Guilford students: many forms of success

    Student-athletes are more than just athletes. 

    There’s been talk of a divide among students for years, attributed to a lack of respect between students and student-athletes. Much of this disconnect is a result of misunderstanding. Many Guilfordians are unable to see past the athletic gloves and helmets and into the hearts and minds of the athletes who wear them.

    Passion is a prized quality in Guilford students. All students have something that gives us cause to wake up in the morning, whether it be heading to class, a work-study job, sports practice, or a club meeting. We all find that thing that makes us tick and we live our lives in its rhythm.

    Sophomore cross-country and track runner Jodie Geddes is active in many corners of campus. From her involvement in the Community Aids Awareness Project to working in the Multicultural Resource Center to serving as a Principled Problem Solving scholar, her hands are full with activism. Jodie was also named to the 2010 Student-Athlete Honor Roll and works in the Guilford Admissions department.

    “Academics and athletics hold equal importance in my time at Guilford,” said Geddes. “I try not to live a divided life. I think that if I give myself all around, the success will simply flow.”

    For student-athletes, their respective sport is certainly a source of passion. But to assume their athletic ability defines them belittles their various contributions to Guilford’s community. 

    “I’m passionate about a lot of things,” said first-year lacrosse attack man Chandler Zirkle. “I think spreading love is really important. I like to make people laugh and always try do everything to the best of my ability.”

    Sometimes there’s a competitive nature compelling students to compare how hard they work, and thus, degrade others’ hard work in return. From the sidelines, many students are unable to see the effort and dedication behind each tackle or every lap run.

    “I think that many don’t see the hard work that runners endure,” said Geddes. “I commend my team and my coaches for always pushing me. They gave me the kind of faith that pushed me to believe in myself more at every practice.”

    With each day spent at Guilford, we become more. Whether it’s in the classroom or out on the field, we’re being challenged to improve.  

    It’s narrow-minded to believe that student-athletes are somehow less concerned with academics than the remaining student population.

    Junior Vanessa Johnson is a member of Guilford’s Sister to Sister and Blacks Unifying Society organizations. Johnson not only works within the Guilford community, but takes her enthusiasm off campus into the Greensboro area with her volunteer work for her child and adolescent Psychology course. 

    “I think student-athletes deserve a higher level of respect,” said Johnson. “I see them as working hard at something they love to do, while working hard as students at the same time.”

    When asked about their post-graduation goals, both Zirkle and Geddes said that they plan to attend graduate school. Geddes hopes to work at Guilford’s Admissions department and then work with art and people, while Zirkle remains open to what possibilities unfold over his next four years. 

    “Both athletics and academics are important, but, in the long run, while lacrosse is a large focus now, academics are what will help me succeed after college,” said Zirkle.

    All of us work tirelessly for something. For these students, success comes in many forms. Succeeding academically is critical to their futures and their development, but so is their sport.