Playing a sport in college

My name is Erin Schlegel and I am a junior Biology major at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. In high school I ran cross country and winter and spring track for 12 seasons. Running was my life, but I did not want to attend a Division I school because I wanted my college experience to revolve around much more than running. I choose Catholic because it was Division III. This seemed ideal for me because I could still be on a cross country team, but I also could have time for friends, studying, and for fun. Joining the cross country team was the best decision I have made in my college career and I highly recommend for anyone who did sports in high school to continue with sports in college.
As a member of the cross country team I got to move in before the rest of the freshman because we started practice a few days earlier. This was a great advantage because I got to get used to the campus when it was not crowded and I was able to move everything into my room without having to worry about my roommate moving in as well. The nights there without a roommate were a little lonely but it definitely was worth it to make the moving process so efficient and less stressful. Being on campus early with just the athletes was also a great perk. This allowed me to meet people in a smaller setting and I was able to form some great friendships those first few days. Also, being part of the cross country team allowed me to meet upperclassmen and become very friendly with them as well. Eventually the upperclassmen became some of my greatest friends and role models but those first few days of freshman orientation it was so nice to walk around campus already knowing seniors, juniors, and sophomores. I felt so ahead of all the other freshman on move in day because I was already moved in, already knew the campus, and I already knew so many people.
Besides giving me a head start adjusting to college life, being on the team also helped me stayed organized and on top of my academics. Having practice at a certain time each day forced me to schedule in times for me to complete homework. This really allowed me to make sure I stayed on top of my studies instead of procrastinating on things until the last minute. If I had a meet over a weekend, I would make sure I worked very hard that week to get everything done that was due on Monday. Being on the team also gave me some great adult figures in my life as well, which aided in the adjustment from living with my parents to living on my own. My coaches were so kind and understanding and really tried to help the freshman adjust to being at school and to being a collegiate athlete. I would highly recommend that incoming freshman try out for a sport’s team. Even one that you have never tried before (assuming the school is Division III). Being on a team is a great way to make friends, stay organized, and to learn leadership and teamwork which are important values that can be applied to everyday life.

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