We had the good fortune of connecting with Alayna Gocke and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Alayna, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking.
Taking risks is essential to growth as an individual. Without risk, you cannot make the mistakes that will make you a better and stronger person or meet people who can change your life. I started taking more risks during my freshman year of college and since then, I have become a stronger, more confident person who is owns her life (flaws, mistakes, triumphs, and successes). This has opened the doors for me to meet new people and learn so much more about life through conversation with these people. It has also allowed me to explore many career options and learn about occupations or organizations that had never crossed my mind before, such as construction. I recently worked at a construction site taking temperatures and aiding in the creation of guidelines to help keep people safe at that site. It made me realize that I might have an interest in construction safety because I enjoyed using my previous safety skills from lifeguarding to work with the wonderful people at that site. Without the risk of speaking up at that site and really getting involved beyond the requirements of my job, I would not have had this same experience.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
So far, I would not say that I am set in a career. I have spent my whole life as a student athlete, which has given me a number of valuable skills such as time management, communication and perseverance. I would like to use these skills in a work environment when I receive my degree in June. I am excited to see where my skills can take me and how I can help other people with them. From swimming, I have learned that no matter how hard you work, your goals might not always be achieved when you wish for them to be realized. This has given me the strength to carry on through the biggest obstacles, such as achieving one of my best quarterly GPAs even when I was displaced from my home when it flooded last quarter. From academics, I have gained the humility to acknowledge that there is always more to learn, which is such an exciting realization. Over the course of my four years at UCSD, I have gained a broader perspective on life and the struggles of those around me. I have learned that everyone experiences their own difficulties and that it is important to show compassion to everyone, because you never know what is happening outside of your interactions with them. I have also gained the understanding that each person I interact with has knowledge or experience that can expand your emotional intelligence and views on life. I have instilled these values into my life and hope to practice this kindness, understanding and compassion towards others as well as maintaining perseverance towards my own goals.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
If my best friend were here, I would have so many good food places for her to check out first (swimmers are always thinking about their next meal…). The Taco Stand is always good, their carne asada burritos are so tasty! In Little Italy, there is a place called Filippis that I love to go to with my dad. It is family styles Italian food and is such good comfort food! Also in Little Italy, there is a place called Monello that my boyfriend and I love for “fancy” dates. It is good food and is not too pricey. We also like to go to a place called Alexanders, which is in North Park. Their pizzas and pastas are so tasty! I would also take her on a tour of my campus because it has a lot of really cool historical art pieces and our library is amazing! In addition, I would take her out to Pacific Beach or Gaslamp Quarter for a drink. The energy in PB is so much fun on Saturday nights. I always see so many people from school and work, which always makes it a fun and interesting experience.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My parents and grandmother have supported me and pushed me to explore my interests throughout my life, allowing me to learn more about myself and grow as I age. All of my coaches in my swimming career gave me important life advice and helped to shape me into the determined and hardworking person that I am today. In addition, my friend, former teammate and mentor, Morgan King, has guided me through my college years and has given me so much strength and wisdom through some of the struggles that I have faced through my time in college. She has spent countless hours to help ensure my success in school and in working towards a future career. I am so grateful to have her in my life.
TJ Aguilera Nick Probert