Kaina Martinez: Transitioning to Graduate School: Student-Athlete Continuing her Education: “Closing a...

Kaina Martinez: Transitioning to Graduate School: Student-Athlete Continuing her Education: “Closing a Chapter to Begin Another”

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Spring of 2014 was the beginning of my journey as an undergraduate at Texas A&M University-Kingsville.  My first days I felt like a lost child in an unfamiliar place searching for her parents hoping that they will embrace her needs. Success was my priority and the anticipation of how challenging and demanding it may be to adapt to my life as a student-athlete floods my analytic mind.

It has been years, and it still feels like it was yesterday that my teammate Katy willingly accepted me into her apartment and took me to Walmart to get the necessities to enter my room at Lucio Hall. Yes! I can still remember trying to figure out the map and timing for a week to make sure I was in the right class at the right time. I can still remember running around like a headless chicken working on adapting to my new life. Yes my new life, because I was not living the life of a student or an athlete two years prior to spring 2014.

Despite how difficult some of my professors may have been, I can humbly say that every one of my professors has impacted my life in a special and unique way. Dr. Edwin Rowley was one of those professors I saw every semester, yet I could have never gotten tired of seeing him. He is one of those whose impact is beyond the classroom. He helps to inspire you to think beyond just receiving a degree and see schooling as a pathway to learn and be educated in every angle necessary.

Dr. (Manuel) Flores, how can I forget him. “Mija everything will be alright.” “Just keep working, I understand it’s difficult but you can do it. I am, we are, proud of you.” His words came many times at the right timing.   Yes, Dr. Flores is one of the professors who brings real-life situations into the classroom and he teaches beyond the school setting.

Ms. Elizabeth, some call her the mom of international students, but for me she is my personal cheerleader. She is a woman who has inspired me in many ways to not only have a caring heart, but to see the importance of being accepting of differences and embracing it.

I remember anticipating the completion of my program. Upon nearing completion, I found the inspiration to add another major and challenge myself and to prolong my experience with the communications department as an undergrad. It has been a great experience that builds memories that will surely last a lifetime. Receiving the opportunity to work with the JBN, The South Texan, as well as other organizations on campus has helped me in many ways to grow beyond what I would have ever thought of.

Graduation day is closing in, and the reality is hitting. Though I have eagerly waited for this day, it still feels hard to say goodbye to my life as an undergrad. It’s not finished. I am closing a chapter of my life to begin another. Therefore, I’d rather not say farewell because I will continue to utilize all the learning and experiences I have received from the College of Arts and Science at TAMUK. Though your name may not be specifically mentioned, I want to thank each and every person that has impacted my life. You have helped one of the strongest persons in her weak moments. In your unique way you have helped make part of my journey bearable.

The experiences I have with each one of my professors has taught me to utilize the value of education.

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