CATCHING UP WITH LEVI BRUFF '17

CATCHING UP WITH LEVI BRUFF '17

What were some key reasons you decided to attend Guilford?

I came to Guilford because I desired a small school where I mattered. I knew I wanted that “small-college” experience so I could become a vital part of the community. Secondly, having the opportunity to play tennis was another major factor. I wanted to compete at the next level, and discipline myself to balance academics. All around, Guilford gave me all I hoped for and dreamed of in a college.

What were some factors that helped you realize the success you enjoyed as a student at Guilford?

The number-one thing that helped me thrive at Guilford as a student was the professors. I can remember so many times walking into David Hildreth’s office, no matter what time of day, to talk about problems I was having with assignments or help with other classes. So many times I would get positive emails checking up on me from Bryan Brendley, David Hildreth, Caryl Schunk, Anna Pennell, and Julie Burke. It seemed like every professor was much more than an educator, they were a mentor for life. Without the investment of committed professors, I would not have been nearly as successful.

What were some factors that helped you realize the success you enjoyed as an athlete at Guilford?

As a high school athlete, I really did not feel pushed to perform at my best during every practice, much less games. Being a collegiate athlete changed my whole perspective of hard work and competition. Instead of giving enough effort to get by during practice, I had to work my tail off every day to crack the starting lineup. The level of competition finally sunk in after I lost several of my first few matches to start my first year. Coach (Dave) McCain made me realize I had to push myself harder than ever if I was going to succeed. The intense competition at the next level brought out in me the best athlete possible.

What have you been up to since you left Guilford?

Since graduating, I accepted a job as a 5th grade Math and Science teacher at a Title I (elementary) school in Davidson County, North Carolina. Over the course of my first year, I experienced the ups and downs of every first-year teacher and loved every minute of it. I’m in my second year of teaching and have tons of exciting and engaging ideas I want to bring to the classroom. Lastly, I purchased my first home and plan to get married in December 2018. 

How has Guilford prepared you for where you are today?

Guilford prepared me in so many various ways. The academics pushed me to become a more global critical thinker. I look at issues in the world a lot differently now and see why professors stretched me to think “outside the box” about things. The social experience of living on campus with my friends prepared me to be a more mature and independent individual. Sports required me to see the benefits of hard work. By having to dig deeper than ever before, I proved I had more inside of me than previously thought. Lastly, the discipline I learned as a Guilford College athlete instilled a drive and motivation to succeed far greater than I could ever imagine.

 

What about your experience as a Guilford student-athlete has helped you the most?

I am a firm believer that rough weather makes for great timber. The experiences that benefitted me the most were the ones that challenged me the most. I remember semesters where I spent many late nights in Frank Science Center working on lab reports. The level of exhaustion I would have after a weekend of matches and then studying all Sunday night made me appreciate time with my friends more. I can even remember the bad grades, tough classes, and heart-to-heart conversations about how to manage my time with my education professor, David Hildreth. All of the tough times where I wanted to quit and settle for lesser grades pushed me to become a more disciplined person. I would not have the drive as a person today without the tough times every student-athlete faces. For that, I could not be any more grateful for being a Guilford College student-athlete!

What do you miss most about Guilford?

There a ton of things (paying bills, being an adult, and working) that makes everyone miss Guilford. However, the things I miss most are playing the sport I love while also experiencing college with the people I love. There is no greater feeling than playing a sport in the representation of the college you attend. You feel like you are playing for your home where all your friends are. The feeling you get from competing your butt off is irreplaceable. Also, you’re living life with the people you love. Over the course of four years, you build friendships with your peers and bonds with professors that cannot be broken. To be able to live with your best friends and learn from professors who care for you is a blessing every day.

What are your future plans?

As for now, I plan to stay in the classroom trying to make learning as engaging as possible for all kids, for as long as possible. However, I plan to begin my Masters in School Administration at Gardner-Webb University in January 2019. I feel like God gave me leadership qualities and Guilford cultivated a drive for me to further my career in the future. I want to impact children's’ lives beyond the walls of one classroom. I hope to influence a whole school building to love and nurture children into becoming the best possible version of themselves.

What is one thing a high school student-athlete considering college needs to know?

If you have the ability to go to college, and even play a sport, do not pass it up! You will never be 18 years old again. You are in the prime of your academic and athletic life, so make the most of it! There are certain lessons in life you cannot learn just anywhere. Guilford College has a way of shaping you into a more productive and informed citizen while disciplining you in becoming a more mature adult. I would not be near as successful as a teacher and individual now if I had not gone to Guilford and played tennis for four whole years.

Identify and describe one or two of your favorite moments or experiences while at Guilford.

Over the course of four years at Guilford, I experienced so many unforgettable moments. Graduating in May 2017 was such an indescribable feeling. It meant more than anything to know that the hours of studying in the library, buckets of sweat poured on the tennis court and gym, and the time spent meeting with professors during office hours had finally paid off. It still gives me chills to think about. The second and more important experience was the relationships I formed along the way. There’s no money on earth that can replace the nights of playing Mario Kart with my suitemates after making a Cookout run. I still remember the 3 am conversations and Sunday night Bible studies, which seemed to fly by so quickly. To this day, my suitemates and I take an annual summer getaway trip to reminisce on our time at Guilford and keep up to date on each other’s lives.

-Levi Bruff '17