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The Buchtelite

The Editorially Independent Voice of The University of Akron

The Buchtelite

The Editorially Independent Voice of The University of Akron

The Buchtelite

Graphic courtesy of Liv Ream; movie flyer from IMDB
In defense of Skinamarink
By Liv Ream, Arts and Entertainment Editor • October 1, 2023
Alternative Spring Break 2023 volunteers in Washington, D.C. Courtesy of Natalie Mowad.
Applications open for Akron’s 2024 Alternative Spring Break
By Taylor Lorence, Correspondent • October 1, 2023
The Northern Cheyenne tribe and community walking the ancient Portage Path from Portage Path CLC to the John Brown Home during a previous years First Peoples Day event. Photo courtesy of Portage Path Collaborative.
UA Holds events in celebration of North American First People’s Day   
By Shananne Lewis, Online Editor • September 28, 2023
White swan on water during daytime photo - Free Uk Image on Unsplash
The Swan's Rapture: a poem
By Emily Price, editor in chief • September 27, 2023
Desperately Seeking an Amazon Fighter, sculpture by Kimberly Chapman
"Easy Prey" art exhibit on display at Myers School of Art
By Taylor Lorence, Reporter, Secretary • September 21, 2023
“On the left, there’s me at work! I received the New Student Orientation “Gold Standard” award alongside 
and at the same time as my friend Gillian.”
Courtesy of Connor VanMaele
Fall 2023 Print Edition: Going the Distance
By Connor VanMaele, Correspondent • September 19, 2023
L to R: Steve Horner, Heather Barhorst, Haley Kuczynski, Shawna Blankenship, Brynley Harris, Jessie Redwine at the Pop-Up Pantry. Image Courtesy of ZipAssist.
ZipAssist Holds Community Resource Fair Tuesday, September 19 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the SU 2nd Floor
By Shananne Lewis, Correspondent • September 18, 2023
Film critic Liv Ream and friend pose for photo (Image via Liv Ream)
My Barbie experience
By Liv Ream, Film Critic • September 17, 2023

Fall 2023 Print Edition: Going the Distance

“On the left, there’s me at work! I received the New Student Orientation “Gold Standard” award alongside and at the same time as my friend Gillian.” Courtesy of Connor VanMaele

I should probably do something more useful with my time than writing stories and making videos. That’s been in the back of my mind for a long, long time. Making people laugh is what I love, but some days, I find it hard to justify my dreams of going into entertainment when there’s so much work to be done in the world besides making people chuckle. Every once in a while, though, a movie or book comes my way that reminds me that my career pursuits aren’t completely selfish. This is the story of how the classic, inspirational film Rocky got me paid.

In the film, Rocky Balboa is a regular old nobody. Throughout the movie, you grow a lot of sympathy for the guy; everything in the world seems to be against him. A boxer by night and a debt collector by day, he lives in the slums with seemingly only his two pet turtles as friends. You see beatdown after beatdown pile up on poor Rocky, and you want nothing more than to see him catch his lucky break. Thankfully, that lucky break happens in two ways: by the blossoming romance with his girlfriend Adrian and by
the opportunity he’s given to fight the world heavyweight boxing champion, Apollo Creed.

Rocky knows he’s in way over his head; he’s been chosen as a novelty, a spectacle to ogle at to drive excitement for the match. Apollo Creed is willing to fight some Philadelphia nobody only because the absurdity of the matchup will create a marketing buzz around the event. Rocky’s boxing persona is “The Italian Stallion,” but he might as well be a magical unicorn for all Apollo is concerned. What sets Rocky apart from many other films like it, though, is that Rocky is not expecting to win. The most memorable part of the film for me was not the training montage or title fight, but it was watching Rocky in the quiet moments leading up to the big fight. Rocky confides to Adrian that it’s okay if he loses — he just wants to go the distance. Whether he wins or loses, he wants to be the first boxer to last all 15 rounds in the arena with Apollo Creed. The man says it best himself:

“It really don’t matter if I lose this fight… It really don’t matter if this guy opens my head. All I wanna do is go the distance. No one’s ever gone the distance with Creed, and if I can go that distance… ya see, if that bell rings and I’m still standing… I’m gonna know for the first time in my life that I weren’t just another bum from the neighborhood.”

Rocky could have chosen to set his sights on winning the match, but he doesn’t. He chooses what is significant to him. And Rocky doesn’t end up winning the match, he loses it, but that don’t matter — he won the battle he was fighting for. He proved that Rocky Balboa wasn’t just another bum from the neighborhood. He made the distance.

Shortly after I saw the film, I had a job interview for something I really, really cared about. We, the candidates, were competing against each other in a massive group interview on MS Teams (this was Spring ‘21, COVID-times) where the pool of available hires was so limited that only 1/3 of us there would have been accepted.

As soon as we started, I could feel myself shrinking… I totally lacked confidence and assertiveness in the group, and many of the candidates there seemed so naturally gifted and at ease in the hyper-competitive situation that I wondered what I was even doing there. I felt so out of place and petrified that there were moments I thought of just giving up and abandoning the online call, because I thought, why bother? I don’t belong here if this is what it takes. My fear was telling me to leave the call, but the wisdom bestowed upon me by Sylvester Stallone glimmered into my mind and that changed everything.

I didn’t need to “win” and get the job. What I needed to do was stay on MS Teams throughout the entire interview and
make a genuine effort. If I didn’t get the job, that was fine. What really mattered was if I made the distance or not, and I’m
happy to report that I did. I stuck out that stressful experience and proved to myself that I wasn’t going to cave into my anxiety
and flee, and to be honest, that was good enough for me.

Rocky lost his bout against Creed, but in the sequel, Mr. Balboa takes the championship. In my case, however, I didn’t have to wait to apply again next year. Despite my lackluster performance in the battle royale, I made it to the second round of screening, where we were interviewed one at a time. I got the job, and I’m beyond grateful that I did.

During my sophomore year, one of the biggest problems I recognized in myself was my social anxiety. The position I applied for was an on-campus job where I would be talking to strangers all day, all summer long. I knew it would be a challenge for me, but if I had continued to avoid situations where I had to talk to people, I wouldn’t have been addressing what had been holding me back for years. The first few weeks of work were filled with constant blunders, but by the end of the summer I found my stride, having a newfound ease to strike up real, genuine conversations with nearly anyone I met. If I had given up in the first round, though—if I didn’t make the distance—I never would have gone on that journey. I wasn’t exaggerating or embellishing earlier when I said that “the classic, inspirational film Rocky got me paid,” but I guess it was the right place, right time sort of thing.

It was a couple years ago now that the story I’ve told took place but reflecting on it in 2023 as a senior has helped me reconcile with the lurking feeling that perhaps I could be doing something better with my time rather than writing. Art does make a difference in peoples’ lives; it did in mine, didn’t it?

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