December 2014

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81 season. Nerves are a natural thing, especially when it comes to change, and even more so when it comes to getting out of your comfort zone." Kelba does not speak Vietnamese, yet, as an English teacher, she communicated with and instructed 22 seventh-grade Vietnamese students. She doesn't play soccer, either, but that didn't keep her from instructing the sport to children. "Coaching soccer allowed me to take away some of the most important lessons on the trip," Kelba said. "Mostly getting out of my comfort zone, being able to think on my feet, adapting quickly, fake it 'til you make it, and embracing the unknown." While in Vietnam, Kelba learned the importance of planning. She adapted (and managed to flip eggs with chopsticks). She understood the power of a smile (even if the grin at the other end was confused why anyone would put a diamond stud in their nose). She realized that she was a role model. "I have more confidence in myself approaching opportunities, knowing that I went through a month in rural Vietnam and succeeded," Kelba said. An initial impression occurred on Kelba's first day in the Southeast Asian country. She was in Ho Chi Minh City with nine others involved in the Coach for College program. Hundreds of scooters made crossing the street difficult and a native elderly man was amused by Kelba's hardship. e man's smile turned to a laugh. Kelba made eye contact, then she noticed what she interpreted as a good omen for the rest of the trip. "I realized he was wearing a Hawkeye shirt," Kelba said. L auren Kelba took a leap of faith in the summer and a proverbial net appeared before she hit the ground. Kelba, a fih-year senior diver for the University of Iowa, spent most of a month in Vietnam involved in the Coach for College program. e service brings student-athletes from institutions in the United States to Vietnam to teach academics, sports, and life skills to children in rural areas of the country. By the time she returned home 3 ½ weeks later, Kelba thought she had learned more than the students she tutored. "Like college, my expectations for Coach for College were similar," Kelba said at a UI athletics department all-staff meeting Nov. 19 in Carver- Hawkeye Arena. "I knew it would be life changing, but I didn't know how. I knew the relationships and friendships I was going to build would be so impactful, but I didn't know who. And I knew my perception of the world and my goals for the future would be changed drastically, but I didn't know to the full extent." Kelba is from Calgary, Alberta, Canada, and is pursuing a double-major in recreation and sport management and ethics in public policy. She has the fourth-best Hawkeye score in platform diving (256.95), sixth-best in 3-meter (327.60), and seventh-best in 1-meter (295.95). Kelba redshirted last season. If, as Kelba said, competing for the University of Iowa is one of the greatest experiences of her life, then volunteering at Coach for College is a close second — even if it did involve a 44-hour Monday on her return trip to North America. "I was nervous about traveling to the other side of the world by myself," Kelba said. "I was nervous about missing training time for the upcoming

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