5 reasons to be inspired by Missy Franklin

Missy.Franklin.5.2012

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Team USA Olympic gold-medalist swimmer Missy Franklin (that’s an accomplished mouthful if we’ve ever heard one), is becoming a Golden Bear this fall! That’s old news, of course, but we thought with the school semester fast approaching (what, we have to do homework again?!) you could use an extra boost of inspiration from her arrival.

1) She was 17 when she won. The 2012 London Olympics were held while the new Team USA member was still in high school. She was planning her senior year while simultaneously nabbing four gold medals with world-class athletes left, right and center (although while in the pool, just left and right). She wasn’t even of legal age yet! How many people can say they’ve achieved that much so early in life? Instead of making you feel hopelessly unaccomplished, this should give you hope and push you to strive for more. You don’t have to be a Cal alum to accomplish great things! You can start right now and make a name for yourself before you’ve even donned a cap and gown. The fact that you got accepted here and made the extremely wise decision of attending means you’re already on the right track.

2) She’s friends with cool people. That’s putting it mildly. She wasn’t alone when she was taking the world by storm last year with her performance. Her name is alongside Dana Vollmer’s and Natalie Coughlin’s — fellow Olympic medalists — on the national team roster. She cheered on Michael Phelps as he broke his own record … and he cheered her on right back as she launched her career. She’s probably already grabbed frozen yogurt with Nathan Adrian at Yogurt Park while she was visiting Berkeley for a campus tour. You could just be jealous of all this and sit around whining. Or you could take it as proof that if you work hard you can live it up with big shots while BEING a big shot yourself. Maybe one day your name will be tossed around with the likes of Donald Trump or even Obama! Aim high. You go to UC Berkeley — it isn’t much of a stretch.

3) She’s humble. While we don’t know Missy personally and are unfortunately not actually on first name terms with her (though we wouldn’t mind if she changed that!), from what we have seen, she’s a sweetheart. We at the Clog were able to meet the athlete when she was still a maybe-freshman-Cal-bear and visiting the school last year. She sat in on an ordinary English discussion, and when everyone went around the room introducing herself she just said her name and that she was checking out the school on a recruiting tour. She didn’t drop the word “medal” or “Olympics” once. Someone even had to ask her which sport she was recruiting for! Not only is she ridiculously tall (we felt like dwarves when she stood up), she remembers she’s a person just like us. Keep that in mind for when you make it big one day. You may be cool and all, but that doesn’t mean everyone should know it every time you open your mouth. Being humble will actually make you cooler.

4) She’s into school. Watch this interview, and you’ll see she doesn’t say Cal is lucky to have her or that she’s there only for the swim program. She talks about getting a degree, something we almost forget about when talking about her swim career and whether she’s going collegiate or pro. She says that academics are important to her and that regardless of her status as an athlete, she’ll be graduating from Cal, which is an accomplishment in and of itself! Even amid all the Olympic chatter, she’s been able to keep her perspective on education, and we think that’s extremely important. We’re lucky to be going here! While swimming is one of the things that opened the door to Cal for Missy, Cal is going to be opening a lot of doors for us in the future. Making it through all the challenges it throws at us is something we’ll have in common with champions like her.

5) She’s still not done. We’ve mentioned her Olympic medals three times already, but those aren’t the only ones she’s won. She’s taking home six gold medals from the world championships in Barcelona, adding to her already incredible record. But is she calling it quits and going back to her mansion to lord over all that metal? (Note: We exaggerate and don’t know what type of house she lives in, but a mansion would be cool). No, she says there’s still things she can work to improve. She’s planning out the rest of her career. She’s won countless races and had a career in the last few years most people can only dream of … and she’s just getting started! We can all do that. Don’t settle for something if you know you can do better. Test your abilities and push yourself to your absolute limits. Don’t go off the deep end (swimming pun!), but don’t sit on your butt all day waiting for things to happen to you. Take it from our incoming Golden Bear, reach for the stars and keep reaching!

We hope this has helped show you that Missy’s entrance to Cal means more than just a chance to see someone famous. That being said, we can’t promise the Spieker Aquatics Center will be free of people who “just happened to be in the area.” Adrian stalkers, you now have friends to conspire with!

Image source: JD Lasica under Creative Commons. 

Contact Erum Khan at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter @erumjkhan.