As a former collegiate athlete, it is always difficult to watch others play the sport you love. It is even more difficult to know that you will never play at that level again.
After playing varsity field hockey for two years, I pretty much cut all ties with the team when I stopped playing. Since this was the case, I never went to games as a spectator and haven’t seen that much field hockey in the last two years. Over the last month though, this has changed, and I have watched my twin sister, a fifth-year senior co-captain on the Dartmouth College field hockey team, play two games recently.
I had always thought that watching games would be more difficult for me, but in reality it is watching the warm-ups. It is that much harder because I know that I can do the things that they are doing. I can make those shots, and I can beat that defender.
There are some things that I never realized I would miss. Playing field hockey is one of them. I imagine that Lehigh will be another. I have realized that my experience playing field hockey for two years is similar to my college experience. Yes, it was a struggle and sometimes I hated it, but sometimes it was the best time of my life.
In my field hockey down time, I learned to do new tricks, learned something new in class and made a new friend. I branched out and expanded my limits. I left North America for the first time and, then, for a second time. I also learned how to manage my stress because too much of it can cause migraines, and I ended up with a migraine that lasted for thirteen days. This is how I ended up in a hospital bed for eight days and ended up withdrawing from Lehigh for a semester.
There are so many things that I have learned throughout my four and a half years at Lehigh. I have learned to take a chance by going through formal sorority recruitment as a junior and ending up on the executive board. I learned to embrace new opportunities and deal with disappointment. I found my love of traveling and now want to travel to as many countries as I possibly can. I took a shot and applied to be an assistant visuals editor for The Brown and White, and now I am in charge of a visuals staff of six people.
I came to Lehigh as a field hockey player and when I got here, I thought that was the main reason. I was a recruited athlete and knew what I was doing and that I was good at it. What I did not know was that there were going to be so many obstacles standing in my way of succeeding to the level I wanted. When I stopped playing, I lost a part of my college identity that was so important to me. I did not know if I was going to be able to find that part of me again. I know this is cliche, but joining my sorority helped me with that. I found my place on campus after three years of drifting and never feeling at home. I found my best friends, role models and people that I will remain friends with for the rest of my life.
Withdrawing for a semester is honestly one of the best things that I was forced to do in college. It gave me a perspective that I did not know I needed and a much needed break from the high-stress environment that Lehigh is. Yes, it was scary because I was pretty much alone for three months, but it was also an amazing experience that I grew so much from.
There has never been a day at Lehigh that I thought was easy.
Something new is always popping up to throw me off track or to question what I want to do after graduation. I have realized that it is OK to not know what I am doing. That may not be comforting to my parents who keep making jokes about me moving back home and living in the basement, but it is comforting to me to know that even if I have no idea what I am doing, I have overcome so many obstacles. I am confident that I can figure out what I am going to make a career out of. I have no clue what I am doing in five weeks when I am officially done with college classes, papers and finals but I’ll figure it out. I truly believe that everyone can find their place once college ends because college gives you so many opportunities to fail as well as succeed.
You just need to be able to realize that just because you get rejected from one thing doesn’t mean you will be rejected from something else.