Fall 2015

Hello,
This semester was successful what comes to my studies at school. I finished every class with the highest grade, which meant to be the end of my study hall hours. Big part of this strong semester belongs to my tutors and helpful classmates. Comparing the first two semesters here, the second one was way more easier and less stressful, however classes were more difficult than last spring. Because of my little better English skills, the idea how to be successful, using spare time by giving no thoughts for school, and not travelling during the semester, I didn’t have any major problems at school during this fall. After 12 classes, I’ve got 9 As and 3 Bs which means my GPA is 3.67. This because GPA is so much more important here in America than back home.
Practices started pretty well, mostly doing rehab for my ankle. It took pretty long time to get all movements back to almost normal level. Today it doesn’t bother me too much, but sometimes it is painful, especially when doing plyometrics. We started throwing javelin in October, which felt a little early to me. We lifted weights normally four times a week and I did couple pretty good records in upper body exercises during the fall. Hopefully legs and hip will become stronger before the first meet of the season, which takes place in late March here in El Paso. Anyways, throwing was nothing but easy this fall. I struggled a lot with technique and getting power to the javelin. But last month has been better and I’ve found some new stuff to improve the technique, which has given me some self-confidence.
My family visited me during the holiday, and we went to Phoenix to watch first NHL game ever. It was an awesome experience and I’m really hoping we will have a chance to go again in the future. Had some great time with them during two weeks they spent here in El Paso.
Everything is better than ever in my life and I am hoping this season and the semester will be a big success for me and my teammates. I strongly believe my chances to hit somewhere between 75 and 80 meters this season…

-Rasmus


The beginning of the second semester

What’s going on everybody? It has been while since my last topic. Summer rushed through so fast and here I am, back in business in El Paso. Briefly about summer. Had a great time with my family and friends and again it was pretty hard to leave them behind and head to El Paso. I took one online class: Political Science. Pretty much new stuff for me, but finished with grade B. And lastly as everybody already knows, I hurt my ankle pretty bad. But had to say, this was one of the best summer I’ve spent.

This semester has started quite well in UTEP. I am taking History, Math, Graphic & Design Fundamentals, Chemistry (+ lab), and Philosophy classes. Chemistry has been the most difficult class so far because vocabulary is quite hard. I am trying to get A from every class I am taking, because we are not competing during the fall, so I have more time to focus homework and stuff at school.

Practices started on Thursday with testing shot throws, jumps and lifting. Because this ankle, I have only done rehab and bike last three weeks. We are working very hard with the trainers and hopefully I will be ready to start 100% training as soon as possible.

-Rasmus


Nationals

Oh it is already June. How fast time has flown…? I really wanted to make one more post before nationals. I have been a little lost with my technique last 3-5 weeks as you could see from my last results. I thought I was ready to hit my sb/pb last weekend in Austin! But what I really did was my worst competition of the season. After last throw I didn’t see my position and was sure that I didn’t make to nationals. I was very disappointed, felt like the whole season I was practicing for nothing. But…

 

I got another chance! Coach Mika gave a hand and said “Onnittelut, hyvinhän se meni”. I was like did I really make it?! Oh yes I placed 9th out of 48 throwers with 67.89 mark . Now week after that I really think I am ready to throw my pb. I will compete on Wednesday at 5:00pm local time in flight 1/2.  The first flight includes 12 throwers which placed from 12th to 7th in regionals. We will throw first three rounds and then flight 2/2 will throw their own three rounds. A little different competition comparing to European system for example. And yes, 8 bests will throw last three rounds and fight for title of NCAA Champion.

 

I gave a couple interviews this week and said that I will placed in top-5 with 75 meter mark. I know it is a huge step forward after past weeks results but I will make it. This competition has been my target since I got a scholarship from UTEP. And finally a little statistics: top-5 guys have thrown over 77 meters this season and I am ranked 13th with mark of 72.74. But this is only one meet, anything can happen and will happen and I am ready for leave everything on the track!

 

P.S. I will be in Finland 17th June!


The end of the semester

Hello everybody. It is time summarize this spring shortly and talk about last month before coming back to Finland.

 

Last week was finally time to close books for this semester. Only 11 hours classes per week, but it required more work than I could imagine. All the courses went pretty good. I haven’t got grades yet, but from History I will get A and Math C (because I totally misfired the last exam). Almost every week I used over 8 hours time outside of classes for doing homework and readings. There were days I was very tired because all school work and hard practices. But after all, I am very happy that semester is over and now I can just focus on practicing and last two competitions, regionals and nationals. I want to say special thanks to my mentor, Tamara, my history class’ tutor Alejandra, and of course all professors.

 

Last weekend was my first Conference USA Championship participation. I was ranked fourth and came third. Mark itself was pretty bad (68.86m). Overall experience was good and our team really fought hard! So far my season best is still only 72.74m, but now it is time to move that mark further. We are leaving to Austin, Texas next Tuesday, and I will compete against 48 other throwers on Saturday. It is different meet, because everyone has three throws and 12 best will qualify to Nationals. Earlier this week, we found the reason that messed my throw technically in C-USA meet. Now I am feeling more confident to go Austin and qualify to Nationals.

 

Lastly, I want to thank all SENIORS in our track team. They are people, friends, I will remember forever. They are all incredible persons. I will miss them so much.

 

Rasmus


March & April 2015

Hello everyone.

During March & April it has been all about practicing, studying, and competing finally. Practices has been good except last couple days. I have an infection in my toe and nail is growing under the skin. On Monday some doctor will pull the nail off. Only two weeks left school this semester. Couple exercises to do before starting holiday and focusing the rest of the javelin season.

I have had a chance to see some new cities and states during the last two months. Our team were travelling to Austin (TX), Tempe (ARZ), and Berkeley (CALI). All those cities were very beautiful. The competitions have been good and bad. I started season with 67meter throw and about three weeks ago I threw 72meter. All the others have been between that scale. In two weeks we have a conference finals in here El Paso. It is going to be a tough competition cause I am ranked 4th in our conference right now and the number one guy has thrown over 81meter. I am looking forward to compete against him and trusting that I can throw a new PR.

So next two weeks it is all about to get ready to conference and final exams

 

-Rasmus


SPRING BREAK

Second post within short time because it is Spring Break! My last week before the break was pretty good. I got my grades from individual presentation (96/100) and history paper (A-, 138/150). I can’t remember when I have been as successful in school as in here. My midterm grades from every class were A! But the next week is only for relaxing and practicing. As a reward of hard work I went to mall and bought HALO master collection for xbox. Haha it is game time!

Last week we had testing also in track and gym. Shot throws, snatch, bench, squat and jumps. I was happy about my snatch and shot throws but all others wasn’t impressive. I don’t know was it because of start of spring break, but I threw on Friday best javelin session so far. Technically very good throws and the measures were practice records! I have had some problems with groins so coach sent me to see a massager called Frank. He had a dog who could play piano, it was so hilarious. Anyway Frank did a good job and groins are feeling much better today. On Tuesday is a big day for me… NCAA will send an email about my license. So after Tuesday I’ll know am I able to compete as miner this year. Thumbs up!

Take care

Rasmus


February 2015

Moi. February comes to end and only one week left before the spring break! The whole month has been pretty good. I turned my first history paper and I had the first official exam (math). The exam went good (97%) and hopefully the paper was enough good to get pass. Still the biggest issue is the history class but my tutoring hours are really helping me. Every time the whole hour goes so fast.  Jazz to Rock class is going well. So far I have got 95% including three quizzes and one observation report. Every week I spend 9-10 hours in Study Hall mostly with history book plus in my own room I’m using 4-8hours for studying per week. My English skills haven’t increased as much I hoped but understanding is way better than 2 months ago.

Practices are going well. I suffered little injury with my right groin in the beginning of the month, but it took only a week and it was 100% shape. Next week we are going to take some lifting and shot throw tests. Our team went to Indoor Conference Championships this week and Women’s team took the gold! Outdoor seasons is going to start in 20nd March. Hopefully my license will be ok before that… Still fighting with NCAA… Endless road I think -.- P.S. Today I ate Mexican food  for the first time 😛

I surrender about hoping add some photos… Doesn’t work, won’t work…

-Rasmus

 


Feelings from first classes

Hey all again. Since last post has happened many things. My classes started two weeks ago. So I have pre-calculus (math), U.S. history to 1865, Jazz to Rock (musician) and seminar/critical inquiry. It might sounds an easy schedule but I have found studying at UTEP way different than any other schools before. I mean the most difficult thing is language. Especially in history… I have no idea about U.S. History and now I have to study it in English! So these couple weeks of my studying have included in a lot of reading. Because I am an international student and athlete I must do every week at least 8 hours in study hall. Basically I have to read or do assignments or both. Also I got some tutoring hours (2 per week on Monday & Thursday evenings) for History class.

During my free time I have been on mountains, in outlet mall and the most of the time hanging with my new friends. Practices have gone better and better. Because of thin and dry air (altitude from the sea level is about 1300m) I have to drink water way more than in Finland.

There is my this week practice schedule:

  • Monday: medicine balls, javelin, lifting (3h45min)
  • Tuesday: hurdle mobility, banana hurdles, specific stretching, sprints, lifting (3h15min)
  • Wednesday: hurdle mobility, javelin circuit, plyometrics (shot throws & box jumps) (2h15min)
  • Thursday: medicine balls, javelin, lifting (3h30min)
  • Friday: warming-up, specific stretching (1h30min)
  • Saturday: jumps & leaps & bounds + sprints (1h30min)
  • Sunday: rest

 

I am frustrated because I can’t upload any pictures (some of them are in my facebook & instagram) … Hopefully this error will be fixed quickly.

-Rasmus


First days in El Paso

Hi all. Long waiting before this trip has finally ended. I arrived at El Paso last Sunday. It was very difficult situation to say goodbyes for my parents in the Helsinki-Vantaa-Airport. But now I am here and not looking back unless I miss my family and friends of course.

My first day here went pretty fast. I meet my roommate Zac and another thrower from track team Kevin. Kevin took me to Walmart and I bought everything I needed for daily life. My dorm is really nice but temperature is cold inside at nights. I had heard that people in this city are very kind and helpful but I really did not think that they really are :D. It is really awesome that someone I have met a day ago comes and pick you up anywhere you want.

On Monday I had to do some paperwork to both; school and team and I met coaches and physics and doctors. On Tuesday I finally became official member of our track team. GO MINERS! I also got this semester’s schedule which includes in math, history, musician and inquiry. And today I had some kind of orientation for international students. I also did my first official practice today, gym of course.

I’m looking forward to couple next days because I’m going to throw javelin on Friday or Saturday! School starts next Tuesday so I will write more about it in future. The weather should be much warmer on the weekend (today was only 9-11 degrees with a cold wind).

Kaikki siis hyvin täällä! 🙂 I will add photos as soon as possible. Now there seems to be some kind of technical issue when trying to upload any media…

 

 


Preparing the trip

Hi! My name is Rasmus Maukonen. I am studying in JAMK the University of Applied Sciences in Finland. Next 18 months I will study in the university of Texas at El Paso (=UTEP). I also throw javelin and that is the biggest reason why I am leaving to El Paso.

Welcome to reading my blog. I will write down things I am doing during my exchange period at University of Texas at El Paso. Mostly I will write in English and hope you can understand it as much as possible. The idea to this trip came out in last July. In Kuopio during track & field outdoor nationals my friend told me that why you won’t go to UTEP? Since that ball has started to roll and right now I am sitting in my room with visa, scholarship and flight tickets.

First I contacted  to school’s track & field Head Coach Mika Laaksonen. I asked if there are any chance to come to UTEP in January 2016. But they asked me to come in January 2015. So I thought a little time and was more than happy to get this opportunity to become “miner”.  It has been huge help for me that Mika is a Finnish person. Mika has been helpful with general duties and all “paperwar” I’ve been fought the whole autumn. I have filled in about 100 pages all kind of applications or information. Those papers have been for JAMK, UTEP or NCAA (=National Collegiate Athletic Association).

So I have been answering and filling in all kind of papers during studying and training. I have also passed TOEFL (test of English as foreign language)  with 73 or 74 points (minimum was 61). That was the test I was worried about mostly because of my weak English skills. I have also tried to prove for NCAA that I am an amateur athlete. It is important detail because without their accept I can’t go and compete with our team… Hopefully all turns positive and I can take part to every competition next season.

So I will fly to El Paso in 10th January. Trainings will start 12th, 13th or 14th and that week also includes in some kind of orientation in school. I will live in student house about 50 meter from track & field stadium (not bad :D). I have not registered for classes yet but the meaning is to take some engineering classes. Minimum per week is 12 hours for being a full time student. I have a lot of uncertainty but hopefully all will be much clearer when I arrive at El Paso.

Here is some reasons for this trip:

-I want to throw 80 meters some day

-I got scholarship

-There is Finnish Head Coach

-Studying and training at the same time are easier there than in Finland

-Once in a lifetime experience

-Develop my English skills


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