Cameron Andrews graduated from Paso Robles High School in 2013 and decided to attend the Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. His athletic career with the Mustangs can best be described as a ride on a seesaw, but that adversity taught him valuable life lessons.
During his freshman year, Andrews would commute to school in order to save his family as much money as possible. An admirable decision that not many 18-year-olds are willing to make. Andrews sacrificed his freshman experience, midnight study sessions with friends, homesickness, getting stood up on a date, all of the memories that come with your first year away from your family. Andrews made this sacrifice because he believed it was what was best for his family.
“My twin sister was going to the local community college close to home, and since my hometown was from Paso Robles, I decided to work and commute my freshman year to be the least amount of a financial burden on my parents,” Andrews said.
Andrews’ words show what a kind heart he possess, and if that isn’t an indicator of his goodwill, then what he has chosen as his first task a college graduate surely will.
“After graduating I will actually be going to Anchorage, Alaska, through Americorps,” he said. “I will be working with veterans who suffer from PTSD and the homeless population, and help to integrate them into society.”
Andrews majored in psychology at Cal Poly and hopes to continue his education after his tenure with the Americorps. “I’ve been in communication with the University of Michigan, so after my time in Alaska I plan on getting my Ph.D. there!” Andrews said. “However, I realize that life rarely, if ever, goes according to plan. So I’m open to whatever opportunities or changes life will throw at me.”
Andrews has already displayed a tremendous ability to roll with life’s punches. As a track athlete, he competed in the triple jump and the long jump for the Mustangs, but his career as a jumper was cut short due to injuries.
“Unfortunately, my collegiate track career was plagued with injuries, so the only year I was healthy enough to compete was my sophomore year,” he said. “And even that comes with an asterisk because every meet I competed at I was injured and had to just work through the pain. After that, my coach recommended that I take my junior year off to recover and get healthy after struggling with a few injuries in the fall, and then my senior year I got a career ending hamstring injury pretty early in fall again. So, after that, I painfully decided to finally hang up the spikes.”
While Andrews never had the breakout performance for which he was hoping, all the silent work he put in was starting to pay off. Andrews continued to lift weights, preparing for his comeback. When you are an injured athlete, schools take rehab very seriously and you can spend hours in the gym with trainers. Andrews and the coaches started to notice that perhaps his gift was not in jumping, but in pure, raw power.
“Whatever technical skills I lacked as a track and field athlete, I made up with raw strength,” said the 5-foot-9 Andrews. ”Pound-for-pound, I was the strongest person on the team. I’d give some of the guys who weighed 100 pounds more then me a solid run for their money and in certain lifts beating them. I remember when everyone’s jaws dropped: me — a 155-pound dude — was squatting 405 pounds five times, for sets of five.”
Andrews has his sights set on the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. He has aspirations to lift with the US National team, but has decided to spend his time helping homeless veterans that suffer from PTSD.