It was always the avoided class. The class I dreaded. Like a reclusive turtle, it was always hard for me to come out of the shell. The class that I wanted so desperately to do well in, but never really did. This class in which I’m referring to is science class. There is such a vast amount of scientific topics that I have learned in my life that it’s almost daunting for me to figure it out. I can’t even explain why it just doesn’t come naturally for me, but I still did well in science class all the time (A few “A“‘s, mostly “B“‘s though, I must admit) while growing up. Fortunately for me, a lot of science is related to mathematics, which was something that I always excelled in. But see, I had forgot all about these things while pursuing my professional career in basketball. So with all that history of fear being said…
I should’ve known it was bound to come back around and hit me one last time before I graduated from school forever. I never gave myself the chance to succeed in math or science at Stanford, out of fear that I would fail. However, I am SO elated that I’m taking this class during my last quarter of school. The class is in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and titled, “CEE 70: Environmental Science and Technology”. It’s actually a really dope class! It’s incredible to see and to be able to figure out the math behind science, and to know that all living things really do have a purpose, and know that our surroundings have a much bigger effect on us than we might think. If we know this, we can build things to help protect ourselves and natural life from all the damages that occur with pollution and a generally unclean environment. Give me one quarter, and I’ll be able to really put you on game!
For me, this class certainly isn’t what I would classify as an “easy A”. It’s an eerie challenge, one I don’t think I’ve ever faced, but I’m confident that I’ll succeed because I know that my best is going to be good enough. I figure with the right amount of discipline, the same amount I dedicate to basketball as a professional athlete, anyone can really be a great student, because there is always someone out there that is fully equipped with the tools to help you understand the concepts.
Message clear: SEEK HELP!
Enter Greg Rulifson, my very first tutor at Stanford, and the dopest one at that. This guy did undergrad at Cal, if you can believe that (and still wears his Cal hat around Stanford, gotta respect that!) He breaks down concepts that could literally take me hours to understand, in a matter of minutes. When all else failed in our tutorial, I could count on his knowledge and ability to conceptualize everything and then translate them into a more simpler language. He knows that the knowledge he possesses on the topics come more naturally to him. He then in return helped me gain some knowledge that would have otherwise been equations sending me in the other direction. But something fantastic is starting to happen in the past few weeks: I’m actually kind of understanding this material! (small concepts for Engineers, HUGE leap for Candice Wiggins). And it feels just as awesome as scoring the game winning shot. Seriously.
My last thought is this: Feel the fear, and do it anyway. Just like its hard to enjoy playing the game of basketball when you’re missing every shot, sometimes school can be like that too. If science classes translated to basketball stats, I’d probably have a 30% FG percentage, 15% 3 point percentage, and maybe an 80% FT percentage (since like free-throws, there ARE some easy concepts in science that I absolutely understand and love). That’s pretty dismal, I know. But I don’t care, I’m still shooting the ball every time I’m open. Like Mike said, “you miss 100% of the shots you DON’T take”. I love that because it lets me know that the only way to succeed is to risk failing. One thing for sure though, like I am with basketball, I’m never missing a practice, and I’m going to continue to sharpen the skills that are necessary for me to succeed. There’s extra work required for people when certain things don’t come naturally to them. But I’m still on the team. The class itself has been just as scary as I ever imagined, but at least now I’m not afraid…
…And THAT, my friends, is why I’m not an engineer.
Candice your the best,i can honestly say your my favorite Hooper to lace them up!! ive been rockin for for soooo long im the one that created the Official Candice Wiggins fan page....remeber? aha. i CANT wait untill your back on the court,2011 MVP?? ( :...btw i know this is not a question ( :
Thank you so much for all the love you’re showing me. I hope I come back from my injury strong so I don’t disappoint. Can I ask you where you got that picture of me with the white shirt in front of the nike sign? I would really like to add it to my facebook fan page. Btw I’m doing a costume giveaway on my page too. You can win a free pair of kicks….check that out.
I’ve been down that road a few times, ever since I went to La Jolla Country Day School, which is “Home of the Torrey Pine tree”. That was our mascot. A torrey pine tree. I thought it was so dope. So far out there that it’s almost ahead of its time. It was bad enough going through high school constantly getting laughed at for having a tree as a mascot, but at the same time it never disrupted my pride. I always thought: What’s so bad about trees? Trees grow, they stand tall, and when someone chops them down they grow right back. They CAN’T physically hurt anyone, yet they are super strong and powerful forces. A great message for sports actually. Every athlete should stand like a tree and keep their roots deep in the ground so they can’t get ripped out. It’s almost like a “psychological” mascot, really. Truthfully, one of the alluring things about Stanford when I was in high school was the fact that both schools had Trees as mascots. I’m going to go ahead and call that fate (because really, how many people do you know have 2 trees as mascots in high school AND college??) Very few…
When people try to tell me that I’m the “big woman on campus” at Stanford, I tell them they are absolutely wrong. The true BMOC is the Stanford Tree. He’s the person (sometimes male, sometimes female) that everyone AND no one knows…how dope is that? Everyone loves the Stanford tree!! It even has its own Wikipedia page, full of extensive information and history. This tree is so dope, that it’s going to get its own blog entry.
Before I start talking about the Tree, I have to clear a few things. First of all, we’re not Cardinals, like the bird. (there was a point in my life when I thought it was “Cardinals” too, so no judgement.) It’s Cardinal, like the color. That’s our official mascot. However, Stanford wasn’t always Cardinal and there’s a pretty intriguing history on the whole process of changing the school mascot title to fit a more appropriate representation, one that accurately showcases the morale of the school.
There’s something really special about genuinely embracing a mascot. Here is the single iconic figure that becomes synonymous with the spirit of the University. The Tree is the unofficial mascot of Stanford, and the Tree and the Band go hand and hand. Together they are this unstoppable force that won’t let up, even if you asked nicely. I love it. Everyone loves it. Even the people who hate it love it. (kinda like the USC fight song for me) It just so happens that my freshman year roommate at Stanford was apart of the process for “applying” to be the Tree, so I have a little insider information. I was in complete awe when I heard about how intense the competition to become the next Tree is. But I can totally dig why that is. The Tree is important to Stanford because in a very unpredictable way (see 2005 NCAA tournament when the Tree got suspended for dancing out of his zone) he brings a relaxed vibe to a place where minds are working at a fast-paced rate. I think there’s a Tree in everyone who goes to Stanford, and I’m proud that that image is properly showcased in the form of a mascot. To anyone shocked by any antics that is affiliated with the Tree: Expect everything, and the unexpected never occurs.
Some fun “On the Farm” facts about the Tree. Did you know….
…the Stanford Tree was created by the band? …the actual person in the Tree designs his/her own costume themselves, and that it changes every single year? …they have what’s called “Tree Week”, for people trying out to become the tree? …there’s a Tree selection committee? …I saw the Tree the other day on ESPN? …the Cal bear mascot and the Tree have serious beef? …the tree is TRYING to dance like that, because it dares to be different? …there’s only ONE tree like the Stanford Tree.
I experienced a very tragic injury during the 2010 WNBA season playing for the Minnesota Lynx. I ruptured my Achilles tendon. (Everyone usually goes “Ooooo” in their heads when I say that, and I totally re-live the moment.) The way it felt going down was so unreal and dynamic, that I felt like I might as well have been the Greek god Achilles. Literally, I might as well been hit with a bow and arrow to the back of the ankle. That’s how strange of a feeling tearing your Achilles tendon is. It just doesn’t make sense, and you question your ability to walk and move again. Just like the mythical god Achilles, I had the realization that maybe I’m not as “immortal” as I’d like to think I am. A loss of power, strength, and will overwhelms you in the course of what seems like mere seconds. I could go on and on and on…
But that’s all old news….
My focus has shifted to the most important phase of my athletic career, as well as my life: my first steps with the repaired Achilles tendon. And I must say, I’m pleased with my new Achilles. (Shout out to Dr. Glenn B. Pfeffer for giving me the scar of my dreams!) Battle scars are the marks that we receive in life as gifts, reminders that we are true survivors. The Greek god Achilles might have died upon being struck in the one isolated spot in his body that wasn’t touched by immortality, but I didn’t die. I’m still here, still walking, and pretty soon I’ll even be running, jumping, and dancing! Being the optimist that I am, I always see the best in any situation, but this injury has sincerely revitalized my entire sense of being. Please believe the old mantra “that which does not kill you makes you stronger”, because it’s just true! And if you don’t believe me, I bet I could beat you in a single leg balancing competition with my eyes closed on my bad Achilles.
I’m back by popular demand! Back on campus, back to school. Back with a new attitude, and some new goals. Last time I was at Stanford I had one thing on my mind: A national championship. Now I have TWO things on my mind: A diploma and a 4.0. (Slightly ambitious, I know, but many also doubted Stanford getting to the final four in 2008!)
A funny thing happened on the way to my first day of classes. I was listening to Kanye West’s debut album “College Dropout” as some sort of ironic psychological motivation for myself. Kanye West dropped out of college….never to return again. And unlike most people, he’s very proud of that concept, embraces it even, and has leveraged this controversial act into propelling his rap career. Most of the messages in the songs in this album usually flow by me 16 bars at a time, but this time I really listened to the words. And I totally disagreed. A few lines in particular from the song “School Spirit”:
"Told ‘em I finished school, and I started my own business/ They say, ‘Oh you graduated?/ No, I decided I was finished/ Chasin’ y’all dreams and what you’ve got planned/ Now I spit it so hot you got tanned/ Back to school and I hate it there, I hate it there/ Everything I want I gotta wait a year, I wait a year."
I disagreed because as I pulled up on the legendary Palm Drive and saw Memorial Church and all the buildings that I grew to loathe and love all at the same time, I realized…I LOVE it here. And my next thought: There’s no place like home. I instantly changed songs on my Ipod.
Life is full of choices, and there are definitely psychological consequences to the choices you make. For me, the effects of leaving college were more than I ever anticipated. While I’m proud of the path that I have been blessed to travel, I definitely always felt that need to return back to Stanford and spend one more quarter on campus. Online classes certainly would’ve sufficed, however it wouldn’t be the same. My return to finish school means so much more than just “finishing what I started”. It means representing the most incredible institution that has absolutely shaped the woman I have become.