College athletics can be fun, exciting, and truly a once in a lifetime experience. However, it can also be stressful, hard, and exhausting at times. Knowing how to get ahead of these feelings is key for an athlete to reach their peak of success in their collegiate career. Using the trials and tribulations of those before you is key to enhancing your collegiate career, especially as a freshman. Here are just a few things that college athletics teaches you that are important to know and understand to help your freshman year go as smoothly as possible.
- You are still a big fish, but now in a much bigger pond.
Being a Virginia Tech athlete is quite the accomplishment, and you had to prove yourself on multiple occasions to get here. You were most likely a big fish in a small pond in high school, often being one of the best if not the best. However, now that you are here, you are among others who were also one of the best in their area as well. Knowing that you now have to share the spotlight and fight even more to prove yourself can be intimidating. However, knowing that the standards are now raised and using them as motivation rather than defeat will be the key to helping you excel in whatever sports arena you compete in. Use your teammates to push you to be better rather than to compare yourself to and put yourself down.
- Setbacks are normal. Learn to embrace them and lean on those around you to support you through them.
You may have had a major setback before college that you had to push through in order to get to this point. Or you may have had pretty much smooth sailing before now. However, odds are that at some point, whether it is your freshman year or senior year, you will face some sort of setback within your college career. It is imperative that you don’t let this low point define you or your career. Remind yourself of the hardships you overcome to get where you are now and rely on the support system around to come back stronger and better than you were before your setback.
- Find a healthy balance between school, sports, and social life.
Time management is something that often feels like something that is elementary. Though the meaning of time management itself is not hard to understand, it is often a concept that many people fall short of mastering. Tackling this concept early, and finding a way to put enough time into school, your sport, and your social circle is important to keeping you happy and performing well in all aspects of your life. As many say, a happy athlete is a better athlete.
- Fully engage in all aspects of being a Hokie athlete.
The Hokie family is a real and very exciting thing. Once you get to Virginia Tech, you will quickly be immersed in the family-like atmosphere. This feeling of ”home” goes beyond even the campus and heightened within the Virginia Tech athletic department. Feed off of the support you get from Hokie fans and use it to push yourself to be your very best. Create relationships with other athletes and support them in their athletic endeavors and they will do the same for you. Having this community outside of your sport that thinks you are incredible is what will get you through the ruts.
- Take advantage of the resources offered to you… and start NOW!
The Virginia Tech athletic department has so many incredible resources to offer to their student-athletes, and the earlier you take advantage of them, the better off you will be both during and after college. Career development, leadership development, and community service opportunities can all be found within the Student-Athlete Development offices and ensure that you are a well-rounded athlete and person. The CAMP staff (Counseling and Athletic Mental Performance) give you a space to share your struggles and worries without being judged and work with you to improve mental state during athletic performance. The sooner you invest in yourself outside of your sport, the sooner you will see it carry over into success in your athletic ability.
Diving into college athletics can be challenging, shocking, and hard. However, using all of the resources around you, being true to yourself, and putting 100% into what you are doing will help you succeed. Reaching your goals and expectations is possible, and working towards them in the right way sooner rather than later will increase your chances of doing all that you want to do within your collegiate career.