Coming into your freshman year of college, there is a million things coming at you all at once. At each corner there is a new transition, new experience, and a new obstacle. While every freshman experiences their first year differently, those that choose to commit to a sport at the collegiate level, experience a whole different kind of whirl wind.
As the fall athletic season comes to a close, freshman fall athletes begin to reflect on their first season representing Wilkes University, on and off the field.
Fall athletes are different than other seasonal athletes due to the fact that fall athletes arrive on campus for preseason two weeks prior to the rest if the student body. This two week period is completely dedicated to their sport, practicing twice a day, every day. These two weeks allow for crucial team bonding and creating internal relationships among teammates. It also helps freshman athletes get acquainted on campus, and get a little more comfortable with college life.
Avery Harris, a freshman field hockey player, talked about her first experience during preseason, “I have never been so exhausted in my entire life, preseason is a lot of work. But it was also a lot of fun and made the transition easier for me. When classes started, I already had a support system right on campus.”
All athletes are held to the highest standard, expected to excel on the field, and in the classroom. As a college freshman, still learning the ropes, you may feel an endless amount of pressure from all areas.
According to freshman, Julia Kiss, time management is key. “The most crucial transition was time management. It was a little bit difficult with practice times always varying and trying to find time to fit in my huge workload. The long bus rides helped me out a lot because I was able to get a lot done. But, it still turned out to be far more difficult than it ever was in high school.”
As an athletic department, Wilkes strives to allow athletes to balance all aspects of a well-rounded college career. As freshmen come in, they are provided all resources the campus can offer. Coaches work to provide tutoring, mentoring and other opportunities if a student-athlete so desires.
“It was very helpful for this transition knowing I had people wanting me to succeed, and helping me find what I needed to make sure I did”, explained Kiss, in discussing how she dealt with the obstacles she faced during her first experience as a college student athlete.
While the challenges and obstacles may seem overwhelming, the end result overrides all. Having the opportunity to continue playing your sport is something many people will never get the chance to do. The Division III athletics aim to bring in athletes that have the competitive drive to dedicate to a sport, while keeping school as a top priority. This is an experience that is hard to come by, and even harder to grasp.
Even after the adjusting, the long days, the early mornings and late nights, freshmen could still look back at their first season and never truly explain the grateful feeling they had to be apart of their individual programs.
When asked about one of her favorite memories on the field, freshman standout, Gianna Gennets, responded quickly, “My favorite memory for this season was beating FDU. The energy in the locker room, warming up, and finally getting on the field was incredible.”
It is these memories, feelings of excitement that make each season unforgettable and athletes patiently awaiting the next. If you’ve never been on a team at the collegiate level, it is hard to understand the amount of sacrifice; Wilkes’ athletes and all athletes give up.
As a freshman athlete, you truly never know what to expect, you never expect to come into a team and become a family in a few short months, you never expect each game to fuel a fire inside of you, you never expected the amount of work, and never expected to find a new love for a sport, you already thought you loved.
After your first season as a freshman, you build the rest of your seasons off of that very first season.
Kiss, reflects now that she has concluded the season, said, “I ended up proving myself wrong and all of my friends here so far have come out of playing with the team and I do not regret it at all. I also think that I have grown a lot as a player on the field with the experiences and practice that I have gotten this season.”