A week ago from today, I cheered my very last game at the CFE Arena. It was bitter sweet, and my Knights pulled through at the end and we came out with a win against Tulane! I've had an amazing three years creating memories and friendships that will last a lifetime. I've gotten to cheer for football, basketball and volleyball, go to Ireland, compete at the college national championships, and make friends that I'll have for the rest of my life! I'm so blessed to have had all of these opportunities and I wouldn't change them for the world!
Being a student athlete gives you a different college experience than just being a college student. You have more responsibilities, less free time, and in my opinion a lot more fun! Being a part of a team is one of the best feelings in the world, because you know you have 50 other people going through the same thing as you, and who you can count on at any time. As a co-ed team, having guys that are like my brothers I never had has been a really great experience for me. Aside from creating lasting friendships, I've learned many life lessons being a student athlete that I will take with me throughout my life, and I wanted to share the five things I think stick out to me the most!
1. Never try to guess what you're coaches are thinking! From an athletic standpoint, this is so true in my opinion. We would try to predict what might be coming next, or what direction they're going to give us, and we were wrong about 99.9% of the time! This taught me to go with the flow and trust what your bosses say. Being able to adapt quickly in a situation can help you in the business world, athletic world or any kind of situation really.
2. Your teammates aren't just your teammates, they'll become your best friends and your family. For someone like me being thousands of miles away from home, as many of my teammates were, this group of people becomes your family. Practices and workouts become something you look forward to because it's almost your home away from home. You are with each other 24/7 it feels like so you become extremely close. My team is very, very close, you'd be surprised! But I think that makes our dynamic together when performing so much better. We have a general mutual respect for one another, which I think is important in any sort of business relationship you'll have in life.
3. Being on time means arriving early and being READY to start at practice time. Personally, I like to think of myself as a very punctual person. I hate feeling rushed and being late means you're rushed and that feeling does not go over well with me. If one of us is late for practice or workouts, there are always consequences whether it's waking up at 5am to run or staying after practice to do stadiums. For a job, interview, appointments or anything, being on time is the first impression you have to make on that person. Making good impressions are really important to building relationships and I think being on time leaves a positive impression of the person that you are.
4. The minute you're "hired" as an athlete is the minute you're also hired as an ambassador to your university. Putting those three letters on your chest is a big responsibility, and what you do "off the field" is now just as important as what you do "on the field". You are a representative of the university and it's so important to maintain a positive image for yourself, your team, and your university. This is true in any role you take in the future. You are a representative of any endeavor you involve yourself in, and you are representing something or someone. Maintaining a positive image is never a bad thing!
5. How to apologize, and accept an apology. Nobody is perfect, and you're going to make mistakes. How you handle those situations is what really defines who you are. Our coach would take it upon herself to give us steps to saying I'm sorry. As college students and young adults, we're prone to making mistakes because we are still learning and growing as individuals. It's important to be able to realize when you've made a mistake, handle it respectfully, and be able to accept someone else's apology.
I've had some of the most amazing experiences, and I'm so sad it's all ending, but I'm ready for a new chapter in my life! Graduating and knowing I won't have work weekend, and camp, and football season to look forward to is disappointing, but I know I have many more opportunities ahead of me! I've put together a little slide show of some photos from senior knight and my last three years! Feel free to share your experiences with me as well! Thanks so much for reading!