Posted on: June 29, 2021
Author: Jayden Thornhill, IACET Intern
Bringing the Competitive Mindset into the Classroom and Office image

“Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall don't turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.”

After finishing my freshman year at Virginia Tech and becoming an intern at IACET, I find myself having the same driven mindset at my desk and in the classroom as I had on the football field and basketball court. Although my first year at school was far from normal, the goal never changed. I had to adjust to the circumstances and improve my work ethic to accomplish my goals for the year.

 Staying locked in on finishing the year strong was not an easy task especially after deciding to take classes from home in the second semester. The long days and late nights of reviewing the various zoom lectures, taking quizzes, and trying to navigate through the numerous websites for each class became unnecessarily tedious, and was a handful on its own. Although this last year seemed like it was not as difficult as a normal year, it was very self-driven, and students had to be very disciplined. There was not much guidance since the majority of the classes were taught by an online program, not the professor themselves. This gave many students the illusion that they could get through the year without putting in the same amount of effort as they usually would during a regular school year. The consequence was students finishing the year with a lower GPA and/or having to retake courses in the summer.

 Whether I want to admit it or not, I’m growing up and feel like this last year was a wake up call. This is the first time I’ve had a real job and notice it’s very similar to playing a sport. Obviously, there are no grueling workouts or physical pain involved, but the mental aspect and roles of a team still apply. Being able to sit at your desk and get work done having to stare at a screen can be very draining but, the ability to push through to get everything done is a challenge that I am willing to accept everyday. The team here at the office has done a phenomenal job of making me feel included and are always willing to help. They do a great job of making the day-to-day operation seamless, and as I stated before, making the office a very inclusive environment. Everyone here is always positive and has been welcoming from day one. Even though I am not able to put the pads on or lace up my cleats anymore, I still strive to be the best that I can be at any given task. I look forward to working with my new team and giving them my all.

Sports Ideally teach discipline and commitment. They challenge you and build character for everything you do in life.

Howie Long, American Football Defensive End (Raiders, 1981-1993) and Sports Analyst

About the Author


Jayden Thornhill is a second year student at Virginia Tech and is pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting and Information Systems. He plans on completing his Master’s Degree as well and hopes to secure a job as a Financial Analyst. Jayden was a dual-sport athlete in high school, playing basketball and football, and hopes to become a member of the coaching staff for the Hokies basketball team this fall. In his spare time, Jayden enjoys watching sports, playing video games, and working out. 

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