Emerging Adulthood

Have you left adolescence but don’t feel like a fully functioning adult just yet? Are you currently in college, about to graduate, or are a recent graduate? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then this blog post is for you.

During my time in college I have learned a lot. I’ve learned how to market myself to obtain jobs, I’ve mastered the ability to connect with people of diverse backgrounds, I’ve gained a lot of knowledge through my degree program and I’ve learned a ton about myself overall. However, it wasn’t until last weekend that I learned something in my courses, specifically my Psychology of Adjustment course, that connected with me so personally. Lately I have been battling a lot of emotions and feelings underneath the surface in terms of the stage of life that I find myself in. I am 22 years old, about to graduate college and I am gearing towards the next step of life: adulthood. However, I’ve discovered that I’m not officially in the stage of adulthood, but somewhere in between adolescence and adulthood. All of this being said, I have found that these feelings are quite normal and that there is actually a theory behind the stage of life before complete adulthood. That theory is the Theory of Emerging Adulthood by Jeffrey Jensen Arnett. Arnett found that emerging adults exhibit five features: The Age of Identity Exploration, the Age of Instability, the Age of Self-focus, the Age of Feeling In Between, and the Age of Possibilities. Each of these features plays a part in emerging adults’ lives and exhibits similarities that we all face as emerging adults. Down below are my findings regarding the five features of Emerging Adulthood as well as my personal relations to each.

Age of Identity Exploration: In this feature young adults are deciding who they are and what they desire out of school, work, and love. They try out many different possibilities in life and the combination of all of these attempted possibilities begins to shape their overall identity.

My Age of Identity Exploration: There are less than three weeks left until I walk across the stage to receive my degree in front of my friends and family at my graduation. After every class session I feel closer to the end of college and the “real world” seems ever so near. Soon I will have to get a job and start saving up to support myself. That being said, I have finally begun to seriously explore the possibilities for my life. I know that each decision that I make for after graduation will have long-lasting impacts and that I will have to live with those decisions. I have been interviewing for a variety of jobs in locations around the United States and the world, exploring romantic interests, and mapping out what each of these paths would look like if put into play. Aside from planning out my future, I’ve also been analyzing my past. I’ve been looking into how I have changed from the beginning of my college experience to the end of it. I started my journey at a Christian university, then transferred to Coastal Georgia for tennis, almost transferred again for soccer, stayed put for a year by getting involved on campus, and eventually studied abroad in the Czech Republic. I want to discover how I have changed overall through college by answering questions like: What are my passions now? What values do I hold? What do I desire out of life? I’m exploring my identity to discover who I am now and who I want to be in the future.

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How have you changed over the years?

Age of Instability: Young adults also face a lot of instability in romance and living situations. They develop romantic relationships and end them often. They also move around a lot after graduation, in between jobs, and so on. Life is a roller coaster of events in this stage and it is filled with heaps of instability.

My Age of Instability: I have also been experiencing a lot of instability in the last couple of years. I began my freshman year of college in a committed relationship and focused solely on the “apple of my eye”. However, by the end of my freshman year we ended things. After that relationship I occasionally went on dates with girls, but I found it more worthwhile to focus on myself. I wanted to pursue my own passions and desired to get to know myself better for a change. After choosing to focus on myself I have since transferred colleges, worked summer jobs around the country, studied abroad in the Czech Republic, and am currently looking for a full-time job upon graduation. It’s like I can’t stay still in life! I honestly love it though because it keeps things exciting. However, this constant instability has caused problems in developing long-term relationships. I can be so focused on my own aspirations that I tend to neglect to spend time with my friends. To make things worse, I always find myself in new locations. This is great in terms of getting out into the world and exploring different ways of life, but it is damaging in terms of remaining close with the friends that I do make. I’ve found that spending quality time in person always beats a phone call. I would however like to say thank you to the friends who have stuck by my side through all of my journeys!

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I appreciate all of you more than you know.

Age of Self-Focus: In this stage of emerging adulthood young adults find themselves in between their reliance on parental support and long-term commitments like marriage and work. They take this time to fully develop themselves and their lives in terms of what direction they want to take, where they want to work, who they want to be with romantically, and where they want to be in the future.

My Age of Self-Focus: At this very moment I feel like I am starting to establish an independent lifestyle but have not completely attained one as of yet. This can be illustrated by my decrease in reliance on parental financial support. For example, my dad told me earlier this week that I will no longer be on the family health insurance plan and need to support myself in that. Little things like this that I have taken for granted my whole life are going drop off one by one as I learn to look after myself. My parents however have been incredible by providing for my needs while simultaneously pushing me towards self-reliance. I also am not fully developed when it comes to the areas of romance and careers either. I am not married yet nor do I have a long-term career. I am in pursuit of these goals but am also working on developing myself both personally and professionally at the same time.

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Never stop growing.

Age of Feeling In-Between: Most emerging adults feel like they are starting to take responsibility for themselves and become functioning adults but are also feel like adolescents in a way. They know that they are in a transitional stage of life and are working towards full adulthood while letting go of adolescent feelings along the way.

My Age of Feeling In-Between: I currently feel in between adolescence and full adulthood. I feel childlike in some aspects of life and adult like in others. It’s hard to let go of the feelings of adolescence and the lack of responsibility. At the same time, I know that it is necessary to evolve, adapt, and develop to become the man that I am meant to be. On my way to becoming a well-rounded adult I will need to experience many more learning lessons, seek guidance from my elders, and mature exponentially. I know that I am not there yet; I don’t know everything and I am conscious of the flaws that I possess. However, I am optimistic in my ability to grow and my future as a whole.

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Growing up one day at a time…

Age of Possibilities: Emerging adults are full of optimism and excitement for the future. They believe at their core that they can achieve their dreams and live a quality life. They have not tested their dreams in the real world yet but are hopeful in accomplishing them. The world is at their fingertips and the possibilities are endless.

My Age of Possibilities: This is probably the most relevant feature for me. Anytime that someone asks me if I’m nervous about graduating and finding a job I respond in an optimistic manner. I’ll say something like “I’m not worried about finding a job because there are so many options out there!”. And it is true. In this day in age the possibilities for work are endless. It’s not a question of if you will find work but what work you will find. I possess a mindset of excitement because there are so many awesome routes to pursue in terms of work and location. I am so incredibly optimistic for my future and am a major dreamer who believes that anything is possible. The possibilities truly feel endless right now and I am determined to create the best life for myself that I can.

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What path will you pursue?

So, I would like to know: What are your thoughts on Arnett’s Concept of Emerging Adulthood and how do you relate to its components? I look forward to reading your responses! Also, please subscribe via email to be notified when I post something new. I would really appreciate it if you did!

Study Abroad in Brno, Czech Republic

From a Dream to a Reality 

Ever since I transferred to the College of Coastal Georgia and met our small, yet diverse group of international students, I knew that I wanted to study abroad. It took me a long time to find the right program and save up but eventually I was able to figure things out. Now Coastal does have a variety of study abroad programs, but we do not have any semester long programs besides one that gives students the opportunity to study in Athens, Greece. Most of our programs are summer programs that are expensive and don’t last for more than a few weeks. However, we do partner with other University of Georgia institutions and students can take advantage of their study abroad programs as transient students. This is fantastic because it gives students the opportunity to study through the International Student Exchange Program, a program that has hundreds of partner universities around the world. This program allows students to pay their home university tuition, room and board and makes study abroad for an American very affordable. Through the ISEP program I applied for and was placed at Masaryk University in Brno, Czech Republic. I chose this university because the ratings were fantastic, it is located in the heart of Europe, and the Czech Republic is very cheap, so you get the best bang for your buck. The ISEP program is not for those who want a structured study abroad with a few select professors and students. This program was used as a gateway for me to enter a student exchange to where I got to choose my own courses, spend my free time as I wished, and immerse myself in a culture with eight hundred other exchange students.

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Brno, Czech Republic

University Life

I entered the Czech Republic alone and not knowing the language but came out of it with incredible friends, once in a lifetime experiences, and memories to preserve a love for Europe for the rest of my life. While at Masaryk I used the electives that I saved up to take courses that would give me the most unique experience. My courses ranged from Intercultural Communication, to Czech Life and Culture, and I even took a Current Events course with a classroom full of mostly Czech students. All in all I took six courses, but they were worth my time as I walked away with outstanding knowledge and memories. Masaryk University also did an awesome job of creating events for the foreign exchange students that were engaging. Every week there was a pub quiz night, an international dinner with three different country presentations, and awesome after parties at partner clubs around the city. They also organized trips around the Czech Republic for cheap prices so that the foreign students would have the opportunity to become fully immersed in the Czech culture. Each week there was something new and exciting to look forward to outside of classes. These events also helped me to make the best friends I’ve ever made.

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The Úvoz Tram that I Took to Many of My Classes

Friendships

Everyone in the exchange program was from all over the world and brought unique qualities to the table. One quality that everyone exhibited however was that of friendliness. All eight hundred or so of us exchange students were a family. We all looked after one another, celebrated each other’s cultures, and made sure that everyone was having the time of their life. Although my study abroad program is over, I know that I can reach out to anyone from it with the assurance of a friendly conversation and an invitation to visit them in their country whenever. With these great people came great experiences too. We had so many nights that involved cooking together, smoking shisha, going to the clubs, ice skating, playing laser game, and traveling of course.

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Photo of Me and some Friends Entering the Club (Credits: Oh my Brno!)

Travel Outside of the Czech Republic

I was able to make an abundance of memories while traveling with my friends outside of Brno too. We traveled to and took on the thermal spas of Budapest, the coffee shops of Vienna, the history of Krakow, the Christmas markets of Prague, and many other wonderful places. Each of these trips brought new life into our study abroad and memories that would last forever. They were all incredibly cheap trips too as Brno is in the center of Europe with cheap transportation via train and bus.

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Christmas Markets of Vienna, Austria

Variety of Cultural Experiences

While on my study abroad I was able to take part in many different cultural experiences. Each Wednesday night I would attend the country presentations that the Erasmus Student Network would host at the Faculty of Economics. At the country presentations we would get to try traditional food and drinks from other countries, watch their fun presentations, and party at the clubs afterwards. These always gave us new cultures to learn about and exciting nightlife to look forward to in the middle of the week. I also became an honorary French person. My roommate Florian was from France and so were his (our) friends Theo and Adel. I can remember so many times cooking dinner with them, smoking shisha, drinking, clubbing, traveling, and embarrassing myself by speaking the dirty French that they taught me to their friends who visited. The time that I experienced German culture was particularly interesting. Me and my friends Arndt (German), Alonso (Costa Rican), and Ali (Mexican) traveled to Bratislava, Slovakia to play in a Headis tournament. Headis is a sport that is a mix of table tennis and the heading of a rubber ball. It looks very weird but is unusually fun. In Bratislava we competed with about one hundred other Headis players (most of which were German) and partied the night away before sleeping on the gym floor. The next day, after the European Cup of Headis in Brno, we took advantage of the free tickets for a beer tram that we got for competing in the Bratislava tournamentThe beer tram was a tram run by the Starobrno Brewery that consisted of a ride around Brno and unlimited beer. The only things that I can remember from the tram were all of the Germans drinking ridiculous amounts of beer and singing traditional German songs. It was an amazing night of course.

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Headis Tournament in Bratislava, Slovakia

Experiencing Czech Culture

I also was fortunate enough to explore the Czech Republic with fellow exchange students while alongside our amazing Czech friends. They toured us around their cities, welcomed us into their homes, and taught us all about Czech culture. My favorite trips within the Czech Republic were the traditional wine festival in Znojmo, a road trip with my friend Lucie to Český Krumlov, and Christmas in Znojmo with my friend Zuzka and her family. The wine festival in Znojmo consisted of ridiculous amounts of Burčák (young, unfermented wine), exploring Czech history, taking on the rides at the fair (while drunk of course), and nonstop laughter. The road trip that Lucie and I made to Český Krumlov was also awesome. We drove three hours to get there and hit up all of the cool cities on the way. Once we got there we battled the masses of Asian tourists (we were in the right place weren’t we now Lucie?), took some sweet pictures with sombreros (we met a nice family from Mexico), and explored the city the best that we could. That night we stayed in an Airbnb that had a cool Bluetooth speaker built into the bathroom light and felt like a hotel. The next day we drove back to Brno and on the way we visited the coolest castle in Lednice, accidentally drove through Austria (I had left my passport back at the dorms so it was a bit scary), and had great conversations along the way. Christmas in Znojmo was particularly special as my friend’s family welcomed me to spend the holidays with them. The coolest part was that besides my friend Zuzka and her little brother Mates, the rest of her family did not speak any English. This was nerve racking at first because I thought that it would be really awkward and would have to rely on Zuzka’s translations the entire time. However, we all adapted and were able to get our thoughts across eventually. It did help though that I grew close with her brother Mates and that both him and Zuzka translated for us all. The amazing thing is that by the end of the week I had picked up a lot of Czech and Zuzka’s family had picked up a good bit of English. Her family treated me as one of their own by giving me a bed to sleep in, feeding me, including me in their Czech Christmas traditions, and even buying me presents for Christmas. Imagine being the only American at a dinner table with your Czech friend’s siblings, parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents. The questions that I got were quite something. It was the best Christmas of my life and I will be forever thankful to Zuzka and her family. Hell, I even walked away as a part of their family (they gave me a pen engraved with “Joshua Koszalkowski-Vojtěch”). All jokes aside, I truly have a place in my heart for their family and will always remember them.

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My Czech Family in Znojmo, Czech Republic

The Sad but Eventual End

After returning to Brno from Christmas in Znojmo I was able to spend New Years with all of my student exchange friends and say my goodbyes. Most of them did not feel difficult as the fact of me leaving did not hit me until the last night. However, on the last night I couldn’t fall asleep until 4:00 am and I kept my friend Lucie up as she had to talk me through the emotions that were suddenly hitting me. The best experience of my life was coming to an end and I was realizing that I would never see most of these incredible people again. After saying actual heartfelt goodbyes (we were bawling) to my friends Lucie and Zuzka, I got on a bus and traveled for a week through Germany and Belgium. I then flew straight back to my university and battled through jet lag to start classes a day later. Study abroad in the Czech Republic was unlike any other experience that I’ve ever had. I entered the semester-long experience not knowing what to expect and departed feeling completely fulfilled. I will never forget my study abroad, the people that I met, and the memories that we made. I love you all! 

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The End of an Era

4 Ways to Make the Most of your Study Abroad

My time spent abroad in the Czech Republic has been an experience that I will never forget. Here are four ways that to make your study abroad one that you will always  remember. Enjoy!

1. Be Open Minded
You are in a foreign country with foreign customs, foods, and ways of life. Will you look at these new realities with fear or excitement? If you face this situation with fear, you will probably despise your study abroad experience. However, if you face it with excitement and interest, then the experience could very well be the best one of your life. Things will no doubt be different from what you are used to, but with the right mindset you can walk away appreciating those differences. Be open minded while abroad because you never know where it will lead you.20180927_200843
A hockey game in the Czech Republic is always a good idea.

2. Become Social
At your home university are you a social butterfly or the type to keep to yourself? However social you see yourself as at home cast it aside and focus on the here and now. You came abroad to have new experiences, but where do those new experiences start? That’s right. With new people. By meeting new people you will learn about different cultures, have others to survive the semester with, as well as have others to travel with. The more people you meet the more you will enjoy your time abroad. Put yourself out there, meet new people, and let the adventure begin!20180911_160637
Study abroad allows you to meet people from all over the world.

3. Get to Know Your Host Culture
Getting to know the host culture of the country you are studying abroad is an essential part of your experience. It can help you to view your everyday surroundings with admiration rather than disdain. The more time you spend actively learning about your host country’s culture and appreciating it, the less time you will spend desiring to leave it. You chose this country for a reason, now it’s time to back that reason up by gathering some new and fascinating knowledge. Take advantage of your surroundings and learn to appreciate them, you won’t regret it. 20181020_161331
Beer is a major part of life in the Czech Republic; It is cheap and each one is unique!

4. Remember Why You are Here
We all embarked on our study abroad journeys with different goals and aspirations. Maybe you came here to get to know the culture? Or maybe you came here just to party? Did you come mostly for studies? How about to travel to the surrounding countries? Whatever your reasoning for studying abroad was, make sure you give it some good thought while you are actually here. Our motives for coming to these foreign countries should hold much importance to us because they are what brought us here in the first place. You may also discover new reasons to why you are happy you came abroad as well. These are great. Hold on to them. By the end of your study abroad experience you should be able to reflect on why you came abroad and speak of how that changed as the semester progressed. You will be surprised by the things that became most valuable to you by the conclusion of your time abroad. Studying abroad will challenge you in many ways but keeping in mind why you came here will help you to keep your focus on the important things. 20181002_124524
We all came abroad for different reasons. What are yours?

Post 2: Do What You Love Part 2

After getting to know the international athletes on my hall at Lee University I ached to travel. I wanted to get out into the world and experience different ways of life and incredible destinations. The South had become old to me and I felt that it was about time to step outside of it. Fortunately enough, my parents took me on one last vacation with just the three of us the summer between my freshman and sophomore year of college. We traveled to Boston, Massachusetts, and Acadia National Park in Maine. Acadia National Park was absolutely stunning, but our two days in Boston had the biggest impact on me. The city was so incredibly different than anywhere that I had ever been. The thing that stuck out to me most however was the convergence of cultures. People from all over the world were touring Boston that summer. Every couple of steps I heard a different language being spoken. I so badly wanted to interact with each person and hear their story, but my parents had an agenda planned out, so we had to push on. Also, I remember gaping at so many beautiful international girls. That probably drove my mother crazy because I pointed them out quite often. All in all, the trip inspired me to travel even more. I mean, if my laptop screensaver is still a picture of Boston two years later it must have been an amazing experience, right?

Below: My Boston laptop screensaver

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I started my sophomore year of college at my current school: The College of Coastal Georgia. The week before classes started I attended the international orientation; I figured that since the internationals at Lee University were so cool that the international students at Coastal would be too. That turned out to be a wonderful decision. At this orientation I met who would become my two best friends at the college that year: Louis and Karina. Louis was attending Coastal from Haiti while Karina was from Brazil and attending the college as an exchange student. After the orientation we were sent to our dorms to officially move in. I had connected with Louis so quickly that when I found out that one of my roommates to be had transferred I messaged him immediately. He felt the same way about me too because he happily accepted the invitation to become roommates. I was exposed to many cultural differences through my friendships with Louis and Karina. They taught me about their home languages, foods from their countries, how to properly dance, how relationships worked in their cultures, about varied music, and so much more. The more that they taught me about their home cultures the more I wanted to check them out for myself. The three of us were inseparable and emitted an abundance of confidence wherever we went. We certainly stuck out on campus amidst the hordes of Southerners. Who would have thought that an American, a Brazilian, and a Haitian would become such close friends? These amazing friends helped me to discover so much about myself and I am incredibly thankful to have met them. They also inspired me even more to get out into the world and explore. After becoming so close with them my sophomore year of college I found that I not only desired to travel, but I also desired to become an international student myself.

Below: Karina, Louis and I has we head off to be tourists for the day.

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Upon discovering that I wanted the experience of studying as an international student, I figured that I should start by traveling domestically. I found that I shouldn’t just travel to another place in my country, but that I should also work and live there for a little while on my own as well. I felt like it was necessary to learn how to live on my own for a few months to see if I could really handle change. So, I got a job as a camp counselor at Mountain Camp the summer between my sophomore and junior year. Mountain Camp is a traditional co-ed camp for kids nestled in the Eldorado National Forest in Northern California. The camp is a truly unique place where kids have the freedom grow, make new friends, and pursue new interests in a safe and beautiful setting. I had a wonderful experience working at the camp, but it was also very trying for me for a few reasons: I was living on the other side of the country without my family and friends, I had to quickly learn how to look after myself in a foreign environment, and the job itself was surprisingly straining. By the end of the summer though I was extremely satisfied with the experience. Through the camp counselor experience I learned a lot about myself, I made a positive impact on the kids and was positively impacted by them, saved up some decent money, and made friends with counselors from all over the world. I also got a lot of great advice from fellow counselors about how to travel properly, living in another culture, and preparing for the study abroad process. My experience at Mountain Camp gave me a fantastic foundation to pull from in preparation for future travel.

Below: Me with my co counselor and best friend Stephen at Mountain Camp

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This last year of college, my junior year, has been about setting myself up for a student exchange experience. I’ve taken the advice from all the international friends that I have made and the International Education Department at the College of Coastal Georgia and capitalized on it. I worked a good bit this last year and saved up proper funds to help cover the student exchange experience and the extra fees associated with it. Through the process of setting myself up to go abroad I’ve had to find out the best location for me to study in, the right organization to work with, how to get a passport, how to apply for a student visa, and how to find the best plane tickets to purchase. After having finished my junior year strong I am very close to manifesting my dreams into a reality. I’ve been accepted into a student exchange program for a semester in the Czech Republic, I have jobs in New York City and California set up for this summer to aid with preparations, and I have amazing people in my life to draw help from when I need. I’ve discovered that I love to travel and that I long to become an international student. It is happening. I’m Doing What I Love and I’m damn proud of it.

Embrace the freedom of Doing What You Love to do! Each of us have passions that we desire to pursue and it’s our responsibility to go after them wholeheartedly. Once you put your heart into doing what you love anything is possible, and by choosing to ACT NOW on your passions you are giving yourself the best chance to attain your exactly what you desire. So, get out of your comfort zone. Comfort is so deceiving because it tricks us into thinking that we are satisfied where we are at in life. It attempts to assure us that doing what we like is satisfying enough, but mere satisfaction with our lives gets old. Comfort really just holds us back from attaining true joy. It instills into us the fear that if we try to go for more we will ultimately regret it. That is completely false. If we remain only comfortable and satisfied, we will be selling ourselves short. It is worth the sacrifice to leave comfort behind and go for what you love. The dream of doing what you love can become a reality, you just need to take a leap of faith and put the work in!

 

 

 

Post 2: Do What You Love Series Part One

My first year of college I attended Lee University; it is a private Christian University consisting of about 5,000 students nestled in the mountains in Tennessee. Lee University offers outstanding academics and has one of the most beautiful campuses that I have ever been on. The atmosphere there is absolutely electric, and the people are extremely nice. On a surface level the university seems flawless. However, life at Lee is not as perfect as one is lead to believe, and as with every university it has its flaws. Most of my “Life at Lee” consisted of dating the same girl, taking religion classes, going to chapel, participating in intramural sports, and ultimately staying inside an innocent little bubble. The culture there constituted that we were to only think in a Christian worldview. The endless required chapel sessions, religion classes, and recommended Monday night small group gatherings did not give one the opportunity to break through the bubble that encompassed the campus. Now things were nice and peachy if you were a dedicated Christian, but what about the people that attended the school who were not religious? They were, and probably still are, treated as outcasts. This happened to be the case for a lot of the international student athletes that I met. The fact that they were not “believers” caused others to avoid them in many regards, but it also caused them to form tight knit groups. They were only at Lee because they had been offered athletic scholarships to compete for the university. Apparently though, the coaches had not taken the time to explain how different the school was compared to most other American colleges when recruiting their athletes. The student athletes, especially the ones from abroad, envisioned their college experience to be full of parties and new experiences. However, when they arrived on campus they were met by a whole new reality: the college that they were recruited to is hardcore Christian. The combination of studying in a foreign place and being surrounded by religion can cause some hard-hitting culture shock. This being said, most of the international student athletes on campus tended to stick together and be rowdy. They would openly state how they thought Christianity was stupid and this offended a lot of people at the university. I don’t blame them though because if I was in there shoes I would have acted out as well. The international athletes were surprisingly cool guys though if you got passed the whole “they’re not religious” thing. They had a lot to offer, one just had to be willing to hear them out.

Below: A snowy day at Lee University with the flame still burning strong.

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I was a strong Christian for most of my time spent at Lee University, and with my Christian views at the helm I put up relational barriers towards the international athletes that I met. They came across as a threat to my faith because they openly disagreed with the foundations that I was raised on. It scared me to hear their points of view for some reason. Maybe I was afraid that I would actually agree with their viewpoints, or maybe I was just afraid of being judged by other Christian students at the University for associating with them. What I do know is that I am grateful for getting to know some of them in the end.

At the conclusion of my freshman year at Lee University I connected with the international students on my hall. They were all student athletes who came from many different backgrounds. Their stories were the complete opposite of mine: they hailed from all over the world, they were all collegiate athletes, and none of them were remotely religious. Each difference that they exemplified was something that I wanted to explore. I desired to travel outside of the South and see the great big world, I was currently working my ass off to become a collegiate tennis player, and I was starting to fall off the whole religion train that I had been on my entire life. I got to know them my last few weeks at Lee University because I finally decided to let my barriers down. It was one of the best decisions that I could have made.

Below: Me with Eirik (A former tennis player at Lee from Norway on my hall) after he accidentally hit me in the nose with the cue ball.

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My last few weeks at Lee University were extremely eye-opening as I began to spend quality time with the international athletes on my hall. Hanging out with the international athletes from my hall allowed me to see the University from the other side and I got a glimpse of the underlying counterculture that existed at the school. This culture consisted of parties, speaking one’s mind, having fun, and ultimately being free to explore new possibilities. So, I began to try new things; I started to view the school from a “worldly view” rather than a Christian one, listened to new outlooks on life, met new people, talked to new girls, and even attended a party or two. It was exhilarating to explore this new way of life towards the end of my freshman year. The international athletes on my hall gave me new perspectives on how to view the world, taught me about their cultures, introduced me to their native languages, exposed me to incredible music, and most importantly sparked in me the desire to travel. I had been introduced to many different cultures and I was thirsty to know more about everything else that awaited me in the great big world. I desired to travel and see amazing places with my own two eyes. It turned out that traveling would become a present-day example of me Doing What I Love.

Be on the lookout for part two coming soon!

Sincerely,

Captain Kosz

Post 1: Do What You Love Series

Have you ever heard the phrase “Do what you love”? When I was younger these words caused me to spring into action. I remember pondering on this phrase for a bit before finally dropping the sport that drained me and picking up the sport that gave my adolescent self life. I kicked soccer out of my life so that I could cause a racquet in tennis. It was a tough decision for me to make at the time because I was so good at soccer. At the age of 14 I was the starting goalkeeper for my club’s top team, I had just previously gone through a year of training with the Georgia Olympic Development Program, and I was in my best form. However, my heart was not in it. The combination of burnout, continual pressure from coaches, and discovering my love for tennis had caused me to fall out of love with the sport of soccer. So, when tryout time came for spring sports at my high school, I stunned everyone around me by choosing to tryout for the tennis team instead of soccer. All my coaches, teammates, friends, and family were taken aback by this decision. The coaches reminded me of my talent in soccer while my father reminded me of all the money and time that he had poured into my training, but I would not budge on my decision. With soccer I felt too much pressure but with tennis I felt complete freedom. I was free to suck at tennis because I quite frankly had no reputation to uphold. By playing the sport of tennis I did not have to hold the team on my back by protecting the goal and I certainly did not have past successes placing pressure on me.

Below: Picture of me my junior year on the pitch at the College of Coastal Georgia.

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The sport of tennis gave me the opportunity to start anew. I fell in love with tennis and the way I felt every time I stepped foot on the court. I loved how I was responsible for my shit and my shit only. I loved the intensity that arose in me with each and every point that I played. Whether I became successful or not was up to me, and it felt good to start from the bottom. By starting at the bottom, I was also able to create my own style of play. I learned to play tennis with two forehands, which was very unusual. Sure, I got criticized by seasoned veterans in the sport for not having a backhand, but I also turned a hell of a lot of heads. People were intrigued by my style of play because it was so different from the norm. The attention that I got by doing my OWN thing was amazing. Also, it just felt amazing to do what I loved in a way that was unique to me. Starting anew by doing what you love gives you this wonderful opportunity to be creative. You have this unique freedom to express yourself however you desire to and that is what makes doing what you love so very worth it. Now I did not turn out to be a professional athlete by any means because, well, that would be too good to be true. I did however get some college offers which eventually lead me to transfer to the college that I attend today.

Below: Picture of me the summer after my freshman year of college when I got offered a spot on the College of Coastal Georgia’s Men’s Tennis Team.

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I was able to get a taste of how life should be by choosing to do what I loved rather than sticking with what I was good at because it was familiar. I discovered a sense of freedom in doing what I loved and found myself along the way. I found that life should be about pursuing the things that you love, even if you are not sure that they will turn out the way you expect them to. Choosing to do what you love at least gives you the opportunity to pursue the future that you dream about. Doing what works at a given moment will get you by but doing what you love will energize you to chase your dreams. Don’t just do what works for you, do whatever it is that you love to do.

I am happy to say that I have picked up the sport of soccer again and that I very much enjoy it now. I play on my college’s club team and have some awesome teammates that I consider family. In fact, some of those very teammates helped to re-energize my passion for the sport. Tennis is also still a part of my life, but it is not my sole focus anymore. I enjoy tennis more as a spectator now and occasionally pick up the racquet when I am feeling keen. Moving onward I will continue to do what I love in the sports realm as well as in the rest of my life.

Look out for the next post of this series coming soon.

Sincerely,

Captain Kosz

 

 

 

Breathe

20180427_202747It is a Friday night. I find myself stuck playing video games in the living room while waiting for plans to pick up so that I can be “social”. I am scrolling through new song releases between games when I stumble across an album. The album is titled Human by Steve Angello. Human tossed just one song in my direction and I became hooked. I dropped my controller and became one myself as the music took control over me. The music moved me towards my headphones and I put them on and slid under the covers. My eyelids sealed themselves shut and would not open until I received a message. I could not immediately decipher this message, so I had to listen to the tracks until I could find it. As the album took its course I learned to follow it, as if it were drawn out inside my mind. My imagination then took hold; I began picturing the instruments being played by the very artists that held them. Every song lead to a different destination, but every song gave me the same sensations. The sensations that cascaded over me were those of relief and joy. This was the first time in a long time that I had truly listened to music without preoccupying myself in the process. It was only for a moment that I felt these amazing sensations, but I will never forget them. The sensations lead to the intended message, and it was clear: I needed to simply breathe.

 
So often in life I find myself constantly busy because I thrust myself into overdrive with my dreams and ambitions. In between working towards my dreams and partaking in healthy activities I fill my time scrolling through social media, playing video games, and watching Netflix. I’m not trying to say that any of these things are bad, but I would like to point out that we as people often over indulge in these silly pastimes. We seem to forget to take time to close our eyes and just exhale. Every human needs time to unwind and find something that truly relaxes them. Each of us needs to take a moment out our day to really think, rather than filling in the gaps of time with meaningless distractions. I have found that certain music draws me out of my everyday routine and into the instrumentals. By listening to this music in a controlled environment my creative tendencies come to life and I start to think critically. My mind goes from running on autopilot to being piloted by a greater train of thought. I have discovered an outlet that lets me plug in and power my own imaginative thinking. This outlet allows me to exhale the bullshit that drains me and inhale the fresh ideas that bring me to life. I have found my outlet, now it is your turn. What is it that allows you to breathe? Is it music? Could it be venturing out into nature? How about taking only a few minutes to meditate? Whatever your way of “breathing” may be, make sure that you set aside some time for it. You will thank yourself for doing so.

Sincerely,
Captain Kosz

Just Some Thoughts…Introduction

 

flameHi everyone! My name is Josh Koszalkowski and I am currently a junior at the College of Coastal Georgia. This year I have been more real with myself and with others than I ever have been. That being said, I want to start a blog to share some of my thoughts and experiences on aspects of my life and life in general. This blog will inspire some people, offend others, and ultimately leave one with new perspective on each subject.

I am new to the world of blogging and I can almost guarantee that  my writing will not be perfect. This is simply a platform for me to spill my thoughts onto. My name on here will be Captain Kosz. Kosz is a nickname that I acquired last year at Coastal, and Captain signifies that we are all the captain’s of our own destinies.

I hope that you all will get something good out of my posts and that they will expand your views on different subjects. Some of my posts will be quite personal, so please do keep that in mind when scrolling through them.

Well, it is time for me to burn my own path. Remember: Don’t get Offended, Look for the Meaning that’s Intended.

Cheers,
Captain Kosz