There is nothing in my family background that suggested I would become a director of forensics, professor, and administrator. My mother and my father’s brother are the only persons in my family to earn a four-year degree. College, especially graduate school, was a rather foreign concept in my family. My father spent most of his professional life as a school janitor. He worked 7-5 most of his life, and I never heard him complain about his profession, how he was treated, or lack of vacation days. His work ethic, his pride, and his treatment of others is impeccable and admirable. When I was younger, he gave the best piece of advice I have ever received. “Your mom and I will not be able to give you riches, fancy vacations, or the latests gadgets. We can give you something money cannot buy, a last name to be proud of, and what you do with it is up to you.” 

I often reflect on these words when I am tired and wanting to take the path of least resistance. Think about that legacy you want to leave behind and how you want your coaches and peers to remember you. When you compete, you represent your school, every competitor from your school’s past who has come before you, your family, and yourself. Maybe your school’s forensics program is steeped in tradition, or perhaps you are the first student in your school’s history to qualify for the national tournament. Regardless, take pride in who you represent, and make everyone remember your name for the right reasons. Remember, your signature is on everything you do.