Written by James Johnson, a former Arkansas student-athlete. To read the full story, click here.
When I take time to reflect on my time as a student-athlete and the events since I graduated, there are so many memories and experiences that come flooding back. I realize that my time at the University of Arkansas as a Razorback shaped more of my life than I ever thought possible.
My career as a Hog was derailed a few times by injury. Multiple knee and shoulder surgeries made it difficult to consistently compete for playing time. It was a very frustrating time. The words of one of my coaches stuck with me, "You don't always get dealt a great hand in life, but you better make the most of the one you're dealt." Thankfully, I had a great support network around me. From family and friends, to the athletic training staff, to the academic advisors, and many more, I was able to continue to work towards my ultimate goal which was to graduate. In fact, I was able to focus my academic efforts into getting my Masters in Business Administration before I completed my career at Arkansas. The path wasn't always perfectly straight or easy, but with perseverance and the support of those around me I was able to achieve that dream and much more.
My time as a Razorback also helped me build lifelong friendships. Getting together with old teammates and other former student-athletes at Razorback games, reunions and other functions has been a great way to stay connected. The A Club, which is our former letterwinners club, has been a great way to keep in touch with former players and the University of Arkansas. The relationships I've built have benefited me both professionally and personally. The opportunity to network with other former student-athletes, coaches, and others who have gone on to success in so many areas has been an awesome experience and has opened so many doors for me.
If I could give some advice to current student-athletes, it would be to make the most of the amazing opportunities you have been given to set yourself up for success. The lessons you are learning now about life in general will stay with you forever. Build relationships and keep in touch with those people in your network, you never know when they could help you or you could help them. Lastly, enjoy your time as a Razorback; it goes by quicker than you think.