By Luis Caraccioli
I was on my official visit to Hesston College and after playing soccer with the men’s soccer team, a couple of freshmen from the team pulled me aside.
“Bro, you’re a good player,” they said. “Don’t come to Hesston.”
These words spun me like a whirlwind. I wanted to believe them because they had experienced a year at the school. On the other hand, I wanted to discredit their thoughts: I had met my fair share of arrogant soccer players in my life. Besides, they were only offering me advice.
But then one of them told me something that got under my skin: “You won’t get better here,” he said.
I laughed in shock to what I had just heard. I glanced at the coach to see if he would interject anything, but he didn’t hear it. There wasn’t anyone to reassure me or tell me that what he was saying wasn’t true. How do you get better, I thought to myself.
“Getting better is a mindset. You can get better anywhere you are, but it’s all in your head,” I said to the opinionated soccer player.
Flash forward a couple of months and I chose Hesston College. The opportunity to play collegiate soccer was great, but I saw an even greater chance: to improve as a person and become a better man. But now that I’m here, I’ve seen a lot of people scoff at the idea of self-development. Many people leave the school, transfer out after a year, or even just talk down on the entire institution. While there may not be the glamour of an NCAA Division I program or the phenomenal dining halls of a state school, there are many elements of Hesston College that will help anyone get better. You have to let Hesston College change you in order to see that change.
Diamonds are made under pressure, just like people are greater when faced with adversity. Those who seek help and form bonds with others prevail, while those who fall onto their past crutches or don’t make changes fail. Hesston College offers the adversity that inspires change. For some, they are thousands of miles away from home in a small town of fewer than four thousand people. Others are trying to get a second chance because high school was full of drama, or undesirable conditions. For me it was the chance to overcome the opinions people had formed about me, I wanted to change how I was perceived, and become a more empathetic person while growing in my sport.
Regardless of their situation, Hesston gives people a second chance. The JumpStart program offers students a new life in their past failures with high school. Julie Lehman offers to counsel people who need the opportunity to be heard and supported. As early as freshman year, there are possibilities to become leaders in sports, in mods, and in the community. Your advisors look for internships for you, and administrators show up to your symposiums and presentations to hear your opinions.
Every professor I’ve spoken to on campus wants you to succeed, they care for you and will put in just as much work as you do into helping you grow.
Junior colleges offer a unique chance to refine your talents before moving on to a four-year school and starting your life, and Hesston is no different. Changes only happen when you decide to let them. So make friends at school, see the bright side in your mods, listen to your professors even when the lecture may seem boring, and keep grinding in your sport, because it’s all part of the process. What’s your mindset?