Sports Journalism Institute

Helping women and minorities get into newsrooms since 1993

Life isn’t all about the achievements

As I sat in the class room during Day 6 of SJI boot camp, I realized how important it was to remind myself of what that headline says. All of us in that room were either returning college students or recent graduates. We’ve been trained––brainwashed, really––to care all about the grades, the classes, the GPA.

But after listening to David Uthman, a managing editor at The Athletic, and Jesus Ortiz, sports columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, I realized that we are more than just our transcripts.

We live in a world where people all around us are suffering, grieving, trying to make ends meet. And as we work endlessly to make an impact each day and address these problems, there will always be more to explore and more to questions to answer.

But Thursday taught me that, to do such things, we don’t just need smart, capable thinkers with sharp minds, we also need people with open and full hearts.

So as I reflect on what this 26th Class of SJI has achieved, I don’t want to highlight the clips or the grades or the titles. I want to highlight my classmates, the people.

The people of SJI come from all walks of life, from all over the country and from dozens of nations. They speak many languages. They follow different religions or none, and vote for every political party.

They are the people who have embraced these differences, people who are compassionate, thoughtful, and willing to build bridges. They have taught me not to forget the value that we bring to the table as people of compassion and empathy, and to remember that our service is bigger than our ego.

It’s because of them–the speakers, students and alumni of SJI––that I am confident in our future. I hope that we are people who will be remembered for reminding others that life is bigger than our achievements, because life is about being good people.

–Alaa Abdeldaiem