An Open Letter to the Sport I Wasn’t Born to Play

By: Richard Partheymuller II




After I finished my last year as a wrestler at Rowan University last February, I was caught off guard, honestly. My team went to Philly for a tournament, but I didn’t quite realize until a few hours in, that it would be the last wrestling match I would ever be at for Rowan. It would also mark the end of my career wrestling (I’ll explain what kind of “career” I mean eventually) and it left me wondering what to think. After two years on the team, one year on the E-board, and all of the crazy, inspirational, and strangely-heartwarming events in-between, I felt like I owed something a little bigger than a Facebook post.

A close friend of mine, Dougie, had his own road with the sport, and it was full of highs and lows. Right after a few seasons with The College of New Jersey and earning All-American status one year, Dougie wrote a little post on Facebook that caught my attention. He wrote a “Dear Wrestling” piece that inevitably inspired me to do it myself. His idea was one also used by Olympic Gold Medalist Jordan Burroughs, who posted his letter onto his personal blog. So, I decided to give justice to my time wrestling, as well as the relationship I developed with the sport before I even put on a pair of wrestling shoes.


Dear Wrestling,

Who would’ve expected that this would be happening right now? I think if I told myself five years ago about everything that went on between you and I, my 18-year-old self would probably cringe with fear. Who knows, maybe he would look past the painful struggle and be excited because he knew it was what he really wanted. You were the kind of thing in my life that I wanted, but was too afraid to pursue. I was a wimp, that’s all I can say. I was a fearful teenager who didn’t want to get hurt. It didn’t matter how much I really wanted to do it, you were something for somebody else. What did I have that I could possibly use for you? What athletic ability did I have? The same athletic ability that couldn’t stand lacrosse practice sometimes. You weren’t made for me, and my mind wasn’t suited for you.

It wasn’t like my name carried any weight if I tried to anyways. I wasn’t a Hamann, or a Royle, or a Young, or a Winston, and I certainly wasn’t someone that people associated with athleticism in the first place. I felt like I didn’t have the clout or ability, so I passive-aggressively ignored my desire to wrestle. When I watched my best friends, Randy, Dylan, and a Dougie wrestle, I was their biggest fan. I made it to just about every match and made the effort to get to know the team. I guess this was a good substitute for me in place of actually trying out. Like I said, I was pretty wimpy at the time. Watching Dougie and all of them become so mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausted helped me develop more respect for you and those who were brave enough to take you on. My friendships with these guys grew because of my time hovering around the team. Even after all this time, they are still some of my best friends. Watching them like that made me want to get off my butt and be in the action instead of just watching.


I actually did step out onto a wrestling mat at Open Mats the year before though. I remember being a little nervous and skeptical about it when Dylan asked me if I wanted to come along that night. I went though, and it was such an experience for me. It was weird, because I had finally gotten a real taste of something I really wanted to do. So, I tried it out like two or three times after that, because I felt myself really getting into the groove of going there every Monday and Wednesday after school or lacrosse practice. That wrestling room began to become a place where I was safe. I’ll never forget what I was told that one day when I was given ammo to pursue you someday.

I was just rolling around with a guy for practice, when one parent of a kid in the room decided to watch. He saw as I got my butt handed to me and didn’t hesitate to give me his two cents. He pointed at my sparring partner and said,

“You see, this is a wrestler and this is a spectator,”

Of course, the “spectator” he was talking about was me.

I was just a spectator. To him at least. To be honest, that was kind of how I felt too. I knew that I wanted to do more than just watch, but I was too scared and too fragile to take the leap. I thought that if I became a manager for the team, I would be close enough to the action to say that I was in it. I didn’t want to face the fact it wasn’t enough for me. Even Randy once told me “you can’t understand wrestling until you actually do it.” It wouldn’t be for another four years that I would actually grow the backbone to be who I wanted to be.

No more watching for me, that’s for certain. I refused to let myself believe that doing this was a matter of fate. No matter what I did in life, I always felt like I was only a supporting role for the things I did. I wasn’t an EMT, but I acted like knowing a paramedic was close enough. I cleaned a gym and helped behind a counter, thinking that was enough to call myself a front desk employee. There were so many situations in my life where I just wasn’t bold enough to be on the fighting side. To step into action and be brave. It felt like I was fated to be that way. Yet, I decided one spring while I was at community college that I would defy my “fate” and actually figure out some way to wrestle. I went out and bought my first pair of wrestling shoes, because I wanted to have them as a mark, saying that this decision was what I wanted. It wouldn’t be until six months later that I would finally get to look you in the eyes and make you my close, personal friend, once and for all!


When I came to Rowan, you were a possibility for me, not necessarily a certain truth. I wasn’t absolutely sure of what would happen to me when I told my roommate that I would be going to wrestling practice that night. I remember it being a Tuesday and I remember being quite green. I would never imagine though that my time spent with you there at Rowan’s Rec Center gymnasium would introduce me to some of the most important people in my life. Especially the guy who taught me how to walk like a duck.

His name is Oscar, and because of you, I grew a brother-bond with him. Yet, in the beginning, we were still working out some things in our lives. We weren’t really thinking about the growth that would occur later on down the road. I can’t remember much of that first day anymore. My memory is not what it used to be, but I just remember the initial thoughts I had of everyone. I thought about how everyone seemed to be in such great shape and how I…was not. Even with that, I still thought I would have some sort of edge, beings that I spent so much time with the team at Jackson. I kind of used that to puff myself up a little bit.


Experience is the best teacher and Randy was absolutely right. The only way I would ever understand you was by actually getting myself into you and seeing what you’re made of. You certainly didn’t hold back with seeing what I was made of. You were the lightning I needed to strike me, for without it, I would not have been able to tell this story. It was easy sometimes, but for the most part, you really taught me how stand on my own feet and be tough. You’re kind of like life. A lot of the time, life doesn’t hold back, and we have to be able to fight back sometimes. When you wrestle, you learn that you can’t just go down easily if you wind up on bottom or if you get tossed. I learned through you that if there is at least a little bit of nerve in you to keep fighting you should use it. Even if somewhere inside of you knows you’re going to lose, you know better than to call it quits right then and there.

It wasn’t easy to get the hang of you. Even if I did seem to have grasped some stuff from Dougie and Randy, like the ankle pick and snaps I would use. Yet, beyond that I was humbled as I realized how much I needed to learn. That wasn’t terrible in the long-run, because you taught me how to learn patiently. Even if I couldn’t grasp a move or technique, I learned how to be more gracious with myself. You were something that took diligence, and lots of repetition. Lots and lots of repetition. I would get frustrated of course, but it was all a matter of time before I got the hang of it and was able to put up a much better fight.

I was confident too. You helped me to see a side of me that was capable of putting action to my own words. I would almost always lose, but I learned that the losing part isn’t quite as important as what happens in-between when you start and when you lose. I loved using my stamina to make whoever I was rolling around with work. Especially if they just wanted to take it easy after a long day of classes. If nothing else, I at least wanted to give them the practice they needed. Some of the team actually competed. So, they needed the training.


As time went on, I began liking the sound of calling myself “a wrestler” for once. It was something I treasured then and something I still treasure now. You made me proud because I was finally walking down a path I wanted to. I don’t think I could ever repay you for that. I never quite got to see myself in an actual match though. You see, I found it a pity at times that I called myself a wrestler, because I never seemed ready for a match with real competition instead of my teammates. You made me question myself a few times, because after I lost my wrestle-off, I guess that was it for me wrestling competitively at the time. I knew what a demand it would be to try and compete my first year wrestling. That didn’t stop me from throwing my hat in the ring. I lost of course, but looking back, I’m glad I had the guts to try.

Sure, I never competed that year, and even my last year when I decided to just practice; that didn’t stop me from considering myself a part of the team. To this day, I still call those guys my former teammates, because no matter what the labels, I felt like I belonged with them. Rolling around with them and getting stronger together was an experience I can only describe as teamwork. I still wanted to put my energy into the team and became risk manager for the team. I suddenly had responsibilities on the team and I loved it. I was in charge of making sure everybody was safe and I’m glad it wound up being me, because I really enjoyed spending time with them.

We went to Philly a few times, Maryland a couple times, and one stint in Delaware. When I was playing lacrosse and all, my favorite part was always the traveling. Just getting to enjoy a car or bus ride with good people and watching the scenery. Wrestling was no different. For me, it didn’t matter if I was on the mat or not, because I knew my job was different at that point. Being there for them when they wrestled was something bigger. I just knew that the best thing I could do was support my team. It didn’t matter what people thought or what the semantics were. I was a wrestler now and I didn’t need to prove myself to anybody.


Even if it was only with my teammates, I knew that I wasn’t the same person who would run from the demands of the trial. No, when I watched my teammates wrestle, I canned the thought that I was right back where I started. The irony is that I actually began filming their matches. Part of me was iffy about that, but at the same time….I knew what I had to do. I had to stop feeling sorry for myself and stop feeling ashamed of the things I couldn’t do. You taught me how to have pride when my mind wants to focus on everything I should feel ashamed of. No matter what lies were in my head, I was part of a team that saw me for what I really was, and that was their teammate! That meant a lot to me.

You taught me how to carry myself humbly. You taught me what it meant to be tough. You taught me how to forgive myself and you taught me what comradery feels like on a whole new level. The interesting thing about you is that you require 100 percent concentration. It didn’t matter if my leg was hurting or if I had a headache, you forced me to keep my mind on my opponent and my own movements. Although there isn’t much talking, picking up on your opponent’s emotions can become relatively easy. I especially felt this with Oscar among other teammates. When I wrestled them, I could almost tell what was going on in their heads by the way they wrestled. It’s crazy, how a sport like you can allow us to speak without saying a single word. All credit given, you are probably the closest thing a person can get to telepathy.

There are certainly some psychic aspects to you.

It’s weird to think of it now, but when you’re body feels almost completely worn out, but you seem to just be moving by just your mind, it’s kind of like telekinesis. Although I had the feeling of quitting and stopping right when things were getting too difficult, my nerve wanted to stay. I loved the bruises on my arms, I loved the aching in my thighs and the incredible tiredness I would feel afterward. I always wanted to come back. It didn’t matter if I had a concussion, a cold, a pair of dry, cracking, hands, or if I was just in a depressed mood…I always wanted to come back to you. I was darn stubborn in that way.

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While there is that aspect to you, what you neglected to provide for me was an extrasensory ability to predict the future. There was no way I would imagine beforehand, that so much would come about because you were in my life. Not even just the friendships I forged with my teammates, but the friendships I forged because of the people I met through those teammates. I met some of my closest friends because of the guys I met on the team. Looking back, I can’t imagine the past two years without them. They are some of the truest friends I’ve ever had.

Not only that, because I met Oscar, I wound up being introduced to a group that eventually helped me find my place with God. Honestly, if it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t have met Oscar. If I never met Oscar, I wouldn’t have joined Chi Alpha when I did. If I didn’t join Chi Alpha when I did, I wouldn’t have had made friends with so many amazing people, eventually become a staff member and ultimately develop an awesome relationship with Jesus Christ. I firmly believe that God knew that all along. From the beginning when I felt the call to find you, He was there, preparing me. He knew that one day, all that obsession over something I felt I couldn’t do, became my driving force to get involved and eventually, find that path that lead to Him. It was Him who designed it and it was Him who was pushing me.


I have graduated and so, now, I kind of have to leave you. It kind of hurt my heart when it all sank in at that Philly match. It’s bittersweet because I know what a huge part you played in my life. Yet, I know that I’ve gotten everything I needed out of you. Every lesson and every signpost I was given have helped me grow into what I am now. My chapter is closing now, but I hope you don’t forget me…

Also, I just hope that you open up for somebody else now.

Thank you, for everything.



Richard Robert Partheymuller II


A Tale of Guts, the Ray Philip Story

Richard Partheymuller II

Philip in long-snapping position; permission of use granted.


The world is full of seemingly “lucky” people who seem to have things handed to them. Though these people seem to give the illusion of what being fortunate really is, Ray Philip is a man who doesn’t expect the world to hand him anything.

It’s not like he was conditioned to think otherwise. Nonetheless, Philip, 20, of Collingswood, New Jersey, has seen and felt the persistent odds that were against him, only to defy their grip with persistence of his own.

This defiance begins the moment when Philip grips the laces of a football. The wide, open, space within Rowan University’s Richard Wacker Stadium in Glassboro, NJ, isn’t just where Philip joins his brothers on Rowan’s football team. This is where Philip suits up to rise up against any doubts he may have. Over the course of the past blank years, football has been a refuge for Philip, even when life tried to separate him from that refuge.

As a long-snapper for Rowan’s team, Philip is often in a position of considerable pressure. Before Philip, the starting position was already filled by Paul Rucci, a Rowan graduate who spent time with the Arizona Cardinals for the NFL team’s rookie league camp. Philip understands fairly well that he “has a lot to live up to.”

Those big shoes to fill don’t discount Philip’s ability as a long-snapper though. According to Philip, he was recruited by Rowan out of Collingswood High School. During his high school football season, Philip took the encouragement and advice given to him by his coach to serve as a long-snapper for the team.

“When I was in high school, my sophomore year, when we had our summer practices, we didn’t even have a long-snapper. It was like open tryouts and one day I was just messing around after practice and my coach said “that was pretty good” and just to keep working on it,” Philip said. “By the start of the season, I was the starting long-snapper and it just kind of carried on from there. When I started getting pretty good in high school, my coach was like “you can go to college for this.”

Philip said he received training as a long-snapper from Coach Jim Cooper of 5 Star Kicking in Cedarbrook, N.J., and cited Coach Cooper as a person who aimed him toward Rowan. Philip said that although he was recruited, Rowan is a Division III program and thus, does not award scholarships for sports. Like many college athletes, Philip plays for the love of the sport that has been in his life for so long. For him, the football field is where another part of him “comes alive.”

Permission of use granted


A love for the sport doesn’t necessarily guarantee any given person a pass from adversity. On the contrary, loving something that much can make being away from it so much more painful. When Philip tore his ACL last year in a summer scrimmage, he would come to learn that lesson the hard way. Philip recalled the incident that which would put him out for nearly a year.

“I was playing linebacker as well and I went to make a tackle and the receiver put on a really nice move and kind of juked me out a little bit. I just planted, my foot got stuck and my knee just popped,” Philip said.

When the athletic director present called for volunteers to escort Philip off the field, Philip said about 10 of his teammates ran to his side. Soon after, Philip would receive an MRI, which revealed that his ACL was completely torn.

“From then on I waited about a week to get my surgery date going. Then, basically two days after I tore my ACL until like two days before I had surgery, I started rehabbing my knee already for like pre-surgery stuff, to strengthen up all my other ligament and muscles and everything so when I got out of surgery, I wasn’t losing too much of those,” Philip said.

When Philip saw the outpouring of support from Instagram and Facebook, he said it was great to see that everyone had his back. That support would be vital from that point on, as Philip pained through the trial of recovery. For about __ months, this would mean Philip would be walking around on crutches.

“It was tough. It was really tough. Going from being an athlete to not having any control of your quad muscle, because when you have ACL surgery, you can’t even flex your quad anymore. Not being able to bend your leg fully and not being able to walk normal for, God, like months. Not being able to run until like four months after, it was tough. I mean, it was worth it though.”

Philip said that he is not the kind of guy to complain, even with those eight months away from playing football. For Philip, tearing his ACL wouldn’t be the first time he would have to deal with the cards he had been dealt. When Philip was going into sixth grade, his mother, Joanne, was diagnosed with breast cancer. Only two weeks after that, Philip lost his father, Ray, to a stroke. Philip’s mother would unfortunately lose her fight with cancer in April of the following year.

Philip (right) with friends, Will Pope and Mike Taulane; Permission of use granted


Though not a childhood that anyone should have to face, Philip knows that he’s “gotta keep truckin’ along.”

“I guess it’s made me stronger, I couldn’t just sit there and like be upset about it, my parents wouldn’t want that for me. They’d probably want for me to move on and work hard, make them proud. So, that’s what my sister and me try to do on a daily basis,” Philip said.

Philip and his sister, Jessica were placed into a position where support was a vital component to coping. One method of coping would come in the form of Camp Oasis, a day camp sponsored by Virtua Foundation, designed for children who have been diagnosed with or were lost to cancer. The camp is only for a single day out of the year in the summer, but Philip looked forward to that one day every year. It was a place where Philip said he could “be a kid again.”

The two eventually matured past coming to Oasis as campers though. The next step for them was to give back.

“We aged out and decided to go back and volunteer. So, we’ve been doing that for a couple of years for volunteering. It’s rewarding, going full-circle from being a camper to helping out kids,” Philip said. “So, to help the kids out and being able to do that for them is just awesome.”

Philip’s initiative to keep moving and his support system both give him some hope. Philip doesn’t want for his past to be seen as something so awful that he couldn’t get through it.

“I mean, it’s not an easy situation from what I’ve been through in my life so far, I’m only 20 years old. I could always be worse, I could always be in a worse of situation but just know that there’s always people out there to support you because I’ve always had a lot of support through the years. So, there’s always someone there to listen,” Philip said.

While at Rowan, Philip also became a volunteer for Rowan’s Relay for Life event. This event is put together every year by Rowan’s Colleges Against Cancer organization.

“I got involved with it last year and I loved every second of it. It’s from 6pm to 6am and that’s a struggle to stay awake and bring great energy but we look at it as staying one night. My mom fought cancer for two years, so I can stay one night,” Philip said.

Philip’s team has played a part in giving back as well. For as long as Philip has been a part of the team, it has been active in Rowan’s chapter of Be the Match, an organization dedicated to matching cancer patients with potential bone marrow donors. Philip and his team help run a registry drive every year within Rowan’s student center.

“The goal of that is trying to get people to come out, and all they have to do is just swab their mouth and it goes into a national registry. From there on, if they get matched, they can choose to be a bone marrow donor and save a life,” Philip said.

Fortunately for Philip, he was cleared to play in May of this past year. Since then, Philip said he “was working out a lot, hitting the field and snapping a lot.” Philip even got some expert training in. Two months prior to being cleared, Philip got a chance to meet and train with Eagles long-snapper, Rick Lovato. Philip said that Lovato gave him a lot of advice to help improve his own snaps. According to Philip, he was all set and ready when the first day of practice came around, and participated in the team’s conditioning test as per normal.

According to Philip, his drive to recover from surgery and get through the rehabilitation process were fueled simply by “just not giving up.”

“I mean, I could’ve given up right there, given up right there on my football dreams. I just could’ve given up and been like a normal person. Even though I put my body through so much just to get back to normal, it was worth it just being able to be back on the field again,” Philip said.

Philip (#52) with teammates and 5 Star Kicking Head Coach, Jim Cooper; Permission of use granted


It’s been several weeks since the team’s season started, with five games played total so far. With the heart of the season underway, Philip is extra diligent and at times extra apprehensive. Yet, Philip knows how to discipline himself.

“[I] could always be better, but the first couple of snaps of the first game I was a little shaky. I was nervous but I settled in. Last game I had all good snaps. Practice-wise, I mean, every now and then I’ll have a bad practice or something, everyone has their bad practices,” Philip said. “As long as I’m good to go for getting time and all of my coaches and my teammates and everything want to have trust in me, and I have trust in myself, I’ll make great snaps.”

On the other hand, Philip is simply determined to be as dependable as a long-snapper should be. The nerves he may feel are only part of the package.

“There’s a lot of pressure being a snapper, the balls in your hand, so if you mess up, the whole play could be messed up. It just teaches you a lot about just yourself, trusting yourself. So, if you go out there and you don’t trust yourself, you’re not confident, you’re going to mess up,” Philip said.

Along with keeping himself together, Philip sees this season as an opportunity to prove himself again. Although he states that he is not at “100 percent yet” and that “it [his ACL] doesn’t feel the same as it did before,” Philip sees the potential in his return season.

“I just want to have a comeback season to where people understand like I’m back, and I’m here to stay, and I’m ready to go, and I’m ready to play and everything. So, I just want to able to have a good enough season to where everybody trusts in me fully again,” Philip said.

Philip just wants to look back on a good season. For now, being back on the field is something Philip is treasuring. Outside of Rowan’s football field, Philip has found a means to give back to the game that has been such a staple in his life. Philip has brought back his experience to 5 Star Kicking, to coach the younger long-snappers. Under the oversight of his former coach, Coach Cooper, Philip has grown fond of the kids he coaches.

“It’s great, I love doing it. I love using what I know to help out the young guys,” Philip said. “I love staying contact with them, you know, and getting to know them and watching them grow, and getting better at their craft as well.”

To Philip, this is only one way that he plans on making a difference. Philip is in his third year at Rowan and is majoring in law and justice, with a minor in sociology. With this combination, Philip plans on helping children one day as a social worker.

“I just want to be the type of person who makes a difference in a kid’s life. I’d love to work in like a school or school district, and at the same time I would like to coach football as well,” Philip said.

For now, Philip is just happy to be back on the field with his team and a chance to make a good season to look back on. One he where he can show that he is finally back and ready to go.

How exactly is he going to do this?

Well, that’s easy to answer…

…by not giving up.


For information on Virtua Foundation and Camp Oasis, click here

For information on Relay for Life, click here

For Information on Be the Match, click here

Becoming Multilingual is Enjoyable with Duolingo

Merhaba, ben Richard, siz? Evet, evet! Ben makarna ve peynir yerim, siz? Ben sicak!! Affedersin, nasilsini?

If you’re not too familiar with the Turkish language, the above translates to “Hello, I am Richard, you? Yes, yes! I eat pasta and cheese, you? I am hot!! Sorry, how are you?” Upon first glance, this appears to be the perfect way to let people in Turkey know that you’re an over-caffeinated tourist. Of course, with some refining to the conversation, and if you’re making sense, you could very well see yourself being the master of a foreign language. It wouldn’t be easy, but whether it’s for business, leisure, or maybe even for the sake of friendship, a new language can easily make life a little more interesting.

I’d say it’s gotten interesting for me so far. When I first downloaded the language-education app, “Duolingo,” I wasn’t sure of how long I would last. Like any other millennial, I have to admit that sometimes my attention span can be fairly short. I knew for sure though, that I had a quiet desire to learn Arabic. Luckily, I had a friend who was just as interested as I was in learning a new language. He was already multilingual himself, but he showed me what Duolingo was on his phone. He was in the middle of learning Portugese, Spanish, and Turkish. In the midst of that, I was very intrigued. The app didn’t include Arabic in its language lessons, but that didn’t stop me from downloading the app a few months later. I decided that I would learn Turkish. I have Turkish friends and the language was similar in ways to Arabic. I opened it up and got to see what kind of cool perks Duolingo could offer.

Among the bells and whistles within Duolingo include:

  • Easy-to-follow tutorials, with recorded pronunciation of words at your fingertips
  • 23 languages to pick from
  • Different lessons within languages for different purposes, such as basics, adjectives, animals, food, places, etc.
  • Connectivity through different language clubs to join through the app
The many Function-designated Lessons Within a Language Selection. Photo/Partheymuller

When I began my adventure with Duolingo, it was easier than I thought it would be. I was quickly taught simple terms, like “elma” which means “apple” and “ekmek” which means “bread.” Then, after that, I got into genders, with “kiz” and “kadin” and “erkek” and “adam.” These mean “girl”, “woman”, “boy,” and “man,” respectively. These were pretty easy to remember, I mean, all you have to call the person as you saw them. Nothing really too difficult there.

This beginning made sense when I got further into the lesson though, for once I had some nouns to work with, I could now put together simple sentences. This was pretty fun, and soon enough, I was messaging my friends in Turkish to show them how far I was getting. I was so excited to really be grasping a new language. Then, as most things do, the lessons began getting tougher and tougher from there. Not only was I being challenged to put sentences together, I was also challenged to figure out the differences between similar words that essentially mean the same thing.

Picture/Word Matching Photo/Partheymuller

For instance, there is ic, icer, iceriz, icersin, and icerim. To go along with them, there is ye, yer, yeriz, yersin, and yerim. Believe it or not, these all mean the same thing, but in different contexts. The ic-group refers to drinking, while the ye-group refers to eating. Now, the app runs its lessons on a health meter that runs out a little more every time you get a question wrong. If you couple this with the fact that there is also three different salutations in the Turkish language, you could probably surmise that I lost some of my health meter on terms such as these. Hey, nothing worthwhile is easy anyway, right?

I’ve managed to get pretty far with it, and with every new section of the lesson, the difficulty increases but so does my confidence. You learn down the road why you were told to form sentences. This is because while you may see it as a pain in the beginning, you will be asked to utilize these skills as if they have become second-nature. That’s why it’s good to take the words and terms you use them during your day to day life. You know what they say “if you don’t use it, you lose it.” Luckily, this app allows you to go back to earlier lessons to retake them and refresh yourself. Along with that, every individual lesson within a language includes a test, to further reinforce whatever terms you’re learning.

The app has proved to be an enjoyable and productive way to spend my time during the day. When I really get bored, I can know that I can still better myself by learning a little more of my current lesson. If there was one thing I would wouldn’t mind saying I don’t like about this app, is the fact they added the health meter. Beforehand, I could just take a lesson, and if I got a question wrong, I could just answer it again and be done with it, pain-free. Now, since they added the health meter, I have to consider how much life I have before I answer a question that I am iffy about. If your health meter runs out, you have to wait about three hours before it gets high enough to keep going. This kind of breaks your streak for a little bit. Also, although the app itself is free, you can use real money to buy back health with “gems” which you can buy by themselves with real money. So, it’s kind of annoying when your health runs out, and you’re out of gems. Another grievance I have is simply that there is no Arabic, but I guess that’s a trade-off for all of the other languages.

Congratulatory Message for a Learning Streak Photo/Partheymuller


As of now, I have finally finished the food lesson in the app. These terms may prove useful, of course, but I’m looking at how this adventure is going to benefit me in the long run. Along with Turkish, I have also begun the basics in both Spanish and French. So, I guess I’ll be busy for a little while!

Gorusuruz, hosca kal! Iyi sanslar!

The above translates to “see you, bye! Good luck!” which I do wish you if by chance, you do ever want to try learning a new language someday.

Click here to check out some more Turkish words and phrases.

The 5 Lessons I’ve Learned Working with Children

If you have a child in your life, you will benefit from these life lessons. I want you to recognize the impact you have on the children in your life, and not to forget how much they cherish your relationship. Here are the 5 lessons I’ve learned working with kids.


#1: You Can’t Buy Love

One of my favorite kids I’ve ever counseled at the YMCA was devastated because her parents bought her tons of toys, but never payed attention to her.  Too many times during my years working with kids, I’ve noticed parents buying their children stuff to compensate for their lack of attention. Even worse, many of the separated parents would compete for their child’s love by buying them expensive items. It broke my heart because these children just wanted to be loved. All they truly wanted was an adult to spend time with them and show interest in who they were.


#2: “Bad Kids” Are Bad for A Reason

Children are often products of their environment. For example, one mother dropped her son off at the before school program and drove off without even making sure he made it safely inside. She hadn’t made payment for the program that month, but hurried him out the car and sped off knowing we couldn’t leave him outside alone in the cold. Parents who have this attitude towards their children set their kids up for failure. These children soon realize that their own parents don’t care for them, so why should they care about anyone or anything else?


#3: They Don’t Want Your Attention, They Need It

Young children need a role model to show interest in their lives, and they will go to great lengths to obtain one. Sometimes, children are ignored by their parents, leaving them desperate to get attention from another source. At my job, some kids craved attention so much that they would do anything to get it. Even if it was for disciplinary attention, kids would purposefully misbehave just so I would turn my attention towards them.


#4: Discipline is Necessary, Not Optional

I could easily tell which kids were disciplined at home and which ones were not. The ones who were disciplined would follow directions, the others would not. One mother was completely against seeing her child upset and refused to discipline him. That same kid almost cost his mother her job, all because he refused to give her phone back when he was dropped off in the morning. The mother pleaded with him, telling him that if she didn’t leave soon that she may lose her job, her son didn’t care. Not only does a lack of discipline set children up for failure in the adult world, but it also teaches them to be selfish and disregard others. Both of which are unfortunate.


#5: It Does Take a Village

Raising kids is NOT an easy task. Having the idea that a child can be taught all of life’s lessons by one person is ludicrous. The more positive influences that a child has in their life, the better! Kids at my program that had a strong support system were much more accomplished, happy, and healthy than those who didn’t. To clarify, the child’s support system does not need to have a lot of money or privilege to be successful, just their collective willingness to give unconditional love.

The 3 Secrets to Finding an Internship

An internship is a college necessity. Whether you desire an internship to fulfill a class requirement or to search for a career after college, chances are you will need to get at least one during your college career. Searching for an internship may seem overwhelming, but it becomes much easier when you know the keys to success. Lucky for you I’ve got the keys, here are the three secrets to finding an internship.


1: The Power of Envisioning

A major problem with college students is being unsure with what industry they want to pursue. Before you charge into an internship, you should envision what you see yourself doing. What are your strengths, what are your weaknesses, what are your likes and dislikes? Answering these questions about yourself can be challenging, so to make this step easier create a chart. Envisioning will allow you to get a clear picture of what you want to pursue. Your time is precious, don’t waste it on pursuing internships you won’t enjoy. I can tell you from experience that this takes some soul searching, but the more real you are with yourself the easier this process becomes.


2: Networking is Easier as a Student


The most common method in which college students find internships are through their social networks, and the best social networks consist of relationships you build with professionals in the field you are pursuing. This seems daunting, but you would be surprised with how willing these professionals are to help students. For example, in every class presentation I’ve sat through I made a point to talk to the presenter afterwards. Every time without fail, the presenter was thrilled that a student showed enough interest in their career to ask additional questions. I’ve received business cards, LinkedIn connections, referrals to other professionals, advice, and even my first internship by simply getting to know a business professional. The moral of secret number two, don’t underestimate the power of social networks.


3: Nothing Beats Persistence but Persistence


The last secret to finding an internship is leveraging the relationship you’ve built with professionals in your field. Leveraging the relationship with professionals entails you inquiring about possible internship opportunities that they themselves have or anyone else within their network can offer. To successfully leverage, you must be persistent in expressing your interest of interning with the firm. Being persistent shows that you are motivated to obtain an internship, and it gives management the impression that you will do a good job. You may get turned down a few times, but remember that life is all about odds. If you ask ten people ten times about internship opportunities you are more likely to land one then if you ask one person one time. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there when inquiring about internship opportunities, because nothing beats persistence but persistence.




The 5 Things You Need To Do This Summer

Summer break is a time where we can sleep in, eat our parent’s food, catch up with old friends, and enjoy long days of sunshine. It’s easy to get lost in the bliss of spending endless days lounging poolside or on the beach. To help you avoid the monotony of summer vacation, we’ve compiled 5 things you need to do this summer.


1: Go on a road trip

Road trip

Going on a road trip is a great way to liven up summer break. Grab a few of your closest friends and plot a course to go explore somewhere new. Not only will you be able to get out of your house, but you’ll be able to explore the world around you and have more experiences. Up for adventure, visit a National Park like Yosemite. Craving a big city experience, take a trip to NYC and see Times Square. The memories you make as you and your friends travel around the country will surely last you a lifetime, and strengthen your friendships.


2: Go to a Concert


Regardless of what genre of music you love most, going to a concert is a summer necessity. With so many concerts taking place during the summer months the possibilities are endless. If your style is Rap, check out the Made in America tour by Jay-Z. If you consider yourself more of a country-lover, than the CMA Music Festival may be more your thing. Whatever you decide to see, concerts allow you to get out and enjoy something with tons of people who have similar interests as yourself. Not to mention relieving that post semester stress.


3: Pick up/improve upon a hobby


With the stress of the semester behind us, summer break is an awesome time to improve upon or pick-up a new hobby. Having a hobby allows you brain to stay sharp and increase your productivity. Some hobbies you can pick up include learning a new language, playing an instrument, learning a trade, playing a sport, studying the fine arts, etc. These hobbies will help you to become a more intelligent, healthy, and well-rounded person.


4: Do one thing that scares you


Everyone has that one thing that they are terrified of. I’m embarrassed to admit that girls wearing chokers freak me out for some reason and I’m not sure why. Anyway, doing something that scares you will allow you to become a stronger person. It has been said, “The greatest things in life lie on the other side of our fears.” Being that our fears are in in the way of greatness, there are only two options. Option one, forget everything and run. Or option two, face everything and rise. Go ahead, jump out of an airplane (with a parachute of course), go scuba diving, ask that guy/girl you’ve been crushing on out for a date. Whatever it is, I truly hope that you will decide to face your fears, you’ll be glad you did. Now all that’s left for me is to find a hot-date with a choker.


5: Get a summer job/ internship


Having fun is fun, but summer break also needs to have a practical side. First off, to afford all the activities we discussed, you will need a source of income (unless your mommy/daddy buys everything for you, in which case I am always taking donations). Anyway, getting a summer job or internship will be even more important for career-building. We will all eventually graduate and move out into the “real world” with the expectation to find a career we are passionate about. What better way to figure out that passion by doing a 2-4 month, no strings attached test drive. If you hate it, move on knowing you don’t want to pursue something in that industry or work in that type of environment. If you love it, try and pursue a full-time position with the firm or find another company like it. I’ve had two internships and held a steady job at the YMCA throughout college. I can tell you with full confidence that I’ve learned more about what I like and dislike about a job/ workplace from the work experiences I’ve had, and so will you!


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