Freshman year can be a lot things for a lot of people. I am just as new at this as the next person so here's a little look into what it feels like for me and how I've been taking on my freshman year of college!
Countless nights you spent inside rather than out with your friends because of an early morning. Thousands of "I can't go because I..." texts sent to your best friend when she asks you to come sleep over. Dozens of football games and school events you had to pass up because you have practice or you're out of town for a game. Lots of late nights and early mornings with no mid-day nap in between. Missed calls from friends and family back at home. People looking at you like you're dead as you walk tiredly through the halls and around campus because you're just that exhausted. Welcome to the glorious life of a collegiate student-athlete.
Now, don't get me wrong, it's not all bad. That feeling of accomplishment and productivity at the end of a workout or when you lay your head down at night is honestly indescribable. Knowing that you did something that day to better yourself and your team is such a heartwarming feeling. The love and passion you have for the sport makes all those seemingly awful things not so bad. SO, what is being a student-athlete really like?
I am about a month into my freshman year here and Troy University playing for the soccer team and its everything and nothing that I expected all at the same time. Now, hear me out before you write me off as crazy. I quite honestly didn't exactly know what to expect for college, especially as an athlete. I mean, I've been a student-athlete my whole life, but this is different. This is college. This is the real world, this is real life, it's happening now. I'm 6+ hours away from anyone and anything that I call home and I am expected to just go about my life like normal, as if nothing has changed. Having a jam-packed schedule doesn't exactly help with the whole adjusting thing. For example, an average day can consist of a 6:30 a.m. lift session, then class from 8:30 a.m. to 2:15 p.m. and then practice from 3-5:30 and then a few hours of study hall following that. Crazy I know, but what is even crazier is that we chose to do this.
We love our sport so much that we sacrifice one of our most sacred treasures just to fit it all in…SLEEP. While sports do keep us busy I find that it is easier to fit in a social life or time with your friends or even your teammates than people often make it seem. Even with practice every day and classes all day long I have still managed to see the friends that I've made here at least once or twice a week. Whether it's hanging out at the house, in my room, goofing off in the locker room with my favorite girls or meeting up for lunch just to catch up and fill each other in on our days. Much like everything in life, it takes a lot of hard work and dedication but it is most definitely doable and worth it! That feeling of winning your first collegiate game, or making that first tackle or whatever it may be are moments that you will never forget.
People are going to hate me for saying this but balancing sports, school, and a social life isn't as hard as a lot of people make it. Prioritizing and time management can make for a pretty amazing 4 years at whatever college or university that you choose to attend. Within these 30 days here in Troy, Alabama, I have been some of the happiest I've ever been, I've met some of the nicest and most genuine people ever, and my love and respect for the game and the people who chose to play it has grown tenfold.
With that, I ask again what is being a student-athlete like? Absolutely unbelievable.