From Student Athlete To Student
It’s estimated that 55.5% of high school students were student-athletes, but only a fraction of those people will continue their athletic career in college. So how does one cope with hanging up your cleats, kneepads, pom-poms, etc.? Giving up a sport is one of the hardest things a teenager can do, but you will survive I promise because I did.
I was a volleyball player for nearly ten years before I had to retire my kneepads and begin my life as a college student. No more long bus rides with my team, no more pre-game pep talks, no more club tournaments, and so much more, “all gone!” I was a part of a team with five of the same girls, from the time we were 13 until we were 18 years old, and we had a bond that compared to nothing else. Through having knee surgery, two qualifying seasons for nationals, two appearances in the state championships, and one state championship title, I couldn’t imagine my volleyball career ending on a higher note. Only two out of the six seniors decided to continue their career in volleyball after high school. Every graduating high school student-athlete has had to decide to continue their athletic career or to leave their passion to play behind. I chose to leave my volleyball career behind me. I never imagined it would be as difficult as it was. Watching my friends play in college and re-watching old matches bring tears to my eyes because I could see the passion in their eyes as well as my own. Although it seems like nothing will be the same, there are ways to move past your old life as a student-athlete and create a new life for just a student.
Going to a major university you’ll be in search of something to fill the void in your heart of where your sport once lived. College is the time where you discover things about yourself you never knew. With opportunities of Greek life organizations, service organizations, internships, honors programs, clubs, and so much more, odds are you will find something that will give you passion again. This is an opportunity to actually to put your academics first, because let’s be honest here we all said school comes first but we all know our sport was our first priority. Some of the other advantages of no longer giving 100% of yourself to a sport include; developing your career, exploring the world or traveling, and even meeting friends you didn’t meet through your sport. However, if you gave up your sport, and start immediately regretting your decision of not working towards the scholarships, you still have options! Chances are your school has a club league and/ or intramural sports, it may not be the same, but it is definitely closer a better option than giving up for good. I was the type of person who tried out for the club team but at the try out I realized part of the reason I loved the sport was because of who I played it with, because of my coaches, and because of the bond we all had. I decided to no longer pursue a club position because it wasn’t the same without my girls. That doesn’t mean it won’t work out for you. The most important thing when it comes to the transition of student athlete student-athlete to student is figuring out what’s best for you and what will truly make you happy. There’s something out there for everyone, and you just have to figure out what your new passion will be.