The Brown and White spoke with football seniors RaShawn Allen, Jan Maciejewski, Justin Gurth and De’Shun Mickens to share lessons they’ve learned from their four years as Mountain Hawks and their plans following graduation in May. This is an installment in The Brown and White’s senior athlete Q&A series.
Question: What has been the highlight of your Lehigh football career?
RaShawn Allen: My first victory against Lafayette was a huge moment. Just being surrounded by all the students and alumni supporting us. It was the first time I got to truly experience the rivalry and what it meant to so many different people at Lehigh.
Jan Maciejewski: This last win against Bucknell will go down as a testament to the mental strength and determination of this group and our career as Lehigh football players. To overcome so much adversity, seeing so many people leave the program, blocking out tons of outside noise, but still sticking together to build things back up to get a win after a long streak of losses and lack of success is huge.
Justin Gurth: The highlight of my Lehigh football career is most definitely all the relationships and bonds I have formed with all of my teammates. We are truly a close group that has a tremendous culture. I’ve also enjoyed the network I’ve built with the football alumni.
De’Shun Mickens: The highlight of my football career would be my sophomore year. I got hurt right before the season started, and I was told by my doctors that I would miss about eight weeks, which was a third of the season, and I worked so hard leading up to that moment. I continued to push myself and kept working and rehabbing my injury. I recovered quicker than I was supposed to, and I was able to return to action the fifth week of the season against Colgate.
Q: How has being a member of Lehigh football shaped who you are today?
RA: It has allowed me to grow as a better leader. I have developed into the type of person that is worthy of leading my teammates and being someone that they can look up to.
JM: I don’t think Lehigh football necessarily shapes an individual, but it reveals their character, and it really shows you who they are. A program like this caters to people willing to chase their dream and do whatever it takes to win, as you see with so many Lehigh football alumni that are absolutely killing it in the real world. I now know a lot more about myself, those around me and life thanks to Lehigh Football and my experiences here.
JG: It has taught me how to be a better leader and motivator in all aspects of life. Whether that is becoming more self-aware or holding my teammates accountable to the standards that we set for ourselves. I’ve also become more well-rounded.
DM: It has taught me a lot about myself and challenged me personally to do things I’m uncomfortable with doing. It’s also allowed me to be a better man by being able to take responsibility for my actions and doing what I need to do as a part of this team.
Q: What has been your greatest challenge as a Lehigh student-athlete?
RA: Just balancing football and also a very tough engineering degree. I had to learn time management very early on during my time at Lehigh. Dealing with crazy schedules and practice times some weeks wasn’t ideal, but I learned to work around the pockets of free time that I had during the day.
JM: Definitely the sharpening of mental toughness and finding balance with everything going on. It’s hard to push through when the going gets tough, but that’s life. I love the opportunity to pick myself up after a challenging lift or a game or practice and attack the day no matter how sore, injured, physically or mentally beat up I feel.
JG: My greatest challenge has definitely been staying organized. Also, managing my time efficiently with a crazy schedule.
DM: Just getting involved with more things on campus. Being a student-athlete requires a lot, and most of our time is taken up by our sport. I feel like I haven’t been able to do much within our school like being a part of different organizations.
Q: What are your plans after graduation?
RA: I still haven’t decided my plans. I’m trying to keep a present focus and take things day by day.
JM: I plan to spend a lot more time with my family, find a good job in Northern New Jersey or New York City and travel a lot. I am looking for a technology or financial role within consulting or data analysis. I would love to get involved in venture capitalism or something within a space like that someday down the line.
JG: I am not 100 percent sure what my plans for after graduation are at this point in the school year and season. I’m just excited to attack these next two games.
DM: My plans after graduation are still up in the air. I’m choosing to decide whether or not to take my remaining eligibility to keep playing football or to obtain a job within the FBI.