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 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