9 Things You Realize When You Are No Longer A College Athlete
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9 Things You Realize When You Are No Longer A College Athlete

How to move on from being a college athlete while still attending college.

9 Things You Realize When You Are No Longer A College Athlete

I went to college to play softball. My family knew this, my friends knew this, and my whole hometown (and even across the state) knew this. Since I was eight years old my only goal was to play Division I softball. I wanted to play on ESPN and prove to the world what I was made of. Once I got here though those dreams started to slip away.

I got to campus and was given all of this sweet Nike gear, my favorite was the backpack with my number and sport on it, so walking around on campus I was labeled as athlete. I felt so cool, a student athlete at Syracuse University, could life get any better. I worked hard my freshman year, I lost the freshman 15 instead of gaining it (thank you 6 a.m. workouts) and constantly tried to prove I deserved to be on the field. Just like many circumstances in life though, sometimes you just don’t get the shot and are put on the back burner, and this was how my college softball career played out. I no longer was happy with the sport. My ambition and drive were gone by about April of my first season.

It was hard to sit on the bench when all I wanted to do was be out there on the field helping my team win, especially since we struggled with doing so. With the opportunities that I was given I managed to prove myself, though these were scenarios in which I was put into fail. After my freshman year, which was full of disappointment and aggravation I received an ACC Academic Honor Roll award. In all the midst of playing softball I had forgotten that I was a great student and had a good head on my shoulders despite softball.

So I rode it out for another year and things just got worse. There was no happiness anymore, no flame, no desire to play the sport and this started to affect my personal attitude. I was no longer that happy, funny, perky person who came into school with the universe at the grip of her fingertips. In the midst of all of this frustration I started taking classes that really got me thinking about my future and I began pursuing interests that would set me up on a path for success. None of these interests were softball or had anything to do with me being miserable playing the sport for another two years. After my sophomore year I made a scary and huge decision to no longer play college softball anymore. I would encourage any college athletes who are having these feelings and a loss of passion for the game to not be scared to walk away, it might just be the best decision of your life. I can now say I am happier and a more positive person all around. In the last few months I have learned quite a few things:

  1. You Don’t Owe Anybody An Explanation. No, those people from your hometown do not know what is best for you, only you can decide this for yourself.
  2. Your Parents Will Understand, Even If It Takes Time. It might be hard for them to adjust to no longer being the athlete’s parent, but if you’re happier, they’re going to be too. Plus when you brag about your great grades or your new internship opportunity they're going to be just as proud.
  3. You Might Lose Some Friends That Were Former Teammates, And That’s Okay. If they cannot acknowledge what’s best for you, you don't need them anyway, it is better to have real friends than ones who are there for conveniency.
  4. You WILL Find New Friends. Whether you meet them through work, clubs, or even classes you might just meet some of the best people in your life now that you can branch out.
  5. You’ll Still Have Your Real Friends To Support You. Those friends that have always had your back still will, they'll be happier because you are now too, plus you can devote more time to them.
  6. You Now Have Time To Explore Opportunities. Between joining new clubs, studying, or even going abroad, the possibilities are endless. There’s so much to do and see, why not experience it all while you’re still young and in college
  7. You Can Start Developing Your Career. Finding an internship to fill up the time and practice, learning new skills, and constantly adding to your resume. This is what will help you in getting a job out of college
  8. You Start Putting Academics Above All Else. There's no longer the worry of having to wake up early or being too exhausted from practice to open up your textbook. You can grab that other minor or add a major. There's nothing holding you back from reaching your potential as a student first and foremost
  9. Most importantly, You Can Start to Discover Yourself. Maybe before you saw yourself as simply just an athlete. Once you move away from that title you can begin to see yourself as so much more; an academic, a scholar, a leader, a visionary, and someone who is determined to have a bright future and that starts now.
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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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