My New Challenge: Back to School

By Blog, Guest Feature
The Rebound Blog: My New Challenges by Orlando Carrillo

The Rebound Blog Series: Orlando Carrillo

It wasn’t smooth sailing right after graduating with a bachelors from University of Texas at Arlington. I accomplished one of my main goals and it felt good, but that feeling quickly disappeared.

I needed to think about what my next move was going to be. I had three options: work, play basketball overseas or commit to grad school. After receiving my bachelor’s degree in May 2016, I received an academic scholarship for grad school, but I also had a job offer and a big shot at playing basketball overseas. After thinking about it for two months I choose to stay in school and get my Master’s degree. I didn’t want to turn down the scholarship opportunity and regret it in the future.

Orlando Carrillo Maffei UTA Movin Mavs

So I had a new challenge, and it was to expand my knowledge in construction management. I didn’t know anything about grad school, and my advisor made me take 3 core classes in my first semester. Classes started and they were interesting but very tough. In grad school, you must be resourceful, read a lot, and learn how to do things on your own. It was a lot of material and not having a solid work experience made things more challenging.

My midterms were frustrating because I studied for weeks and didn’t get the result I was expecting. I got one A and two C’s. I was used to putting in the work, and seeing the results but that’s not always how it works. Sometimes you don’t see the results right away, you must go through many obstacles to finally see them.

I thought about quitting on several occasions, but I told myself to keep going. Even though I consider myself as a strong-minded person, I had these self-doubts. I think we all do at times, and the secret is to keep trying and always give the best of you. As we like to say here at The Rebound, “It’s All About How You Rebound“.

 It's All About How You Rebound

To maintain this academic scholarship I was required to pass all courses with a B grade average or above. That put more pressure on me, but I knew I had to go till the end and find out what my grades were going to be after putting all my effort.

It was a long and stressful semester, many sleepless nights but it was all worth it. Finals came and I told myself, “This is it, do your best and be satisfied with the results.” I isolated myself from friends, family, social media and all distractions and mainly concentrated in my new challenge. I studied day and night, I had no social life for three weeks.

therebound-orlando-stage-quoteAt the end, I got the grades I was striving for after all. Even though I doubted myself on a few occasions, I kept going and I believed in myself as I continued working through the “final buzzer”. I didn’t get the results I wanted in the midterms but I killed it on my finals because I was persistent. I would have never known that I could bounce back from two C’s if I didn’t dedicate myself to the task.

So, I passed my first semester of grad school and that made me more confident for the second one. I might doubt myself again if I’m in an uncomfortable situation, because it’s natural to worry, especially under pressure. I will look back like I always do and recognize all the things I have accomplished, reminding me to never give up and I will continue to succeed yet again.

Orlando Carrillo is an athlete, coach, public speaker and graduate student at UTA. His story is featured in the award-winning documentary, The Rebound. Learn more about Orlando here.

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