Roll with the punches
College is a pivotal moment in most people’s lives. It’s a time of learning, change and growth. Most of all, it’s a time where decisions can have an impact over a lifetime. The decisions of what major, what school, what career path and what to do to make it all happen. Just like anything in life, though, these decisions don’t always go as planned and sometimes all one can do is roll with the punches.
Pawprint had the opportunity to sit down with Liz Harrington and Tommy Henry, both finishing their fourth year at Maryville, to talk about their journeys and some of the punches thrown at them along the way.
Q: Why did you originally come to Maryville?
A: “I originally came to Maryville because I got accepted into their doctorate physical therapy program and I came here for soccer as well.”
Q: Do you still play soccer?
A: “I stopped playing this past spring. I just had my senior season left, that was it.”
Q: You’re no longer in the physical therapy program?
A: “No. After PT, I like hung out for a semester kind of deciding what I wanted to do. I did sports business for a semester. Then I found out Maryville was getting an exercise science program and that’s when I made the switch. And now I am science with a focus in chemistry and a minor in psychology.”
Q: When did you start the new major?
A: “I started that at the beginning of this spring semester.”
Q: So you recently changed your major?
A: “It wasn’t a voluntary switch. I was misled about when my graduation date would be. I thought I would be graduating in December 2018, but I found out no one is graduating with exercise science until spring 2020, which would’ve put me at 6 years for my bachelor’s. It was a good major that I really enjoyed and I definitely would have stuck with it had it worked out.”
Q: What do you want to do with your major now?
A: “Well, next step is going on to grad school where I want to get my masters in biomechanics and in the process, I plan on getting my personal training certification and possibly my certified strength and conditioning coach But with biomechanics I want to get into exercise testing and equipment design.”
Q: Was it a stressful process? If so, do you have any advice for anyone who is changing their path throughout their schooling?
A: “Yeah, it was stressful because I just had the freakout of not knowing what I wanted to do. I think the best advice I could give would just be use your resources, remember that it’s okay to not know exactly what you want to do and change is OK. College is a time of self-discovery so I feel like you just gotta appreciate every step of it.”
Q: Why did you originally come to Maryville?
A: “First, it was sports business management.”
Q: At the time, what did you think you were going to be doing after graduating?
A: “Being an agent. Like a basketball agent. But sports business is like a new slavery and I don’t want to make money off other people’s backs.”
Q: So what did you do after sports business?
A: “I changed to psychology to try to help people. Then I realized only people that want help will seek help. You can’t help anyone if they don’t think they have anything wrong with them. So it was just too much of a headache and I wanted to see people in a good light. It made me focus and worry about other people, but really if I am not doing what I need to, then I will die. So I need to worry about myself. Then sophomore year, the second semester I took painting alongside my psychology classes thinking it would be an easy elective and found out I was really good at painting.”
Q: So you found out you were good at painting, what was the next move?
A: “I was still in psychology, but I was like ‘oh I’m pretty good at painting.’ Then over the next year, I had to move down to a wheelchair and that really affected me pretty hard-core. It was kind of a mobility thing. I couldn’t go that many places, but at the same time, in my mind, I can imagine most anything and bring to life in my artwork. So it was like an escape type thing, still is.”
Q: So you started your major in studio art your junior year?
A: “I was in psychology, then I went straight to studio art and I’m still in there. I’m gonna get a bachelor’s in studio arts and maybe a master’s in fine arts. And then when you have a master’s in studio art, you’re qualified to teach at universities. So I would be a teacher and work on the side unless my work takes off.”
Q: Was it a stressful process? If so, do you have any advice for anyone that is changing their path throughout their schooling?
A: “Yeah. I don’t know. I’ll be honest, I never really cared that much. I think in some way that’s how you gotta look at it. Like I’m gonna get the best out of my time and any situation. I will be as productive as I can be and if I do that, the rest falls in line. As long as you stay true to yourself. I always ask, ‘How is this gonna benefit my health?’ A lot of that is mental too. I can’t do things that I know are going to trip me out. My advice would be to keep your head up and keep moving on. Stay focused on what you need to do at the time being and getting yourself and all of your tasks coordinated. Take care of yourself and take care of your tasks and jobs outside of school. Stuff like that. Then focus more on how to make yourself happy. You’re really the only one that is going to be able to make you happy.”