Students: It’s a Wonderful Life

December 16, 2016 by Todd Christman

By Jeremy Hawkins, PhD, ATC

Colorado Mesa University

This fall I took on some new responsibilities at work. I now serve as the head of the Department of Kinesiology in addition to my role as the athletic training program director. I have enjoyed getting to know other aspects of the department while doing my best to continue to meet the needs of the athletic training students within the program. Admittedly, one of the largest challenges I have faced is maintaining balance. As a student, I imagine many of you can relate.

As the year comes to a close, I find myself reflecting on the message from my favorite movies of all time, It’s a Wonderful Life. Recognizing the age of the population I am writing this to, let me provide a little background on this movie. Originally released in 1946, It’s a Wonderful Life tells the story of George Bailey and his experiences in the small town of Bedford Falls. After going through a financial setback he is granted the wish of seeing how life in his little town would have been different if he had never been born. Through this experience George learns how wonderful life truly is, despite the challenges that we experience. In fact, it is commonly the challenges that we experience that make us who we are.

A few weeks back I learned that one of the students who is taking an activity course within the Department of Kinesiology was diagnosed with diffuse large b-cell lymphoma. She is a non-traditional student who is studying at the community college division of the institution. Due to the rapid growing nature of her cancer, treatment began right away and her course work had to take a backseat, which is where I came into the picture. I have been amazed at the strength of this single mother of three as she has accepted the challenge placed before her with a resolve to not let it beat her. To quote Stuart Scott, “You beat cancer by how you live, why you live and the manner in which you live.”  This student is early in her fight, but she is doing her all to beat cancer.

My encouragement to you is to strive to live a full life, a wonderful life, without having to go through a financial set-back or having a physician diagnose you with cancer or any number of other reasons. Each and every one of us have many things to be grateful for. Do we all face uncertainties? Undoubtedly. Do we have challenges that we would rather not face? Absolutely. But the key is “how you live, why you live, and the manner in which you live.”