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My work for The Roar as a student-athlete provides a unique lens into Clemson athletics. A recent conversation, however, burst my fluffy feel-good writing and positive podcast content bubble, pulling me up on how real my insight into the student-athlete experience has been. A gloss coat lathered over the surface layer.

The conversation regarding my content made me think about “whatever season you’re in—be that a season within a season of basketball or a season of life—lean into it” Amanda Butler my Head Coach had advised me early on in my Clemson career. In a later conversation with AB regarding leadership, she encouraged me to share knowing “there’s power in vulnerability because people respect and follow real.” In light of this, a serving of food for thought on the ‘quarter-ish life crisis’ I face knowing there are less days ahead of me as a student-athlete than there are behind me.

Regurgitating “I’ll let you know when I know” in response to “So what are you doing after graduation Hannah?” is a statement I have adopted to avoid the taxing x’s and o’s conversation senior student-athletes face. My brother told me he would just make something up for a laugh when people asked him and my dad’s words of wisdom weren’t far off— “bs baffles brains”. Hopefully, you can appreciate the Aussie sarcasm in their advice. We are nationally notorious for using to make light of heavy questions and situations.

I hope this helps another senior student-athlete feel seen navigating the end of our college athlete era. Truly, we are all in the same boat. That row boat with but one oar. The other probably fell out earlier when we were preoccupied working on the demoralizing leak in the bottom of the boat. The oar now drifting out of sight across the ocean surface. Leaving us meandering in the abyss of the life we know now and the unknown of our future.

Terrifying. Yes. Do I have the answer? No.

Much like the question “So what are you doing after graduation Hannah?” I can’t tell you how everything will pan out. I am grappling with making peace with this unknown and appreciating the beauty in not knowing. Something reminiscent of the feeling when I hopped on the plane solo at 18 not knowing what life in America would look like playing college ball for the Tigers.

So never let people know your next move or shout your goals from the highest hill in Clemson—only to potentially suffer the ego-crushing blow of doing something else. Shocker. Honestly though, big whoop. One of the biggest takeaways from my Clemson experience is that even for the days I felt like launching my remaining oar 10 meters from the boat in a temper tantrum and jumping off the other side of the boat curled up into the fetal position– I am happy I came. I am grateful I gave this American gig a go rather than sitting at home too scared to go for it because I might fail.

Between you and I, I’m trusting that if my daily habits are in line with my goals for the future I should be a—o—k . My mum’s advice is always “Things have a way of working themselves out, exactly how they’re meant to.” Mums are always right anyways.

As always, much love Tigs,

Hannah Hank

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