The Student-Athlete Experience

There are many reasons to attend college?  What is yours?  And why do you want to play in college. It’s important to write it down or verbalize your intentions because it will help you paint a clearer picture in your mind as you begin the college recruiting process.

College is the bridge to opportunity, experiences, options, and financial stability. Whatever it is you are interested in a college degree can be an essential entry point for pursuing a career. The college experience is designed to help you begin the transition of a dependent being who relies  on your parents to an independent being and a fully functional citizen in our society. The path will undoubtedly have its ups and downs, but they are part of life lessons that incorporate academics, social skills, and a growing sense of independence.

You could certainly find work with a high school degree, but the type of work you can do may be limited. The connections you make in college can be of major importance throughout your career. Your classmates, teammates, instructors, counselors, and coaches may be able to provide you access to the type of industry you are interested in and may be willing to help point you to those opportunities.

One of the main reasons I hope you want to continue playing at the next level is the joy your sport brings you.   You have to love everything about the sport because it does not get easier.  You have to understand the responsibilities and expectations that come with being a student-athlete. 6 AM lifting, classes all day, practice, film study, and then mandatory study hall.  Your life as a student-athlete becomes a routine.  The other reasons you want to continue playing are that you are a competitor, love being a part of a team, and want to be constantly challenged.  Being a student-athlete goes well beyond the playing field.

Playing intercollegiate athletics is an experience that provides student-athletes with the opportunity to excel in a sport they love, while building an educational foundation for their future. Competing at the next level will provide student-athletes with life lessons that will help them way beyond their college career. Being a part of a team, learning how to win/lose, how to battle adversity, and working towards a goal are just some of the life lessons that will be learned while playing college athletics. To play in college takes a lot of time, commitment, hard work, and perseverance but in the end it is totally worth it.  

Personally,  playing Division I Athletics was one of the greatest accomplishments in my life especially because many people told me I was not good enough.  My experience as a student-athlete taught me more lessons than I could ever imagine.  The defeats and triumphs you experience help shape the person you ultimately become.  

Less than 1% of college student-athletes will continue their athletic career at the professional level.  The other 99% will go on to be professional in something else. Your college decision should not be solely based on athletics.  You should search for the best college experience encompassing your academic goals, athletic experience, and your personal life.   You should enjoy your time as a college student-athlete.  When your athletic career is over,  you will not remember the games or practices during your career but the moments you spent with your teammates in the locker room, on the bus, or in the hotel room.  Being a part of a program is a lifelong fraternity that you will cherish forever.  It’s a bond that you will share with people who have come before you and the ones that will follow. 

I believe it is important to your development to be a part of something bigger than yourself and that is how I feel about my time playing soccer at Mount St. Mary’s.  I have created so many life long bonds with guys who played 10 years before me and guys who have played 10 years after me because we share the bond of playing soccer at The Mount.

The benefits of playing college sports goes way beyond college.  When it is time to leave your college days behind you and enter the “real world” your athletic experience will help you more than you know.  Believe it  or not, employers are more likely to hire a student-athlete over a non-athlete because of what they experienced.   Many student-athletes have high levels of confidence because they have to perform in pressure situations.  You have shown you are able to be a part of a team environment.  Over your athletic career you have probably experienced winning and losing.   Being a student-athlete is no easy task,  you must be able to balance school, sports, and your social life.  Being able to accomplish that requires excellent time management skills which any employer will seek in their employees.  The ability to complete tasks in a timely fashion will be important in whatever industry you decide to pursue.  There will be struggles and defeats and you need to know how to handle those situations.  Well life is no different and having the experience to handle those types of situations will benefit you in life and in the professional world.  

In order to find your college experience trifecta you need to find the “right fit.”  The “right fit” means finding the school that fits your academic, athletic, and personal needs. So go out and find that school where you will develop in the classroom, on the field, and in the community.

Come be a part of GFS and maximize your potential, your experiences, and your community