Laura E. Brown Online

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My Time at UNL

My time spent as a Husker was the most life-changing four years I have experienced in my life.  I experienced changes in my personal life, my professional life and my academic life. I had finally felt like I was in charge of what I did and where I went from the first day of my freshman year.

The “Best Years of Your Life”

I often heard that your college years are the greatest years of your life. As vague as that comment is, I would find it hard to disagree.However, that hardly scratches the surface. That statement doesn’t offer any insight for anyone who wasn’t with you through it all.

Like most college students, I could be found at the football stadium every Saturday. To say I was (and still am) a die-hard Husker fan is an understatement. Being born and raised as a Husker fan played a huge role in who I am, even outside of the football field. Being a part of one of the most loyal fan bases says a lot about the school that surrounds it.

Finding My Passion

It wasn’t uncommon to hear about people changing their major at least once throughout their college career. I just never thought I would be one of them. Going into my freshman year, I was so certain I wanted to become an accountant. That’s all I focused on and I refused to give up. I didn’t want to accept I had made a wrong decision. However, after I admitted it to myself, everything started to fall into place.

Changing my major was the best thing I could have done in my four years at UNL. I enjoyed my classes and everything was making sense. Somehow, along with the academic change, I was starting to notice the change in myself.

As an 18 year old freshman, I was quiet and reserved; more than okay with letting other people talk while I acted as a fly on the wall. As a senior who was months away from graduating, I made my presence known by participating in group discussions. Outside of classes I was having conversations with people I was just meeting.

I had finally broken out of my shell, and just in time.

UNL shaped me into a person I could be proud of. I saw myself mature and gain an understanding of what it was going to take to become a part of the “adult world”.

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Phase 1: In the Beginning

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As I sit here, trying to find out how to start this off, I can’t help but think, why not start at the beginning? While it seems so simple, the beginning is the part that I have the hardest time remembering.

For anyone who knows me, it might be hard to believe I started out taking dance lessons. I was also playing soccer, but nothing seriously. I was, after all, only 4 years old at this point. There was even a point early on when I wanted to be gymnast, which might be even harder to believe. I would be doing cartwheels and somersaults in the backyard trying to perfect it all, wanting to reach my goal of being the greatest gymnast ever. It’s safe to say that didn’t last long.

From the moment I came home and quit dance, my parents were a huge support. They were jumping into the world of club soccer completely blind. I was already playing on a team through my school with a lot of my friends; for some reason I wanted more than that. Both of my parents recognized what I had wanted, even if I couldn’t clearly say it out loud.

I’m not quite sure how it happened, but I found myself at my first practice with the club team I had ever played on. I was joining a team that had been together already for a few years, and that was nerve-racking. Walking into a group of people I don’t know is not the best situation for me, especially back then. I quickly adapted and found some great friends through that team, a couple of which I still see and talk with today.

I would say my first club team was a needed stepping stone. It was fun and exciting, and I felt like I was on my way to getting closer to where I one day dreamed to be. Like any girl at a young age, I often dreamed of someday wearing red, white, and blue, playing alongside some of the greatest players like Mia Hamm, or Abby Wambach, or Julie Foudy. I had spent so much time with my parents and my sister watching them play, and growing up with these three especially as my idols and role models.

As my mom tells it, and as my memory serves, every game I had my hair done in my “power pigtails”. It was rare for me to play a game, or maybe even attend a practice, without my pigtails present. I was always so sure they gave me the extra energy I needed and contained some sort of super powers to make me play my absolute best. They were a necessity; we always made sure to have time to have my hair done the right way.

I played on that team for a few years before moving on, so to speak. It wasn’t quite the time for tryouts, but the team I played on was the next step needed in order to get to tryouts. This group of teammates ended up being great friends as well. As it turns out, I would see them more often during the years to come as well.

While the first club team I played on had a more “for fun” vibe, the second team had more training and development opportunities. In other words, we were all just a little more serious about our future soccer careers.

Practices included trainers, games had higher intensities, and we lived soccer year-round. Granted, we were still only about 9 or 10 years old, but we loved every minute of it. Practices were held in school gyms, and there were indoor leagues all over town for us to participate in. While it certainly wasn’t conventional, it was all we needed to make sure we kept up our skills and touches.

From this experience I gained two new friends. We always tried to hang out during practices, and there were also times we talk on the phone or spend time hanging out outside of practices and games. In a way it also turned into a friendship between all of our parents. They would spend time together talking while we are doing our thing (most of the time it involved soccer in some capacity).

One other person had a good impression looking back, and that was our coach. He knew how to make it fun and keep us involved and interested. He made sure to focus on our positives, but also pushed us to ensure we were playing our absolute best; he knew how to relate to us.

As many people know, friendships and connections don’t last forever. It sounds very cliché, but at the same time it holds some truth to it. This seemed to be very short and summarized based on my memories. However, as I move forward, I hope to add more detail and insight to give a better view into my time as a soccer player.

An Introduction to a Lifestyle

I was taking a walk the other night, just to go check the mail at the end of the day. On my way, I passed a family playing some soccer together. I smiled to myself, thinking back to the time my brother and sisters would do the same thing in our backyard.

Typically, I enjoy taking walks at the end of the day. I use the time to clear my head and just relax. However, I found myself thinking back to the many years (17!) I spent playing the sport I truly loved. There were highs and lows, as would be expected. I saw mainly flashbacks to monumental moments in my “career”, and even some not so monumental.

As would be expected, my mind initially went to playing in the state tournament in high school. But thinking even further back brought me to the moments when I first started playing. Now I don’t remember the timing exactly, and I’m not sure if my memory has been filled by what I was told, but a little part of me remembers the moment I wanted to quit taking dance lessons and start devoting that time to soccer.

I have been told I have a weird memory; there are times I can pull up the most miniscule detail about something, and people just look at me asking, “How in the world do you remember that?”. With that being said, as I focus and think back, there are moments from my early years that come to me in small flashes.

During the time of my short walk, I was hit with the realization that I don’t have any documentation showing what I spent most of my life (up to this point) doing. I have pictures, and T-Shirts that will someday become a quilt, and the memories in my head. I came to the decision, quite out of nowhere I will add, to take the time to write down my experiences, memories, and personal feelings through it all.

While this post is pretty short and sweet, I am starting to work on different installments. I have the plan to start with the earliest years I can remember, and work toward present day. Believe it or not, soccer is still a part of my life today, just in a different way. It’s funny how your position can change, but the feelings can remain the same. But there is more on that to come!


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Season of Change

Fall Leaves

During high school I took a creative writing class, and my favorite part of class was writing poetry. I have always enjoyed writing my own poems in my spare time, mainly because I didn’t have the patience to write anything longer.

I always found it easy to write about the different seasons. They are always changing, and they are one thing that everyone knows. It’s always fun to think about the best (and worst) parts of each one, and find a way to interpret each one in my own way.

I came across some old poems of mine recently, making me think about the last time I stepped back and appreciated everything around me. I have always said that fall is my favorite time of year; this year it has certainly flown by and I hardly noticed my favorite time of the year.

The leaves changing colors, the cooling temperatures, and of course football season. The leaves explode into color, brightening the world all around. They float down from the trees, raining down and creating piles for kids to jump in.

The cooler temperatures bring a calming, peaceful feeling, creating an environment of comfort, allowing everyone to dial back and take more time to be themselves. Long gone are the tank tops and shorts, and a time for jackets and sweatpants has arrived.

This time of year awakens the kids in me. I run through the leaves that pile up on the side of the street, and would not be opposed to running and jumping into my own pile of leaves. Fall could be seen to some to be a stressful time of year; I think it is what you make it. If you take the time to step back from the stresses and craziness in your every day life, typically you’ll find there is a lot more than what meets the eye.

Wishing on a Star

It’s amazing how much a walk, or sitting outside while a storm comes rolling in can give you time to reflect and give you a sense of calm.

As a kid, I would always take walks with my parents on nights when it was nice enough outside, especially in the summers. I would sit outside and watch the rain pour, the lightening flash, and hear the thunder roar. These moments were experienced in complete silence, except the sounds of surrounding nature.

I speak of these moments in past tense as if they no longer exist; these moments still play a huge part in my life and how I sometimes clear my head. I still take these moments when I can get them and don’t take them for granted. A walk around a park, or through a neighborhood, takings in a beautiful sunset, watching millions of stars litter the sky.

I often find myself feeling like a kid during these moments in time. Making a wish on a star, or before blowing out candles on a cake. There is no such thing as being too old, or being ridiculous; dancing wildly to a song, or running around in the rain. It gives a sense of freedom, and no care to the rest of the world or what they may think.

The time spent throughout the years enjoying the freedom, gives me a sense of relaxation and almost a new outlook once the moment is over. I have tried to find ways to enjoy life, and, to me these are the greatest ways I know how. Every person is different, and that can be the greatest part. Learning how other people enjoy their life gives you the chance to also share yours. IMG_0144

End of One, Start of Another


It seems hard to believe that I have reached this crossroads. There were times I never thought it would happen, as well as wanting it to happen a lot sooner than it did. With reality setting in, I keep going through a range of emotion. Fear, excitement, independence, uncertainty. It almost feels like I’m cutting the lifeline my parents created 22 years ago and I’m finally doing everything on my own.

Nearing the end of my time living and working in Lincoln, NE, I can’t help but think how perfect the timing has been. Though I will miss spending my Saturday’s in Memorial Stadium cheering on the Huskers, I have spent four years in a place I knew would only be temporary. I never imagined I would stay after graduation, but life happens and I have been here two months longer than originally planned. However, my time has finally reached an end with my sights set forward on what’s to come.

I have spent many years exploring and playing soccer in Overland Park, KS. During high school, I would always say if I were to live anywhere other than Omaha, that’s where it would be. It’s funny how that’s how it’s worked out. I don’t feel like I’ll be starting over necessarily. It seems more a new opportunity. I’m excited to have the opportunity to set out on my own at a point in my life when I’m still able to do so.

Of course, with that excitement comes fear. Going to a new city where I know few people is slightly terrifying. Not knowing what to expect once I am finally there is a little daunting. I’m no longer going to be just an hour away from home; a phone call will be all I have, unless a three hour drive is necessary. I always used to say I would never move farther than just down the street from my parents. It’s funny how perspectives change with experience. I’m sure homesickness will occur more than once, but it helps having close friends just down the street.

Making a transition between cities (and states) will be hard, especially since finding another Husker fan won’t be easy. ☺ Regardless of the hardships and unknowns lying ahead, I’m ready for my journey in Lincoln to end, and the one in Overland Park to start. I am going to miss what I’m leaving behind as I am moving forward.



Although the Fourth of July was a week ago now, there are still memories from that night fresh in my mind.

In past all through my childhood, my family would always spend the Fourth grilling out, sometimes go swimming, and then find somewhere to watch fireworks together.

This year, I felt like a kid all over again. I celebrated the holiday differently than I had in the past, and it was something I hope to never forget.

I have never set off fireworks before. I always told myself something bad would happen if I did, even if I was being smart and careful. Last week, I experienced what it was like for the first time. It was a different feeling running back and forth each time I would set one off.

Although some things from that night haven’t changed from what I am used to, it was fun to truly see my inner kid come out. It was an exciting experience, and I know there won’t be another time where it will feel the same.

I’m just glad I was encouraged to try it just once, because that was all it took for me to realize just how fun it can be.

The Recent Grad Search

Placeholder ImageI’ve heard it been said, that graduates usually don’t have trouble finding jobs right out of college. Maybe this holds some truth, especially with those, like me, who were already working in a job that they were going to continue after graduation.

However, there are others, also like me, that aren’t having as much luck. Now I can say from my own personal experience that it’s easy to overlook those other people in the same position.

I have taken some time to read articles with suggestions on how best to prepare for an interview, and have found ways to present myself better, especially with the initial phone screen. Filler words such as “like” and “um” and even sometimes “yeah” can either be associated with nervousness, or disinterest, and no one wants to come off that way when a job opportunity is on the line.

Preparation can be a key factor, but it isn’t a unique idea. Everyone else who found that posting is doing the same thing, if not more, to compete for that job. And maybe they already have a leg up on you. I have been in a number of positions where I have landed an in-person interview for a position where sales experience wasn’t a requirement; it was posted in the job description that all skills needed were going to be taught in training contingent on hiring.

Eventually that fateful email or phone call comes, stating they went with someone who has that experience. I can understand this; it’s easier to bring someone in who has already been exposed to something similar.

However, it begins to get disheartening once it’s not longer just one, but dozens. It’s hard to know what you’re up against, and sometimes doing your best and presenting yourself the best way possible just isn’t enough.

The continued search starts to get harder. Maybe a slight panic attack or two. And it gets to the point where you feel like you just aren’t letting yourself down, but also those that have been supporting you through the process. I’ve been there and it’s not a great feeling.

I will say job searching is nothing like I thought it would be. And maybe I was too optimistic in how quickly I would be able to find a place to start my career. Everyone says something will work out eventually. It’s just hard to know when “eventually” is.


My 33 Pairs of Cleats

Ever since I was five, I knew that soccer was what I wanted to do. I even quit dance to focus all of my attention on playing.

From the age of eight through my senior year of high school, I played on a number of different teams. The number of cleats doesn’t quite reach 33, but it may be more than one person would expect. Each team and club that team was a part of taught me something new. Looking back now, it all jumbles together. One thing I won’t forget is the friendships that came from each group of people I played alongside.

Finding a New Team

I remember each time I would head into the first practice with a team completely nervous. It was unfamiliar territory, and I was going in without knowing anyone. By the end of the hour and a half, there would be one or two people who I could easily talk and laugh with.

Leaving one team for another was always hard. The time spent never lasted longer than two years. Each time was harder than the last. The support I had from teammates and parents was appreciated, but it never took away from what I had gained and what I was losing.

Finding a New Me

The constant change between teams has made a huge impact on my life now. Having to put myself out there for every first practice made me become more outgoing than I was, and more willing to hold conversations with people I don’t know. This is just one of the invaluable lessons I have taken away from my career as a soccer player.

Teamwork is something that will never go away, and the relationships with teammates are crucial and unlike any other. You couldn’t ignore a person if you didn’t along. You had to be able to read everyone’s mind to know exactly where they were going and where they wanted the ball to be played.

Finding the Value in Others

Working together toward a common goal creates an energy unlike any other feeling. You can see it everyone’s eyes that they want that prize as much as the person standing next to them. Standing together in a circle as teammates shows that everyone is in it together, fighting for one another. We are there to help each other up when we fall, and will work hard for each other until the final whistle.

There truly is no feeling that even comes close in comparison.

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