Chris Mays is a University of Michigan student on a journey to find a place on the football team. Mays will be submitting “journals” discussing the trials and tribulations on his road to success, and will also update us on his progress. Remember to support Chris Mays on Twitter and to use the hash tag #MakeChrisMaysAVictor!
The Battle for Confidence
Throughout my journey and determination to get a second shot, I have run across a lot of encouragement and a lot of great words of advise from people on Twitter, Facebook, and in person. So much that I have barely enough time or the opportunity to thank each and every one of them. Through my videos, tweets, and status updates I have been given words of encouragement, testimony of never giving up, and words of support on how to approach the subject.
Yet, despite all of this, there is still a shadow behind me that I’ve never seemed to shake off me for most of my life, a part of me that grew over the years from a lot of negativity and lack of confidence–myself.
You see, there are times where I feel that I can be my best friend, but when it comes to doing something that I want to do, I can be my own worst critic and enemy. I used to get discouraged so much in a lot of what I did that even leaving high school I learned to “limit” myself or to criticize my own actions without the help of others. It was almost like I was destroying myself, and I knew it, but I just didn’t know how to get out of it.
Football was, and still is, definitely something that I have long wanted to pursue, but even at this point, I’ve let what others and my discouragement sometimes get in the way of being successful. I always fear that I was destined for failure, with no matter what I did. Everything that I seemed so great to desire would either be delayed or destroyed because of an event, circumstances that I couldn’t control, or words of discouragement. That continued to haunt me–especially in high school football. There were many times where after being discouraged by some players and I pressured myself into thinking that I couldn’t do it. It would get in my head sometimes during plays and drills so much that I would get headaches or couldn’t sleep. And on top of that, I saw others doing really well reaching their goals and pressing forward, but for me it always seemed like I was stuck in one zone and the only place that I was going was down, no matter how hard I worked.
There were very few moments where I found encouragement to keep pressuring forward to reach my goal–especially with applying to the University of Michigan. I can’t tell you how many times counselors told me not to apply to Michigan because I would get rejected. I had very good grades and a good GPA, but for some reason they thought that putting me down even on my education would help to brighten my future. This sense of hopelessness and giving up tormented me and depressed me a lot. But I did a rare act–I applied anyway. I wasn’t going to let anyone take my dream from me about going to the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. I had a life to live, and I wasn’t going to let someone dictate to me my destiny through way they saw me as. I worked on hard on my essays presenting every case for why I should be a Wolverine and why I would be an investment that they would never forget. I placed passion and hard work into those essays, so much that I began to enjoy the process. When I finally submitted the application, I almost immediately second guessed myself. Would they even care? Did I convince that I wasn’t just an ordinary student? Did I do everything perfect? Was I a well-rounded student?
I didn’t hear until May, right when I was about to accept going to Michigan State for freshman year that the University of Michigan came and knocked on my door. For once a dream that I had long wanted to chase seemed to be going on track. A dream or a goal that I worked hard to get into despite all of my struggles finally became a reality. I’m not going to lie–I did shed a few tears. I was so proud of myself. I had never had such a confidence or sense of worth in a very long time. Right that day I tore up my MSU acceptance letter, stored all my MSU gear away, and started preparing for the Summer Bridge program in June.
So you see, confidence and determination is something that I have always worked hard to present to everything that I do–especially in football. As I have continued this journey there have been times where I have thought about giving up and just accepting that my years of hard work “just weren’t meant to be”. It’s almost a never ending battle with me, even as I keep trying this up. But, I know now that if I continue at it and that if I maintain that determination, never letting someone take away my dignity or dream, that I can achieve anything. I know the odds are stacked against me, they were stacked against me almost every point of my life. But you know what, every since I’ve been going public about my dream, I’ve receieved so much confidence and self esteem to keep going and that my passion and determination for this sport will be eventually recognized. I used always have an “expect the worst, prepare for the best” attitude, now I expect nothing but greatness in this journey.
I’m going to be a success and I’m going to win this battle and stay on top of school. That’s why I’m giving all I’ve got, that’s why I’m giving all I have and putting it into this. I’m going to get there, no matter the odds, no matter what it takes. I’m going to get there.