Graduation is a couple of weeks away, and for the past few months, I have been thinking a lot about the future and starting over. For as long as I can remember, I have been not only a student but a student-athlete. Now, not only am I saying good-bye to Loras College, but I am saying good-bye to being active in my sport, being part of a team and competing, something that has truly made me part of who I am as a person.
I have ran cross and track for as long as I can remember. It is going to be strange because I have dedicated so much time and energy to my sport, and to have that be done when I walk across the stage is just going to be weird. Some of the best memories I have had over the years have been on runs at 6 a.m., on bus rides late at night or being on the track cheering on my teammates. Some of the funniest moments I’ve ever had have been with my coaches and fellow competitors. I wouldn’t trade the past four years for anything.
I guess I just want to know what to do from here. I am ready to put my college degree to use, but am not sure if this will be fulfilling enough for me without being on a team.
Student-Athlete No More
Thanks for raising this issue because there are losses to consider while you are getting ready to throw up your cap and say, “I’m done!” It is a great accomplishment to graduate, but with that brings change, and even when change is good and expected, it can still be hard. Being a student involved in a sport, an organization, a job on campus or what have you, ends to some degree when you are no longer a student. It doesn’t have to end completely though.
First, stay connected to the friends and coaches that you made while active in your sport. Make a point to reconnect for Loras events to support the younger teammates. This is a great way to continue the journey. Also, consider getting involved in another team wherever you move. You can get involved recreationally by creating a team at your workplace or participating in community events. There is always plenty of need for volunteers for sports teams in schools, so seek them out and let them know you are interested.
Running, unlike other sports, is awesome because you can continue it pretty easily after you are done with collegiate competition. For those of you ending your competitive run in other sports, try to stay involved in it in other ways, and if it doesn’t happen, at least feel blessed to have had the experience. It is something that will be a part of you forever.