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The "It" Factor

In: People

Submitted By psubrophy
Words 3623
Pages 15
Josh Brophy
Personal Narrative
The “It” Factor

“I heard you got another A in one of your summer classes. Good job.”
“Thanks. Everything is finally looking up. Mom said I’ve earned another shot up at University Park. Dad is still being stubborn, but he’ll come around eventually. I haven’t been this happy since high school.”
“Seems like it. You better make the most of it.”
“I will. I have to.”
“If you don’t mind me asking…where were you the past year?”
“Lost.”
“What do you mean?”
“I wish I knew.”
“You know—I went to Penn State too—was there for 8 years and 3 degrees. I knew many of the most talented and brilliant people there. Professors, students, and—“
“You were one of them.”
“—and you are too. You’re just as talented as any of them, including me.”
“I know Mark, I agree with you.”
“Then…can I ask you something?”
“Is that rhetorical?”
“How badly do you want to succeed?”
“As badly as you did…as badly as you still do.”
“Then why were you struggling so much?
“Because I just wasn’t…me.”
“For how long?”
“—the past two years.”
“So…help me understand what you’re talking about?”
“You already know everything that’s happened with me...it’s all been in our conversations; little bits here—small pieces there. You’re smart enough to put it all together—and I know you already have. I’m done thinking about what’s happened in the past. I’ve already moved on.”
“Fair enough.” August 22nd, 2012. I didn’t speak to anyone on the two hour ride to State College, but there was plenty of conversation to go around the minivan. Mom was having quite an in depth conversation with my brother Kevin about the upcoming semester, while Dad was driving his usual five to ten mph under the speed limit. His turtle-like driving speed was already borderline unbearable, but to top it off he was notorious for taking his foot off the gas pedal whenever he decided to chime in. Any other day I would’ve haggled him about this, but today I let it slide.
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Normally, my mom would try to bring me into the conversation, but she could tell that I wanted to be left alone. It’s one of the few times she’s ever read a cue from my body language. She was proud of me and so was Dad; the normal rules of our conversations no longer applied as long as this remained. They had constantly reminded me of this pride for the past two weeks of summer. I must’ve heard it 100 times. The tension that had eaten our relationship in the months before felt like it was long gone. Come to think of it; when was the last time they said they were proud?
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A quiet confidence surrounded me and everyone that was in my immediate life. I hadn’t felt this upbeat and focused since the days—months—years that I spent on the mound as the ace pitcher on my high school baseball team. Today was the day, my day, and I could finally feel the will, the edge that made me who I was back then.

My coach always told me that I looked like a bulldog on the mound. This was my persona; a persona that I willfully adopted. I never had the best “stuff”. I wasn’t the hardest thrower, nor did I have the best curveball, slider, or changeup. In fact, it was common for me to hear the jeers and jokes coming from the opposing teams’ dugout as they watched me warm-up. Maybe they thought I couldn’t hear them, but more likely they knew that I could. They wanted me to hear them. They all thought that I was absolutely nothing, right down to their little freshman who sat on the bench. This was almost customary; it happened every single time I came in to pitch.
I heard them. I can still hear them. But more importantly, I listened to them ever so intently. I grasped onto every single word I heard. This kid is garbage. Please tell me that’s just his changeup. You have like 6 seconds to react to one of his pitches. Even the coaches would sometimes get in on it, albeit in a different manner. There’s no reason we can’t go out there and put up 10 runs on this kid. You see faster pitches every day in batting practice.
Do you know what happened once we reached game time? No. I didn’t go out there and strikeout 12 guys a game, establishing myself as the greatest pitcher to ever grace the league. I could only dream of saying that, but as I said before, I wasn’t necessarily the most talented pitcher. There were games when they did exactly what they set out to do. Maybe they got 6 or 7 runs off me and knocked me out of the game in the second inning. Yes, those days did happen, and it could happen to anybody on any given day, but on my days, on my mound, it didn’t happen often. My coach put me in for a reason.
Coaches will often say that the most important ability to have in sports is the ability to forget. Forget about that interception you just tossed. Forget about that shot you just air-balled. Forget about the wild pitch you just threw. Forget about the failure you just experienced. But forgetting isn’t only about failure. Success can be your enemy just as much, perhaps more so than any failure. Why?
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Unlike failure, with success, you can experience complacency. It’s the people who truly succeed by avoiding their complacency, utilizing their focus, determination, conviction, will, and resolve— but in all actuality, none of these words are an apt description. The truth is, there’s a thousand words that all turn out to mean one simple thing. In sports, it’s called the it factor. Anyone involved with sports will tell you one of two things, either you have it, or you don’t.

June 27th 2010. This is what I had been waiting for my whole life. I had just graduated from high school barely a week earlier and was now freshly returned from a vacation to Florida with two of my closest friends from my high school days. Now I was in college, the only place that I really wanted to be. This signified the end of a period of my life that I would forever remember, but it was the beginning of something entirely different. It always felt to me as if this day would never come, and in every possible way; this was a totally new experience. Most kids are excited to go to college, but growing up in back country, small town Shickshinny Pennsylvania, getting out of that place was the only thought that went through my head for years. Add the fact that I was raised in a Penn State family from the day I was born, and it’s easy to see that from an early age, Penn State was my goal, and that’s where all of my success from my early years would translate. In fact, when it came time for me to apply to colleges, I only applied to one because I only had one in mind. It was all Penn State from day one, and even more specifically, University Park.
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Nevertheless, until I began to get a little older as I started to realize my academic capabilities, attending Penn State was no more than just a fantasy, a far off dream that seemed as if it would never truly come into focus. June 27th, 2010 was just a date, one that I wouldn’t even know about until the latter half of my senior year.

The day that my older brother Mark left for Penn State, my mindset changed. I was just going into my 6th grade year. He had just finished high school as the Valedictorian of his class and was heading to Penn State as one of the most accomplished students to ever come out of our school and one of the only kids in our area to ever be accepted into the Penn State Schreyer’s college.
When I walked into his room in the day that followed his departure, it was almost totally empty, save for a few impractical accessories that he left behind. I sat down at the desk where his old desktop computer still resided, gathering a thick layer of dust over the months after he got a laptop the past Christmas, a laptop that he got for college. I wiped my fingers through the dust, collecting it on my hands distinctly showing the lines of my fingerprints while sending more and more dust shimmering through the air. I sneezed once, then twice, then three times. This gave my body a moment to involuntarily react to the emotions I felt at the time. The tears from my eyes began to well up and stream down in single beads across my flushed cheeks. I put my head in my hands and I cried.
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It was daylight as I started sobbing, the light shined through the partially closed blinds of my brothers’ window. It was sunset when I finally got ahold of myself—my mother calling me downstairs for dinner. The sunlight had long ago left the blinds of the window, now facing another portion of the house. I got up to walk downstairs, taking one more look around as I placed my hand on the doorknob ready to open toward the outside world. I glanced at his walls, seeing all the plaques, medals, awards that he had gathered over the years, through all the time that he spent in high school. He was a brilliant scholar, as much of an academic prodigy as our school district had ever seen. At that moment I decided—I wanted to be the next.

January 25th, 2010. Months of nervousness finally turned into a collective sigh of relief, a few moments for excitement, and a sense of entitlement. Today was the day I got accepted into Penn State, and my self-esteem had never been higher. My high school career didn’t pan out exactly as I had initially planned. I wasn’t going to finish as the Valedictorian, following in my brothers’ footsteps and adding another exceptional chapter to my family’s legacy. In fact, I was fairly close to the average line in terms of the requirements considered to get into University Park. I wouldn’t say that I was right on the line, because I was definitely above it, but it wasn’t by a particularly wide margin. On the other hand, I did know for a fact that I was much more intelligent than my grades and SAT scores had indicated. The truth was, I slept-walked through high school. I knew exactly what I needed to do in terms of requirements, and getting accepted into Penn State was the top achievement—the only achievement that I truly wanted and needed from my high school experience. In my earlier high school years I was the perfect student. I wasn’t quite the top ranked student in my class, but I was damn close to it. The achievements, the awards, the accolades, they all piled up, just like they did for my brother Mark when he was in high school. Conversely, as my accomplishments seemed to reach new heights and my status as an elite student in the area gained traction, I had begun to realize that all of it wasn’t necessarily—imperative.
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I knew that high school was merely the gateway to my experience in College. My results in high school would not affect anything in college, and I had already reached the top, and the top was just a plateau. I didn’t realize it at the time but the overwhelming easiness of high school, combined with the success that I was seeing from it put me in a situation that I lacked the maturity to foresee. I was too comfortable. I had grown complacent—and I didn’t know it.

The problem with failure, with depression, is that getting out of it is the easy part. It’s staying out of it that takes everything you’ve got. Often times it can only take one slip, one seemingly inconsequential moment in time that sends you up and over, right back down the mountain you just worked so hard to climb. And from the bottom of that hill, every step you have to take; appears like it might not even be a step worth taking. Oh, it’s a steep climb for sure, right from the start, but sometimes, the fall we take might not even be our fault. Sure, I mean—yeah, at the core it all boils down to whether or not you can hang on, even when the ground is caving right beneath your feet, so in a sense—whether you like it or not, you are always at fault.
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The problem with success, and the complacency that often comes with it, is that it truly is a fine line to walk. Nobody tells you that on the other side of that line—right after you tip toe along the boundaries of complacency for too long, you will run into failure. You will crash, and you will burn.

January 1st, 2013. As I watched the majestic New Year’s fireworks display over the World Showcase Lagoon in Walt Disney World’s EPCOT, I reflected upon the previous semester and where it all went wrong. How could I fall into the same trap? Even if this time, it was someone close to me who initiated my unraveling instead of my own faulty initiation. The ground beneath my feet collapsed and I couldn’t hold on, it was as simple as that. With loud mortars exploding off in the distance, I started to wonder a question that I must have asked myself a million times before. Where do I go from here? Of course, the answer is simple. Quit falling into the same stupid shit that you’ve fallen into every time before, the same reason that you keep coming back around and asking this same question. But it’s not that simple, it’s never been that simple, and it never will be that simple. Every time I get in this deep, I can’t remember who I used to be, and that’s the one thing, the only thing that I wished I could remember. My mind drifted, away from the spectacle, away from the fireworks that thousands upon thousands of people were enjoying, and into something else entirely. I thought about the conversation I had with my brother Mark, right before I went back to college in the fall.
“I’m done thinking about what’s happened in the past. I’ve already moved on.”
What happened to that? I just let it all happen again anyway.
My thoughts began to drift again, onto something different. I started to think about the way I felt the day I walked into my brother’s empty bedroom, the day he left for college, crying uncontrollably, wanting so badly to be who he was, wanting to feel every ounce of success that he has ever felt. He was a brilliant scholar, as much of an academic prodigy as our school district had ever seen. At that moment I decided—I wanted to be the next. What happened to that? I still wanted it—still craved it just as badly as I did the day that I spent sneezing and crying in my dusty hands. Suddenly finding myself feeling down, I didn’t want to think about this anymore, it was New Year’s after all, and I wanted to have a good time, so I did—but there comes a time when all nights come to an end, and when I finally made it back to the hotel room, with my body and legs weary from walking around all day I collapsed on my bed ready to fall asleep—except that I couldn’t sleep, not yet. And so my thoughts drifted once again, towards the idea of failure—towards the idea of success. How is it that they are so intertwined—so related? It’s so simple and easy to experience success and yet, immediately afterward, it’s just as easy to experience immense failure. How is this so—possible? Finally, the cylinders in my head began to click, like an old big block muscle engine was just starting after years of lying dormant. I began to put the pieces together. I began to gradually doze off, but once again my thoughts took another turn, gaining speed, moving faster, even as I fell deeper towards sleep. My eyes were shut and I began to dream. This dream however, was unlike any other; it was specific and distinct, like a message culminating from a lifetime of questions. My dream shifted towards my old high school baseball days. Like a whirlwind had just swept me up and taken me to a separate time and place, it was just as if I was back—on my mound, my haven, the place where I would not be denied. I heard the chatter in the opposing dugout, the kids who said I was garbage, that I was nothing. But this time, I heard the voices, looked to the left and only noticed the faces of people I knew. The people who will always doubt me, the people who will never believe that I could be anything beyond what they see on the surface—but this is my life—and that lights my fire. I took a deep breath and got ready to throw the first pitch as soon as the batter stepped in and the umpire gave me the signal. “Play ball!” I fired the first pitch—ball one. I fired the second pitch—ball two. I fired the third pitch—same result. Flustered, I looked to my right and saw my high school baseball coach. He was sitting in the home team dugout with my brothers, sisters, parents, and friends. They all had the same look in their eyes. They all had that same stoic look on their faces. They trusted me to get the job done. I was a bulldog, and this was my persona; a persona that I willfully adopted. My eyes zeroed in on the coach and I knew exactly what he was thinking, I felt it through my body. The most important ability to have in sports is the ability to forget. I turned to face home plate, ready to throw the next pitch. “Strike one!” Relieved, and grinning ever so slightly, I turned back towards my coach, my family, and my friends, only to see the same look as before, entirely unchanged. I finally realized their message. The problem with success, and the complacency that often comes with it, is that it truly is a fine line to walk. Nobody tells you that on the other side of that line—right after you tip toe along the boundaries of complacency for too long, you will run into failure. You will crash, and you will burn. I faced the plate and started to wind up once again, launching the pitch with just enough slide that the batter could merely nip it, sending it flying over the catcher’s head and into the backstop. “Strike two!” Now I could feel the energy of the game flowing in me, ever so close to reaching my triumph. I didn’t bother to look back at the dugout this time, knowing that I would only see the same unaltered look on everyone’s face. Now was my moment, this was my chance to make a statement—and now was not the time to be complacent. I reared back one last time, streamlining every motion as I went through my wind up, maximizing my torque and hiding my release until the last possible moment when I thrust off the mound with my back leg, hitting my catcher’s mark perfectly by just nipping the outside corner of the plate. “Strike three! You’re OUT!” I let out a quick fist pump and yelled loudly of excitement, at last being able to release the intensity that was bottled up in the heat of the moment. Finally relieved, I glanced back over to my dugout, only to be surprised by what I saw. Their expressions were unchanged. Initially, I was deflated, demoralized by my inability to win over their pride—but then I remembered, once again as if I absolutely needed to keep reminding myself. Complacency. I focused my eyes back towards home plate, noticing that as one batter walked back to the dugout, dejected and beaten, another was making his way to home plate, confident and ready. There was only one out in this game, and there were still eight innings and two outs to go. I felt myself grow up at that very moment. This was it. I had watched my success turn into failure, and now I would do the opposite, leaving my failure to reach my success—one step at a time. I finally realized who I was, and deep down it was something that I knew all along. It’s the people who truly succeed by avoiding their complacency, utilizing their focus, determination, conviction, will, and resolve— but in all actuality, none of these words are an apt description. The truth is, there’s a thousand words that all turn out to mean one simple thing. It took me twenty years of trying, searching, succeeding, failing—but in this moment; I finally realized that I was looking in all the wrong places—because I had it the whole time.

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...FACTORS THAT AFFECT ACADEMIC PERFOMANCE ON THE JOB TRAINING OF BSOA PRACTICUMERS OF EULOGIO “AMANG” RODRIGUEZ INSTITUTE OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY QUESTIONAIRE The purpose of the survey is to collect data and analyze the factors that affect the academic performance on the job training of BSOA practicumers. Name: Course/Year & Section: College: Date: Gender: Place in your ojt: Student related Factors Direction: Please check (✓) and rate yourself honestly based on what you actually do given the statements using the following scales. 5 – Always 4 - Often 3 – Sometimes 2 – Rarely 1 – Never A. Interest | 5 | 4 | 3 | 2 | 1 | 1. I listen attentively to the...

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Factor Analysis

...Regression with Categorical Predictors Using Personality Inventory variables and perform two factor analysis, one using unrotated solution, and another using rotated orthogonal solution. Q1. Are the communalities the same using either method? Factor Analysis 1 – Unrotated Solution Communalities | | Initial | Extraction | Beck's Depression Inventory | 1.000 | .666 | measures the extent to which a person is impulsive the higher the value the more impulsive the person is | 1.000 | .643 | Rotter Locus of Control Measure | 1.000 | .666 | Life Optimism Test | 1.000 | .798 | indicator for whether the South Oaks Gambling Screen suggests that the person is a probable pathological gambler | 1.000 | .654 | Extraction Method: Principal Component Analysis. | Factor Analysis 2 – Rotated Orthogonal Solution Communalities | | Initial | Extraction | Beck's Depression Inventory | 1.000 | .666 | measures the extent to which a person is impulsive the higher the value the more impulsive the person is | 1.000 | .643 | Rotter Locus of Control Measure | 1.000 | .666 | Life Optimism Test | 1.000 | .798 | indicator for whether the South Oaks Gambling Screen suggests that the person is a probable pathological gambler | 1.000 | .654 | Extraction Method: Principal Component Analysis. | Yes; the communalites are the same. Q2: Using unrotated solution, for the first factor, calculate extraction communalities from component matrix. Component......

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...However, when rupee depreciates it means our currency is getting weaker & its value is falling with respect to dollar. You can understand it with the following example: Suppose, currently, the exchange rate is Rs. 45 = $1, 10 months later, either of the following two cases can happen Case1: The exchange rate is say Rs. 40 = $1. This means rupee has appreciated or gotten stronger by approx 11% and you would be paying less to for a dollar Case2: The exchange rate is at Rs. 50 = $1. This means rupee has depreciated or gotten weaker by approx 11% and you end up paying more for a dollar. Factors Influencing rupee fluctuation Rupee’s appreciation or depreciation against the dollar depends on the change in demand and supply for both the currencies. If the demand for rupee is comparatively high, rupee appreciates; if low, it depreciates. The important question here is ‘what factors drive the demand for a currency?’ They are: * Interest Rate: A demand for a currency is hugely dependent on the interest rate differential between two countries. A country like India where int. rate is around 7-8% experiences greater capital inflow as investors get better return than what they might get in US. (with Interest rates of 2-3%). This results into rupee appreciation. * Inflation Rate: The demand for a country’s goods & services by the foreign buyers would be more if the inflation rate is lower in that country compared to other countries. Higher demand for goods &......

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...Cotabato Academy, Inc. In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirement for the Subject English IV by Jeison L. Omandam December 01, 2011 INTRODUCTION Political history is the description and analysis of significant political occasions, movements, thoughts, and leaders. Typically it is developed around the nation states. It is distinguished from but relevant to other areas of history such as economic history, social history, and military history. Usually, political history discusses events pertaining to nation-states and the political process in particular. As per Hegelian doctrine, Political History ‘is a perception of the state with a guiding force beyond the material benefits of its subjects: it meant that the state was the root factor of historical change’.  This differs with one, for example, social history, which predominantly discusses the events and lifestyles of common folks, or people’s history, that is historical account from the view point of a lay person. A study of political history typically centers on a single nation and its political change and aggrandizement. A few historians highlight the ever increasing drift toward confined specialization in political history over the course of recent decades: ‘wherein a college professor in the 1940s resorted to identify himself as a “historian”, by the 1950s “American historian” was the designation.’ Political history is, therefore, sometimes considered as more ‘traditional’ type of history, contrasting with so......

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