to be some of the best ideas that’ll ever cross your mind. Carry a note pad with you anywhere, jot down whatever strikes you. I tend to do this a few times a day. Some of the most nonchalant things will strike me, like a random Buzzfeed article that exposes a critical issue regarding something that I’m interested in exploring…write it down. You’ll be surprised with what your mind can come up with about some of the simplest things.

It’s never going to be a final product right away. 

Your idea might sound like a lousy one, but if you keep molding it, adding/subtracting, you’ll see some considerable progress. For example, I had an idea about developing a website, but after talking about it with others…I realized that a brick on campus could come up with a better idea. So I decided to modify and tailor that idea to suit my passions better, and I saw almost immediate improvements in my idea flow, thought flow, and the quality of content that I was coming up with. So spend some time tinkering on whatever you have written down.

Research your ideas.

You have to dig around a little bit and see if there are ideas out there that are similar to what you’ve been thinking about. Sometimes you’ll be surprised how rare that idea is, or how common it is. I oftentimes dig around for interesting sources and utilize it to improve my idea. The world of knowledge is at your fingertips. So, you better use it!

Hope this helped!

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Cultivating Your Zest

What’s up everyone?

I’m still going at it with school, work, and figuring out my future as of right now. I’ve spent quite a few moments sitting and thinking on a daily basis about cultivating my zest. To me, zest means energy, enthusiasm, and self-learning. By self-learning, I mean trying to learn new ways to keep your passion going, learning new things, and figuring out how your passion can create opportunities in life.

With that in mind, I’ve been doing three things that helped me cultivate my zest this past semester.

Talk to someone about it. 

This may sound a little odd, but it works for me. I have a passion for learning everything about leadership, especially in sports. I am very interested in seeing how teams develop through different types of leadership, how unique concepts are applied, and what kind of adjustments teams make to achieve their goals. I would try and find someone and talk to them about it over a cup of coffee or lunch. Most of the time, you’d be surprised with what other people bring up. They might bring up great points, become a devil’s advocate and challenge your thinking. I found this to be very stimulating, because I have to think more laterally. This will lead to me researching a certain topic even further. So your knowledge will expand quite well, and result in learning a new ability to think outside the box or view something differently.

Read, read, and read. 

I’m an avid reader…when I’m not in school, that is. I always do most of my reading online nowadays. Google will provide some excellent sources of information, but sometimes not. But when I’m back home on break or whatever, I’ll have a book in my hands at some point during the day. I asked my parents for a bunch of leadership books this Christmas, and they did NOT disappoint at all. They gave me a box full of incredible books that left me even hungrier for more information. So when you’re passionate about something, you have to read as much as possible about that particular ‘something’.

Find different ways how people apply their learnings in employment.

You know how people say if you’re passionate about it, you won’t feel like you’re working. This is a goal of mine. I want to see how people find ways to apply their knowledge (in my situation, leadership) in the workforce. I am working in the athletic department as a NTID liaison, and I’m constantly trying to find ways to apply what I learned. I’m learning by reading books, articles, and applying experience (as a captain) to improve my work efficiency. I want to learn how to coordinate my efforts, how to communicate differently, and how to make a positive impact on others. So if you’re very much brimming with zest, find ways to use that in a way where you can improve your work experience, academic experience, or athletic experience.

Hope this helps!

Catch ya later.

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Diving Championships!

Hi everyone!  Sorry this is so late, I had two big championships to train for the last two weeks and I wanted to share with you for how it went!

Before we dive into my diving stories, I want to briefly talk about Rochester and what’s new around here. If you have heard of Painting with a Twist, they just opened one in Henrietta last week and I went with a girlfriend. It was a blast and brought out the artistic side of us. See the paintings we did of the Rochester city skyline? Now we can remember Rochester and all the great places we have been to for the last four years! I highly recommend going to Painting with a Twist with a friend or your mom sometime!image

School is going great but it can be hard to juggle all the homework, tests, and assignments I missed due to diving competitions! I’m enjoying them regardless and learning a lot, especially in gross anatomy where I have the amazing opportunity to dissect a cadaver to observe the muscles.

Back to diving, I recently had long intense trainings for the States Championships two weeks ago. I won 1st for 1M!!! It was an exciting meet and I had a blast meeting other divers from all over New York at Ithaca College. I came in a close 3rd place on 3M and I was very pleased with my performance! imageThen last weekend I just came back from NCAA Regionals Championships, where I won first on 1M again!!! I also qualified for Nationals Championships for both 1M and 3M coming up in North Carolina during the week of March 14-20, 2016. I could not be any more thrilled to know I made it this year especially after two years off from diving due to an injury. The meet will be streamed live online and you can watch me dive!

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Two weeks of school then one week of Nationals Championships then one week of spring break in New Hampshire for skiing! I’m so excited.

Full Tilt, Full Time

Good morning everyone!

Today marks the start of my second week back here in Rochester, and it’s safe to say that I’m currently traveling at a comfortable speed of 500 miles per hour. I’m staying on top of my two online courses while going back and forth between two part time jobs since I’ve gotten back from playing ball in California. I’ve also submitted applications for graduate school, so a lot of moving pieces flying around.

With all the hoopla, I’ve thought of a few tips that might help you stay grounded regardless of what’s going on with your life- academics, athletics, in the workplace, and in the society.

Consistency is key. 

Regardless of circumstances or anything happening unexpectedly, you have complete control of your daily endeavors. I mean, you’re in college- you do what you want to do. In my instance, I’ve switched a few things up in my daily schedule knowing that life will happen and jumble your schedule. I noticed that after playing four years of college ball then doing nothing in your fifth year, you have a whole lot more time on your hands- and this often leads to distractions. My buddies would text me to grab food, play video games, or go out. I didn’t have any restrictions any more, I didn’t have to go to practices, meetings, or volunteer in events. But I’ve spent the majority of my time and training during nights, and this often made me struggle to schedule my training with spending more time with my close friends. With this feedback, I decided to turn my alarm clock back earlier and work out early in the morning, which allows greater flexibility in the afternoons and evenings. This allowed me to be even more consistent, where I can control my commitments in fitness, gain more time with my buddies, and invest time in my academics. Being consistent in your daily endeavors will help you tackle things easier.

Slow down!

I’m guilty of wanting to go faster and faster in terms of productivity, efficiency, and information obtaining. I want things and I want them fast. With this, I tend to end up not doing as well on my assignments, projects, or organization of information. I prefer to get everything out of the door right away, but paired with consistency, slowing down will allow you to see things more clearly. More rationally. And you can think things through even further, which only improves the quality of your work. You will have to learn how to identify when you’re going too fast and need to slow down. I’m still learning to master this skill, and I believe this will be beneficial for anyone in all walks of life.

So take things on one project at a time, and be thorough. You’ll do big things!

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Commencement Countdown Now

Hey all!

These last few weeks have been crazy busy for me, so busy that I actually didn’t end up going home for break for even a day. With that in mind, that’s what this blog post will be all about! Where I’ve been the last month!

I was able to stay with my girlfriend for the first week of the break at her home, which was really nice after not seeing her for a few months. Christmas with her family was great, but then a few blinks later, it was time to go…next stop, Florida!

My girlfriend and I flew into Florida to join my family for a trip to Disney. However the process of getting there was…interesting. What should’ve been a 6 hour travel trip, turned into a day and a half hassle. Our first flight was delayed due to a company mistake, and the second was delayed due to weather. On top of that our luggage was delayed. Imagine that, wearing Rochester clothes in Orlando, Florida. Imagine walking in 80 degree weather.

Other than that, Disney was fantastic! It was the most crowded I have ever seen. Some lines took over an hour and a half to get through. The fast passes were definitely needed and our hotel room was amazing. The highlight of the trip had to be the New Year’s celebration. IT WAS AWESOME! And just like that, a few blinks and it was time to go. Next stop, Japan to study abroad!

Now, this was a great part of my vacation. I was able to study abroad with students from NTID in Japan. We visited different cities such as Osaka, Kyoto, Tokyo, and Tsukuba. To say we ate a lot would be an understatement. It tasted so good, and was fairly cheap, too. We visited different markets, shopping centers, and shrines all over Japan. The highlight of my trip would have to be meeting all my new Japanese deaf friends and having the opportunity to learn their sign language. I cannot wait until I go back. Oh, and I almost forgot, one of my Japanese deaf friends will be visiting in May!

Until next time!

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The Last First Day of School at RIT!

Last week was Week 1, so it was really hard getting back into the routine of going to classes, eating meals on campus, and having less diving practices. All winter break I have been diving a lot! I went home after finals week for 10 days before joining the RIT Swim and Dive team. We went to Florida for our training trip consisting of two practices a day outside in the spectacular sunny weather and it was a blast. Returning to Rochester via a 24-hour bus ride from Florida was tough and arriving with snow on the ground and 10 degrees outside was a rude awakening.

After a week of double practices a day training at RIT, I decided I needed a break. So I went to New York City and visited a friend. We went to watch the New York Rangers game, and they won by a close call. It was a great experience to watch a professional hockey game.

Then for the rest of the January, I had a lot of diving everyday and meets every weekend. I finally broke the last diving record I have been wanting to break since I was in high school. Now I have all four records up on the board of the RIT pool! Recently, my mom came up to visit and watch my very last dual meet of my diving career and it was bittersweet. The picture below is right after my last meet with my mom and coach at RIT. But I’m excited to go forward with the States Championships, Regionals Championships, and Nationals Championships upcoming! It will be an amazing journey to remember. Back into diving training (and school, of course.)IMG_1145

Running With This Semester!

Hello everyone! I have always loved the beginning of every new semester- it is a brand new start! Over my break I went to Florida where I celebrated Christmas and New Year’s with my family. I also got to swim with manatees which was an amazing experience! I also went to Toronto where I ate at Signs Restaurant where all of the employees are deaf and use sign language. I would definitely recommend the restaurant, the food is also great!

I am “running with the semester” by training for my first half marathon! I will be running the Flower City Half Marathon this April! Throughout the semester RIT hosts a couple of 5Ks like the FreezeFest and Color Run! I look forward to running those too!

I’ll keep you all up to date with my progress! Happy New Year!

The Perfect Break Before the Homestretch

Reflecting on my Thanksgiving break last week, it was truly an amazing time seeing my family again. I have not seen some of them for three or five years! With the time off and separation from school, I was able to wind down and be uplifting around my family.  Here’s a photo from our traditional “Night after Thanksgiving dinner” from Friday.

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Now that I’m back on campus, it is definitely a homestretch to finish up all of my coursework for my classes, start studying for the final exams, and finish up the projects. I also have been getting the last practices down before the Liberty League Championships meet this weekend, which will be in Schenectady, N.Y.  The team will be taking off tomorrow morning at 8:00 AM bright and early for the weekend long meet! I will blog again after the meet to share how it went.

A little piece of advice for prospective students: Taking a 30-minute nap during the day is the best refresher you can have, not coffee! It’s cheaper, too. :)

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.

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