July 13, 2024

Life is demanding, relentless and at times unforgiving. Even if it feel as if these negatives are taking over, there are always positives to be found.

As with all students, freshman year comes with new challenges and many student-athletes struggle to adjust.

Sydney Truett, freshman accounting major and softball player, is from Albuquerque, N.M. For many out-of-state students, being far away from home and family is a difficult challenge to overcome. 

“The hardest part of freshman year so far has been adjusting to being on my own,” Truett said.

Although being away from home is tough, playing softball at the collegiate level is something Truett has dreamed about since she was a child. 

“I wish I could go back and tell myself to stop stressing about the things that are out of my control and to enjoy each day and what it brings,” Truett said.

Most situations people stress over are uncontrollable, so focusing on the parts of life that can be fixed causes less stress and allows one to have more time to appreciate life. 

Life becomes much easier to appreciate when there are people to enjoy it with, such as Truett.

“My teammates are like family that I gained as soon as I joined the (softball) program,” Truett said.

Damon Keith, freshman business administration major and baseball player, agreed with Truett’s statement that teammates are a support group.

“I like the fact that I get to be a part of a group of friends from our team that will last a lifetime,” Keith said.

According to some student-athletes, having long-term friendships can completely change one’s life around and make the college experience easier and unforgettable. 

“One thing I had to work on was time-management,” Keith said. “It’s important to stay ahead of all my school work so that I can give myself more time, and don’t feel rushed or panicked to get things done.”

By avoiding procrastination and making sure to stay up-to-date with all assignments, there will likely be more time for extracurriculars and creating social experiences. 

Shaunice Harris, assistant softball coach at California Baptist University, said procrastination and time management are two extremely common struggles for freshmen student-athletes

“The biggest growth you see from an athlete from freshman year to senior year is maturity,” Harris said. “How they handle failure, their ability to communicate effectively, time-management skills on how to prioritize their student-athlete life and social life, and so much more.”

Students who are involved in athletics at the collegiate level learn much more than how to throw, kick or shoot a ball.

Student-athletes can develop lifelong skills because of the knowledge they gain from experiences throughout college. Adjusting to the university level may be a struggle at first, but when all the necessary skills to succeed are developed, it can be extremely rewarding.

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