inside.hokiesports.com 15 Everything about this transition has felt so natural, and it’s just so easy to be around everyone here. I still have two years of eligibility left, and I’m going to enjoy every second of it. My time on the court playing the game that I love is something else I’ll never take for granted ever again. I might be young, but I know I’m not invincible. I hurt. I bleed. I show emotions. I fail. It’s easy to lose sight of that sometimes, you know? But if you’re not careful, life has a crazy way of reminding you all on its own. My medical situation helped me realize just exactly how much I appreciate the opportunity to do what I do. My life has never been about being perfect. It’s about taking my lumps and continuing to push forward for as long as I can. Just by me being here is a miracle. I’m the only person in my family that’s ever played basketball at this high of a level, and I take a lot of pride in that. One of my favorite things about being a college athlete is serving as that strong representation of my family in the classroom, on the court, and in the community. Just being that positive reflection of them, while also doing my small part to try and uplift others, that’s what I see myself as being put here to do. NOTHING LASTS FOREVER I want to continue using my voice and my platform to talk about things that need to be talked about and to shed light on certain things, particularly with everything that’s been going on with the American Red Cross. It’s just as important here as it was in Maryland. As much as we all love this game, it doesn’t last forever. There’s going to come a time when we all have to put the ball down and go out there to live our lives. That’s why it’s important for me to remember that I’m more than just a basketball player or even a student-athlete. There are some things much bigger than this game, you know? I might not be able to change the world on my own, but I can surely do my part in using my platform to help heal it — one person at a time. I would never tell someone else how to use their platform, but I would encourage all of the freshmen not to take it for granted because it can fly by so quickly. I remember being a freshman and coming in for the very first time and just looking up to all of the seniors. Now, I’m the senior and one of the older people that everyone else looks up to for stuff. I would say to have fun and enjoy the journey for as long as you can, even when things get difficult. Just know that basketball isn’t everything, and you have a life outside of the sport. Playing basketball is just something that you do. It’s not who you are. As long as you keep those things in perspective, there’s no way you can fail.