It’s a Monday morning and the sun hasn’t risen yet. Travis Kilaknowski rolls over to turn off the alarm on his iPhone as the clock strikes 4:45 a.m. He jumps out of bed, heads to his kitchen and begins to pack his lunch for the day while he drinks a morning cup of coffee. He walks back into his room, grabs his green Army issued duffle bag, looks at his phone as it the clock strikes 5 a.m. and heads out to start his day. Kilaknowski is on his way to physical training, known as PT in Army jargon, just the start to his 14-hour day.
Kilaknowski is a sophomore at Hilbert College where he is on the Men’s Lacrosse team, has above a 3.0 grade point average, and is a part of the Reserve Officer Training Corps program as well as assigned to a unit in the army.
There are 20,000 ROTC Cadets in the USA, less than 20% play an NCAA sport, putting Travis in a very exclusive group.
“Time management was definitely the hardest skill to master during all of this,” Kilaknowski said.
He finds himself doing homework in his 20 minutes of free time between responsibilities, waking up at 4:45 am and not returning home until 7 or 8 p.m. and knowing there is a four page paper that still needs to be completed. And he knows he needs to be asleep early to attend duties in the morning.
His efforts are recognized by his coach, Michael Carberry.
“Travis has had the highest grade point average on our team almost every single semester,” Carberry said. “His work ethic and determination is something we could all learn from”
Kilaknowski knows that it also important to try to make time to have fun and decompress, he said.
“Saturday nights are nights I normally get to hang out with my friends, but I try to spend that time doing work to get ahead of the next weeks schedule,” Kilaknowski said. “I knew what I signed up for so finding enjoyment in the grind is what has helped me get by.”
Kilaknowski finds fulfillment knowing he accomplished everything he needed to for that week, he said.
“Before each week I try to make a checklist of everything I need to finish before I can enjoy my time to myself,” Kilaknowski said. “When I see all the boxes checked off I find fulfillment and pride in knowing, Wow I really did it.”
Organization skills and being prepared for the upcoming tasks is a huge part of time management, Kiliknowski said.
“When I know what needs to be done and have all my ducks in order it relieves stress and makes the journey easier,” Kilaknowski said. “When I don’t have my checklist filled out it’s like a chicken running around with its head cut off.”
Carberry said Kilaknowski is often the hardest working member of the team during practices, despite having so many other responsibilities.
“Sometimes we have to ask him to turn it down a notch but he just doesn’t have that switch in him,” his coach said.
But to Kilaknowski, all the extra effort is worth it in the end, he said.
“I signed up for this so how could I complain if I put myself here?”