When I made the decision to continue my education at Juniata College, I also decided to end my career in sports. I had played sports since the fourth grade and continued to play soccer, softball, and basketball throughout my high school years. However, in college I wanted to focus solely on academics and keep my options open to other extracurricular activities. I thought about taking up dance, as I had when I was younger, or finding a new passion. During my freshman year, I stayed true to this plan. I delved into my schoolwork and found some new hobbies. I took up some intramural sports.
However, I soon began to miss the competition of athletics and having a team of tight-knit friends to rely on and work with. Prior to my freshman year, I had never realized how beneficial athletics had been as an outlet, and I realized that I needed some activity to help me refocus and stay on track. These feelings led me to reconsider athletics––specifically softball––at Juniata.
The choice to play softball at Juniata was a very emotional decision. I was worried that I would not be able to handle my course load while balancing the busy practice and game schedule. I learned a lot about my learning style throughout freshman year, and had been successful academically, but I still worried that softball would hinder my long-term goal of getting into dental school. I was also worried that I would not be good enough, as I had not played softball in over a year. After some contemplation, I decided to give it a try and it was truly one of the best decisions I have ever made.
I am now beginning my junior season for the Juniata College softball team. The coaches and faculty have been especially helpful in supporting our teams and allowing us to be successful in all realms of life. I have rarely missed class because of softball games and for the few that I have, my professors have been understanding and helpful in making sure that I don’t fall behind on the coursework. I also find that while in season, staying a bit busier helps me to stay more motivated to be focused and manage my time. I have been blessed with new relationships with my strong, energetic teammates and have developed a new appreciation for the benefits of athletics along the way. There is also a great support system of Juniata coaches, trainers, and faculty that have made the experience even more wonderful. The joy and positive energy I get while playing on this team is addictive and I am looking forward to the season ahead!