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10 of The Most Interesting Things I Learned This Semester

Some of you might know that I went back to school recently, after completing my undergrad degree in 2020. I've learned so much this past semester, and I wanted to share a few things that had the greatest impact on me.

In no particular order:

#1 There are two different types of anxiety: somatic and cognitive. Somatic anxiety is anxiety that you feel in your body like increased heart rate, respiration, and muscular tension. Cognitive anxiety is mental anxiety, like racing thoughts or intrusive thoughts. It's possible to experience one or another, or both.

#2 The known benefits of moderate exercise applied on a regular basis include: the preservation of lean tissue in cancer patients, enhanced immune system in cancer patients, lowered incidence of bowel & breast cancer, & improved psychological well-being.

#3 People who have been sexually assaulted are 26x more likely to abuse drugs.

#4 The inventor of pilates (Joseph Pilates) would smoke a cigar and drink a beer every day in his gym when he was coaching people one on one. He also designed hundreds of different pilates workout machines. (He later died of cancer from smoking.)

#5 Stereotypes in sport: In a study done in the UK, it was found that out of 281 comments of praise to black athletes were focused on athleticism 69.8%, whereas white athletes were predominately praised for their learned attributes 47.9% of the time.

This means that while literally, all elite athletes are highly athletic, black athletes are almost always praised for being athletic or strong, but rarely complimented on their learned skills or cognitive ability to play their game cerebrally. This study explores the concept of a "natural" black athlete and explores the prevalence of unintentional practices that contribute to racism. (Study linked in references at the end of this post)

#6 The power of the mind and the power of hope overpower anything in the physical world. You might have heard of Alex Smith, former Washington quarterback. Alex suffered a compound spiral fracture to his leg, and some doctors thought he would never play again. However, Alex was a fighter and rehabilitated for months and months, luckily able to benefit from state-of-the-art facilities and specialists who had experienced others with the same injury (this specific injury was common in the military). However, these doctors and specialists might not have had the same success without Alex's mindset and inner locus of control [an inner locus of control means that a person believes that they control their destiny and they have the power to accomplish the goals that they set for themselves].

Alex Smith's story is one of mental fortitude, perseverance, and hope. After a long journey of rehabilitation, Alex was cleared and able to return to the sport that he loves. Notably, he was awarded the title of NFL Comeback Player of the Year in 2020. After a successful return to the NFL, he retired in 2021. His recovery is said to be the greatest in NFL history.

#7 In the grand scheme of things, it's more important to actually learn something than just doing it for the grade or for the degree. Don't let yourself get down if you miss a few points here or there, just focus on the material and apply what you learn and it will all work out great. It is inevitable that students will miss points or assignments here or there, especially when students are full-time and also juggling work, social activities, and rest. With this knowledge, you can still make the most of your time in class, or your time to ask professors questions.

Don't let yourself be scared of your professors, they are there to teach you, and they are getting paid to do so. Make the most of your money spent on tuition and ask questions when you have them!

#8 40% of mass shooters die by suicide either during or in the immediate aftermath of the shooting.

#9 Most colleges in America have a health fee included in tuition. Included in this health fee is counseling or therapy with a licensed professional. You are already paying for it anyway, so you might as well go for a check-in session and have a chance to talk with someone who is trained in helping people. School can be incredibly stressful, so it really helps to be able to have a safe container where you can speak freely.

Personally, I think we would live in a much better world if an annual mental health check-up was commonplace for people. You might not even be conscious of the stress that you are under, and therapists can help bring light to areas that you may be glossing over in your life. I highly recommend that all college students check out this option. Hopefully, you can find a therapist or counselor who resonates with you and makes you feel safe to speak what's on your mind.

#10 For people with mental disorders, it is common that if they have one, they might have another as well (totaling 2 or more in certain situations). This shows how we should all be careful and empathetic toward others. You never know the battles that someone else may be facing or the stress that they might be under.

A very large cause of mental disorders in individuals is enduring abuse as a young child. This could be by parents or other family members, or other people in the community. This abuse can include verbal, sexual, physical, neglect, etc.

Children are in their formative years, meaning that they are highly impressionable at this time. If children do not learn healthy boundaries or experience healthy loving relationships, these early wounds will affect them for the rest of their lives. People who are abused and do not get help to heal their (often unseen) hurts, might in turn become abusers.


Sports Psychology Textbook: Sport Psychology Concepts and Applications Seventh Edition By Richard H. Cox, University of Missouri–Columbia

Abnormal Psychology Textbook

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