Being an upperclassman is something that shouldn't be taken lightly.
With age comes responsibility, we all know that. But so does the pressure to be one of the best.
There is always the fear that the incoming freshman will take your spot: run faster, jump higher, play better. With that fear can also come jealousy and reflecting on the ways you can improve.
But let's change that.
If we start looking at our role as an upperclassman to be a safe space for them to come to, those feelings of jealousy will fade.
We are partially responsible for the experience the freshmen have.
When they can't go to their parents or their coaches, we are second best. We give them a friend to confide in. We have been in their shoes many times before, and we knew how hard it was, especially if we had no one to talk to.
Now we have the chance to be that outlet for them.
We show them that you can do good in school, do good in your sport, and still have a social life. It takes time to adjust and adapt, but these will be the best four years of your life, especially while being on a team.
We have the ability to help them learn from our mistakes without having to make all the same ones.
Encourage them to go out and have fun, but remind them that school always comes first, even before the sport. The saying, "You can't relive a party, but you can always retake a class" is so bogus. There are plenty of parties I would miss in order to not have to retake a class, and that is the truth.
Plus, you don't have that much time left at college.
By helping them, you're leaving behind your legacy. You're setting an example for them, so that when they become an upperclassman, they take in the freshmen, just like you did.