Photo by Scott Bruhn/Nebraska Communications

A Mark to be Made: New Huskers Join the Journey

By NU Athletic Communications

Another year of the Husker Life Seminar has officially culminated and the newest Nebraska student-athletes are well on their way to leaving a mark both in their sport and in the lives of others. Overall, the course aids students in their acclimation to college life and improves their decision making strategies–ultimately impacting the legacy they leave behind. Throughout the course, students covered topics including relationships, social media, money management, leadership development and alcohol education while also attending the Student-Athlete Career Fair, Involvement Fair, volunteering for Husker Heroes, and creating their own resume.

Arbitrary as it may sound, the students’ final requirement of the ten week class was to listen to the late author and college professor Randy Pausch’s upbeat lecture titled “The Last Lecture: Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams” and then compose a similar reflection from the viewpoint of later on in their lives.

Understanding that their future is inevitable, yet, still unpredictable, in the reflections below you’ll notice the student-athletes all came to a similar conclusion as Pausch; it’s not about how to achieve your dreams, it’s about how you lead your life, and if you lead it in the right direction, the dreams will come to you.

Believe in Your Dreams

Goals are never made for the entertainment of others, they are made to push yourself to become a better person and be proud of yourself. Everyone here must make a wager with life. To strive for experiences or to strive for materials. In striving for material wealth, one can achieve finite gain in standard of living. I affirm that striving for friends, memories, and love is a battle I would die for. – Pat Letz, Track & Field

Do not settle for anyone else’s dream. My life maybe near the end, but to me each day feels like a new beginning. Something to learn, something to teach, but always a new journey. - Alex Metzler, Wrestling

Never Lose the Childlike Wonder. It’s What Drives Us

I hated birthdays, but one year my father told me a famous quote that changed my perspective on life, “age is just a number, the only difference between you and me, is I have wrinkles and you don’t”. This changed everything for me, because it showed me that a child isn’t defined by his/her age or size, he/she is a child for as long as he/she wants to be… A man can be 90 years old, but as long as he looks at the world as a place of wonder and endless possibilities, he will always be a child and he will never grow up. I found my Neverland that day, and I’ve never left. – Brandon Pechloff, Baseball

Focus on the Journey and Accept Change

Every day I wake up and attempt to live the future or at least create my outcome, I wonder how I will be remembered, I search for what I am destined to do. Unfortunately too many people today live their lives the same way I do… in the future. Randy Pausch however engineered dreams and left it at that. The dreams were only mere destinations. The journey was a great voyage, a quest full of numerous unseen obstacles and passages where the road forked not once but multiplicatively. We are so focused on the destination at times that we do not even take that crucial pause to admonish the journey. – Christian Martin, Cross Country

But moving on is the lesson I live by today, and how to make each part of my life a constant road that is changing and cracking and being mended again, or being re-striped or swept or detoured. By continuing to live life this way, I have experienced the most beautiful moments. – Lauren Phillips, Rifle

Embrace Head Fakes

Randy referred to “head fakes,” which are things one learns indirectly from experiences. You can’t go through life tip toeing around situations, you have to jump in head first and take whatever comes at you. You have to live each day like it’s your last because in the end you don’t want to look back and regret that you didn’t leave your mark on anything and everybody that came your way. – Brittany Brewster, Tennis

Accept Help from Others

I’m not going to lie, there are times when things don’t go as planned, there are times when I cannot always hold a smile on my face but on those days I know that I have all the support in the world and tons of people to fall back on when I need them the most. Even though not all your dreams come true, you learn to adapt them to make them true. – Jessica Eberly, Bowling

Finally, always be gracious. Nobody goes through life alone. Whether you think you need it or not, help is always a good thing. - Matt Leuty, Baseball

Focus on Other People, Not on Yourself

No matter the situation or circumstances I have always tried to stay true to my roots and what I’ve grown up as the golden rules: God, family, then everything else. This helps me to know I have a purpose but it is not just a self-fulfilling purpose but one to make a difference. To help others in life and let them see my light shine as I carry them when they can walk no more. - Sarah Firestone, Track & Field

Brick Walls Show Us Our Dedication

What have my spontaneous, random collection of childhood dreams taught me? How to lead my life.  How to be myself, how to be challenged, how to overcome adversity, how to deal with difficult decisions, and how to continue to dream, and to be inspired by my surroundings. The most important thing that I have learned is that life continues on, if you fail so miserably at something, to the point where is seems like the world has become a black hole, and life has ended—guess what. It hasn’t. I have learned how to pick myself back up again, how to continue to fight, and how to strive for the highest goals and standards I can imagine. Because what is life without a little struggle? - Natalie Muench, Soccer

Be Good at Something, it Makes You Valuable

If there is one thing that I want to pass on to the younger generation is that you must find your purpose. Because once you know your reason you will be unstoppable. Sacrifices will be easier to make, adversity will be easier to overcome, and failure will not be an acceptable option. – Will Lohman, Track & Field

Work Hard

One cannot measure their success simply off of the status they have in life. LeBron James is undoubtedly the greatest basketball player of our generation, however, the title didn’t make him successful, it was the choices he made on how hard he wanted to work to get this title. – Zach Hannon, Football

The point that I am trying to make is that even though I’m not always the best at everything I do, I try to be the best. - Mitch Maginnis, Wrestling

People are the Secret to Life, Find the Best in Everybody

Fortunately, we are all born with the right tools to fix broken relationships. We all have the ability to argue, forgive, and converse. It is the motivation part that we must remember to use when fixing relationships. Practice forgiveness. Forgiveness is the key to living a happy, meaningful life. Don’t get distracted by hating others and having others hate you. We are all people, albeit with different ideas. - Peter Spinks, Cross Country

Be Prepared. Luck is Truly Where Preparation Meets Opportunity

If I could go back and tell myself one thing it would be that dreams come true right before your eyes and you don’t even really realize you are accomplishing your dreams until you sit back and look at it. - Megan Gould, Cheer Squad

You must first believe beautiful things are possible if you ever want them to happen to you. It speaks about having a positive attitude and being hopeful. It’s a reminder to always look for the best in every person and in every situation. - Rachel Samuelson, Cheer Squad

Lessons Learned

If anyone knows anything about a diamond you would know that it began as a lump of coal.  That lump of coal is worthless until you place it in the fire and it transforms into this beautiful diamond.  Like so, some of my decisions have been lumps of coal but the fire comes when I take those lessons and let them refine me into a diamond. Everyone experiences lumps of coal in life and no two pieces of coal are refined in the same way.  How you want to be remembered is not going to be how I want to be remembered and that is okay because at the end of the day we both have those same 773,618 decisions to make and how we chose to make them is our choice and ours alone.  Remember though that each and every decision you make brings you closer to the final day when people will stand around, laugh, cry, and sort through the memories they have of you.  These memories they speak of are a reflection of your decisions and refinements, make sure you are leaving impressions worth reflecting upon when your time on earth is over. – Lotte Sjulin, Softball

There’s many life lessons that should be learned early in order to live life happily and freely. Be courageous. Do what makes you happy. Don’t judge others. Seize opportunities. Acceptance is the key. Invest your time meaningfully. Cherish the little things. Embrace every moment. Admit when you are wrong. And if you care about someone or something, show it. - Briana Zabierek, Bowling


These young student-athletes who have, and will continue to fight through failures and successes during their time spent at Nebraska and beyond, believe there is more merit in spending time focusing on the actions that go into their legacy, rather than simply aiming to leave one. What many of these athletes have yet to realize is that for the vast majority of them, this class marks their first step towards their ultimate goals of success and graduation.


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