Malcolm Jenkins has something big on his mind today, as he reports to training camp to go to work for another year.
But the Eagles safety spent the last day of his offseason talking about a bigger burden.
Via Tim McManus of ESPN.com, Jenkins spoke yesterday at Michelle Obama’s Beating the Odds Summit at Howard University, taking to a crowd of first-generation college-bound students about the pressures they face and how to deal with them.
“I know for me, mental health wasn’t anything we talked about when I was in school. But . . . I am in therapy once a week at this point in my life because I recognize that I’m somebody who’s responsible for a lot of things, and I put a lot of pressure on myself, and so with that comes stress and a little anxiety,” Jenkins said. “A lot of you, if you’re a first-generation college student, you’re the first one to do it. You feel like your family is counting on you, depending on you. You have these outside pressures that are on top of being a college student. You have to find ways to recognize that and deal with that in a healthy manner.”
The group included students who had dealt with issues from homelessness to special needs, and the seminar was designed to help give them strategies to succeed as they pursue a post-secondary education.
“Allow yourself to grow. Allow yourself to grow into whoever it is you’re going to become. College is not the end goal. It is just a process,” Jenkins told the students. “So there is going to be plenty of times when you fail. You might meet some confusion. You may change majors. Whatever it is, you might take some time to figure out what you really want to do. Your beliefs may change as your experiences change. But treat college as just that: an opportunity to learn and grow as an individual and really find your own purpose.”
It’s part of the work Jenkins has continued to do through The Players Coalition, which has worked with Obama’s Reach Higher Initiative in the past. The Coalition’s three main areas of focus are criminal justice reform, community and police relations, and education.