While reading, “College athletes enjoy unearned benefits” in the preceding issue of The Villanovan, I found myself humorously perturbed. With each line read, the smile on my face grew in size, for I could not conceive a more contradictory depiction of my academic lifestyle than the one illustrated on the page before my eyes. The obscene generalizations made by the author were so preposterous that all I could think by the end was, “Shoot! Where are these evasive silver platters and how in the world have they managed to elude me for almost two years?!” After mere milliseconds of contemplating this question, my temporarily wishful mind burst back into reality with an answer that I am extraordinarily proud of-“There are none. You’re at Villanova.” Similar to many of my student-athlete peers, and as a walk-on for the men’s basketball team, I was admitted to Villanova entirely on my own academic merit. Upon my arrival at Villanova and acceptance onto the team, I was unsure of how the academic coursework would fit into our demanding schedule. I wondered if I would have to sacrifice my academic success, when need be, for success on the basketball court. My foolish wonders were almost instantaneously disbanded. I quickly grasped that the program’s standards for us were high in all arenas, that our coaches were not only committed to the cultivation of us as players, but equally as students and young men. As a proud Villanova student-athlete, I am thrilled to state that this high standard is not unique to men’s basketball; all men’s and women’s sports at Villanova operate under identically rigorous standards. We field some of the brightest and most diligent Division I athletes in the nation. The smile plastered to my face while reading “College athletes enjoy unearned benefits” was inspired because of these thoughts. Later that day, my smile briskly faded. I read through some student-athlete responses to the article. Some were well thought-out, but the majority of our campaigns against the author were irrelevant, ignorant themselves, merely assaulting the author in a demeaning, unproductive social media firestorm. These responses were not indicative of the values that are ingrained in us each day, learned under the high standards that we are held to by our coaches, professors and the rest of the Villanova community. I hardly endorse anything said in “College athletes enjoy unearned benefits.” However, as a member of the Villanova student-athlete community, I wish that we as a whole would have met such daft, uninformed commentary on our academic lives with smiles similar to the one that I had as I read. As student-athletes, only we have the capacity to understand the depth of the hard work that we put in both academically and athletically, as well as the lack of special treatment we receive with twice the demand. We need not seek validation or empowerment from outside sources, especially not at the expense of another person, for that only makes us appear unsure of own abilities. There is an intrinsic worth to our actions that only ourselves and our teammates can understand, for we are the ones living them. Let the author be, for her harsh words should have no effect on us. Their worth is infinitely less valuable than the worth of the skills and experience that we have, and will continue to obtain in our four-year stints of hard work here at Villanova.