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The Pioneer Column: International Students and their life in college – Part II

By Harry Pearse
Staff Writer

Classes, school — words that have an automatic response of a ‘sigh’ or an ‘argh’. However, although I once was one of these students, I have to say I have loved my first couple weeks of my new classes and lectures. Whether this is because of my professors, my classmates, the subjects I’m taking, or whether it is just a collective notion of academics that has brought this feeling of fulfillment to me (which I doubt), I cannot say. But by the end of this column, I want to see if I can get my fellow students — yes you — to enjoy the perks that college classes offer, like I have.

Photo courtesy of Alyssa Seidman
Photo courtesy of Alyssa Seidman

I am not like most overseas students partaking in this rollercoaster journey who have come to America solely to fulfill the dream of a perfect academic grade. No. I have also come here to pursue
a career in football (which you, unlike the rest of the world, for some reason call “soccer”). Being from England, “soccer” is huge. However, the development of the sport in the last few years here in America has been dramatic and simply fascinating. When my coach, Andreas Lindberg, was talking about “student-athletes,” I snubbed the idea. I thought, “Yeah, soccer is the thing I am going to concentrate on. School? Please…” I sound like a real jock that doesn’t have anything between my ears. But since I have been around this beautiful culture of erudition — where the development of wisdom and academic brilliance ties in with crazy sports fans (you Americans have tons of them), intense hard work, and athletic greatness — this “student-athlete” idea resonates with me.

I have started to understand what it means not only to the university, but to the other athletes as well. While for many students
the struggle to understand the importance of academics has never been the case, to me, in the past, it has. But as my own mentality is changing, schoolwork has made me realize I could be getting somewhere else away from soccer, such as becoming a sports psychiatrist.

When I landed from that plane journey from London, where my bum was numb and my legs were sore, it finally struck me that I
am actually in New York. I thought, “my time has come,” and of course this was in a sporting sense. It wasn’t until I had experienced the crazy, bright, and captivating lights and culture of “The Big Apple,” and taken the long journey from Penn Station to Long Island, and then a taxi to the enchanting world of “Pioneer Country,” when it hit me that football (soccer) wasn’t the only thing that brought me here, and it wasn’t the only part that made me shake with excitement. Deep down I couldn’t wait to start a new chapter of widening my knowledge and learning so many different things, not only in an academic sense, but in life as well.

So as the inferno and pain of pre-season infected my body and soul, I went into it with an open and excited mind; a mind that couldn’t wait to be part of this student-athlete culture and start college classes. However, when I was running that two-mile test, I certainly wasn’t thinking about anything else apart from the end of it.

My good friend and housemate, Oliver Hollingsaeter, a freshman like myself, who is also on the men’s soccer team, came to LIU Post this year. He came here to pursue a dream of getting a master’s in business. He wanted to excel in his academic studies to reach this aspiration. When Oliver was planning on making the move from Alesund, Norway, he knew academics were just as important — or maybe even more so — than soccer. This doesn’t mean he has scrapped the idea of becoming a professional “baller,” but has rather realized that gaining a great degree, such as an MBA, is an amazing asset to have. This is the same with me since I needed something to trigger that realization, and now that it has kicked in, I feel unstoppable. Well, maybe not in math…

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