"MENtal health is something that I have valued for a while. Growing up, my competitive nature drove me to push the limits constantly. This intensity helped me to excel as an athlete, but it becomes unhealthy fast if you aren't aware of how you're handling that self-inflicted pressure. I can remember times, even in eleMENtary school, where anxiety kept me up thinking and worrying about upcoming games. Eventually, I found healthy ways to manage my stress, but it's still an ongoing battle.

During high school, I realized that MENtal health isn't something to hide. After losing a friend to suicide and watching as depression impacted some of my closest friends, I learned that you can't find peace without accepting the way you feel. I also realized that it can feel impossible to get through anything alone. At that time, I struggled to find the words to support my people and knew that I needed to be a better friend.
Thankfully, I found the tools to support my friends and teammates through the Hawks 4 Hawks Peer MENtor Support Program (s/o Dr. Aubrette Kinne & UI Sports Psych). From that program, I learned empathetic listening strategies that have helped me to not only take care of myself but also to create a closer connection with my best friends and brothers and sisters on the track and field team.
Throughout my time at Iowa, there have been ups and downs. Although I've battled my fair share of setbacks, I've reached levels on the track and in the weight room that I used to dream of hitting. Outside of athletics, I've earned 2 degrees in 3 years, become a top 50 college financial advisor in the country, made the Dean's List every semester and the President's List along with being recognized as a Big Ten Distinguished Scholar Athlete.
Looking ahead, I'm on pace to graduate with 2 master's degrees in 5 years of college, and I cannot wait to defend our title as Big Ten Team Champs for the next two seasons. I share none of this to impress, but rather to emphasize just how much you can achieve with a daily focus on your MENtal health and the right support team around you.
Without my faith, family, friends and many others, there is no way I would be where I am today. They've all taught me a tremendous amount, so it feels amazing to have the tools to be there with them through their highs and lows. It's a blessing to say that I've reached a point where I can consistently take time to sit down and open up deep conversations with my friends and teammates. It's so tempting to try and keep it together all the time, but we have to understand that we aren't always going to be okay.

Life is hard, and life is a gift. Believing that one truth is a great place to start. Please reach out if you'd liken to talk more about where your journey can go from here." 💙✌🏼


October 25, 2021 — Teddy Sourlis