Michael Vick, former professional NFL quarterback, shared his experiences with resiliency in a sit down on Zoom, to encourage students at Pasadena City College to stay determined through the COVID-19 epidemic.

PCC’s new program A2mend, which stands for African Male Men Education Network & Development, hosted the talk with co-sponsor Student Equity to celebrate Black heritage month and to encourage students to join the new program. Jamaar Walker, interview coordinator and PCC Counselor, introduced an important discussion point about student-athletes at PCC.

We have students that are talking about not returning to school because the season’s not there. How did you stay motivated when you were away from the game?,” Walker asked.

The COVID-19 pandemic has created frustration and anxiety for students, especially student-athletes. Sports creates a disciplinary framework for students, which encourages and motivates them, and the absence of those effects can lead to frustration and anxiety.

“Just know it’s not over, there’s more out there, there’s more to come,” Vick said. “Study the game. Enjoy this process. Don’t look at it as a low of the low, it could be a blessing in disguise.”

Vick played thirteen seasons in the NFL and had a very successful career as a quarterback with the Atlanta Falcons, New York Jets, Philadelphia Eagles and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Vick drew from his experience as a student-athlete at Virginia Tech to relate to the similar experiences students at PCC have had to face this year in the classroom.

“How did you keep a growth mindset in the classroom?,” PCC student Ralph Huizar asked.

Students wanted to know how Vick was able to keep up in the classroom while also putting in a great amount of effort on the field. In his talk, Vick explained that school always came first for him.

“I wanted to learn. I took it seriously and I paid attention. I loved to write. I wish I had done more, and paid attention more. I wanted to grow and learn,” Vick said.

Students wanted advice on how to stay resilient and motivated more than anything. Of the hundreds of questions circulating in the discussion chat, mental health was a recurring theme that Vick was excited to talk about.

“Was mental health important to you when you were playing in the NFL?,” PCC student Rafael Henriquez asked Vick.

“School can get overwhelming. I think mental health is important and having people to talk to is important. Whether it’s a teacher, a guardian, or a coach, it’s always good to talk about things and let your thought flow,” Vick responded.

Jamaar Walker also gave an important message for PCC student-athletes.

“Ask for help,” Walker said. “We have so many outlets and wonderful programs, not just AMEND, but Ujima and Blackademia and so many programs you can be a part of.”

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