Student of the Week: Jon Halapio
Jon Halapio, football player of the former National Champion Florida Gators sat down with Breaking.It.Down to discuss his time spent with the Gators, his dedication to his schoolwork, his social life, and the switch that makes his flip to beast mode! Must read.
College: University of Florida
Classification: Rising Senior
Major: Business Administration
BID: Wassup Jon. You’re our first Division 1 athlete to be featured! Congrats, how’s it feel?
J: I am honored to be featured! Thanks for inviting me and asking me these questions. I’m hopeful this interview will help Breaking.It.Down and others.
BID: Thanks a lot man. That means a lot. For we who play football collegiately, we know that playing a college sport is the equivalent of having a full time job. How do you balance school and football, especially at a powerhouse like Florida?
J: Time management is a prerequisite to success in college athletics. At first it was hard to balance out school and football but team leaders at the time, like Brandon Spikes, the Pouncey twins, and Tim Tebow stressed the value of being well balanced. Soon, balancing school work and football became routine, rather than a chore.
BID: The term ‘student-athlete’ has been keenly scrutinized over the years. Do you feel like there is enough of an emphasis placed on the ‘student’ part of student-athlete at the Division 1 level? And what do you do to make sure that you’re fulfilling requirements in and outside of the classroom?
J: Former coach Meyer and current coach Muschamp emphasized that the role of student was equally as important as that of athlete. Playing football my whole life, I have learned from past experiences, and plainly, if you do poorly in the classroom, you can’t play football. That same concept is preached here at Florida, if you don’t go to class or do poorly in the classroom you will not play or participate on the field. I can’t play football for the rest of my life so in order for me to be successful in life I have to take my education as seriously as I take my sport because when it is time to hang up the cleats, I will have something to fall back on.
BID: That’s definitely food for thought for all those prospective athletes looking to play a sport in college! With so much time dedicated to football and school, what do you do for fun? And how would you describe the social culture at Florida? Also, any recommended spots for those trying to visit Gator nation?
J: With most of my time dedicated to school and football, I like going out with my teammates on the weekends or after football games and having a good time with them. I love going back home to St. Pete, Florida to hang with my family whenever I get a chance too because I am a big family guy and I love to spend as much time as I can with them.The social life here at Florida is amazing! The college life outside of school and football can take a toll on you because we are known for being a party school, but other than that, the social life is cool and there is pretty much a mixed crowd so everyone gets along with each other. The spots I recommend for visitors coming to Gainesville are ALL the bars or clubs Downtown! There is so much to do down there that it will not let anyone down.
BID: We need to set up a trip to Gainesville lol! Breaking.It.Down aspires to create a more defined black community at every college in America, how do you think a resource like this could help at Florida? Also, are there times when you wish there was a “Breaking.It.Down” type resource at school?
J: A resource like this can be beneficial for African Americans on campus, as it can help them find out about the latest news and trends and to find out what’s going on around the country at different colleges/universities. Yes, there are definitely times where I find myself wishing that there was a resource like this at UF just so that I can stay aware. I’m just honored to be apart of it!
BID: Thanks so much man. We’re honored to have you here as well. On a lighter note, kids hear all the time about the perks that come along with being a big time athlete (popularity on campus, face on tv, free gear, GIRLLSS). What is your favorite part of being a Division 1 College athlete lol?
J: My favorite part of being a collegiate student athlete is the huge support system I receive. This extends from football to pursuits off the field, and after college.Being a student athlete is a huge blessing and I plan on taking full advantage of it. Although there are many perks with the fame (girls,partying,etc.), I humble myself and stay focused because those same perks can also be your downfall.
BID: That’s a great sentiment. Now, for those who aspire to play a college sport, what advice would you give, and how important is choosing a school with an academic frame of mind?
J: My advice for those who want to play any sport at the collegiate level is to just stay focused. There will be plenty of times when you’ll question yourself, asking, “ Do I want to do this anymore?” But you have to overcome all the adversity and stick to your plan to achieve your goal. Never lose sight of your goal because through all the pain and suffering, there’s light at the end of the tunnel. It is very important to choose a school with a great educational background because sports can only take you so far in life, but receiving an education and degree (especially at a school like UF) can take you a long way.
BID: That’s great advice! Two more questions then we’ll get you out of here. Now it’s the day of a big game, you’re in the locker room getting pumped up, what songs are playing in your headphones?
J: I play a lot of rap songs that get me in a beast mode mind set to dominate my opponent. When you listen to music, it puts you in a state of mind and controls your attitude, so I feel like rap stars such as: Young Jeezy, Rick Ross, Lil Wayne, etc. help gear my attitude towards a mind set of dominating my opponent. So just choose a song or a few songs that get you hyped before a game. In our locker room we have a surround sound system, so before the game while we are getting ready, my teammates always play crunk music to get us hype! lol
BID: Surround sound though? Too dope lol. Now, last question, and we ask this question to every student; here at Breaking.It.Down, we live by the motto “breaking it down is more than a business name, it’s a lifestyle.” How do you break it down? (i.e. I break it down every time I hit the dance floor. I break it down every time I meet a new person. I break it down every time I network. I break it down every time I shoot a basketball….)
J: I break it down every time I take the field and flip that switch to beast mode.
Thanks so much Jon, and we wish you the best! Keep chopping inside the classroom and on the football field.