By Jeffery Griffin (junior-LA)
As a college athlete, you wish that your career lasted longer. And, as you head into your senior year, no doubt there's a lot of mixed emotions.
Recently, I got the chance to sit down for a conversation with fellow teammate and close friend Brandon Santana, the starting point guard and only current senior on the Penn State Worthington Scranton men's basketball team. Santana reflected on his years on the team and the realization that his college career will soon come to a close.
Q: Brandon, what is your major?
A: Letters arts and sciences with emphasis in psychology, social services and communications.
Q: What emotions do you have going into your senior year?
A: I'm excited, I'm ready. But I'm also kind of happy that it's my last and final year of organized basketball probably ever. After all I've been through with the sport, I'm just glad it's coming to an end and I have the opportunity to end it with a bang with some of my closest friends.
Q: Do you feel like the expectations are higher for you now that you are a senior on this team?
A: I do, not just because I'm a senior, but because I've been starting the point guard position for the last two years. My role was more as a facilitator for people to get involved. This year, I need to do a lot more than that, so yes it's definitely a lot bigger of a role than previous seasons.
Q: What are you going to miss most?
A: The thing I'm going to miss most is hands down my brothers, the friends I made when I first got to this school. The guys that when I came here this was their first year, too. I'm also going to miss all the stuff that comes with basketball. Not so much the practice or the games but during the practice acting silly and just having a good time. I'm going to miss that more than anything.
Q: What have you learned from your freshman year till now?
A: I've learned how to be a lot better of a student, learned how to study and prioritize off the court. On the court, I learned to be a leader; I've always been a leader in high school but in a college game it's a little different. I think I've grown a lot, especially in the last year.
Q: What inspires you to keep going?
A: My family -- growing up with all women and no men in my house. My mother, grandmother, twin sister and little sister all push me to achieve.
Q: What are your plans after this year is over?
A: After I graduate in May, I plan on going into the Air Force and going to nursing school while I'm in the Air Force. Hopefully with my college degree I'm able to go to officer school so I can help support my family while I'm gone.
Q: Do you have any advice for up-and-coming student athletes?
A: First and foremost, remember why you wanted to do this your whole life. We play this game -- and with every game it may be, it could be track, football or basketball -- we do this because its makes us happy and what we love to do. I played basketball as an outlet for stress, but I started playing it because I love the damn game. So have fun with everything you do, even the times where you don't think you should have fun, and enjoy it. Once it's gone, it's gone forever and, as grim as that sounds, you can always play street ball but you'll never get an organized team with your closest people all towards one goal again. So enjoy it!