Before you enter college, everyone tells you how fun it’ll be—the boys (apparently they’re much cuter in college, which I have since learned is a lie), the parties (apparently there is a lot more booze and drugs, which I have since learned is true), and no parents (unless you live twenty minutes from home like me). They tell you to stay there for as long as possible because the “real world” pretty much sucks. Some warned me about the work, that freshman year would be the hardest because I would have to adjust to the dorm life and the level of work. And I knew my college experience would be a little harder than the average students’ because I had decided to play on the college’s lacrosse team, which was ranked in the top five of DII; but even after talking to the upperclassman on the team before I officially became apart of it, nothing could have prepared me for what I had gotten myself into.
I started off strong. The schoolwork was so incredibly easy; nothing like the horror stories people had fed me. I even managed to end my first semester with a 3.934, something I didn’t think was possible. I started writing for the school newspaper, The Dolphin, and was given the position of Assistant News & Features Editor (I became the News & Features Editor during the spring). And my life on the lacrosse was even better. I was proving myself, proving to everyone that I had the skill and drive to become one of the key players on the team as a freshman. I was making a name for myself on campus. College was everything it was supposed to be.
Then came second semester.
Since my grades were so great my first semester I decided to challenge myself and join the honors program. I liked my teachers, some more than others, and I could still manage the work, but my days became much longer and way more tiring. And with the lacrosse season in full swing everything was happening at the same time—I couldn’t breathe. Usually lacrosse would be the one thing to calm me down, but I couldn’t enjoy it anymore. We were always on the road, traveling up and down New England to play new teams, and I didn’t know what it meant to sleep anymore. Although I was playing incredibly, starting every game, I hated it all. My team was so cliquey. The freshman were always getting yelled at (what felt like every second) for not getting the equipment fast enough, for not being the best of friends with each other, for being too cocky and full of ourselves even though we were all afraid to even talk that much. By the end of season, when I everyone was crying because it was over, the smile on my face couldn’t have been big enough. When we walked off the field from our last game I wasn’t sure if I’d be coming back for a second season.
Throughout this summer I’ve still debated whether I want to play when the school year rolls around, especially after I learned that my head coach wouldn’t be coming back. I’ve thought of all the things I would be able to do without lacrosse in the picture. I would be able to study abroad or do internships whichever semester I wanted to, I would be able to dedicate more of myself to the newspaper, and I would be able to have a life.
Yesterday was the first time I picked up my lacrosse stick in almost three weeks since having surgery on my foot. Once I hit the field, all the thoughts I had about quitting began to feel ridiculous, and I knew I would never be able to bring myself to quit. It felt so good, running down the field and scoring a shot that felt so effortless. I was reminded of why I play, because I love lacrosse. It was so easy to lose sight of that through all the bullshit that happened during the season, so easy to forget that the field is the one place where I feel invincible. To give that up would be giving up a piece of myself, one that I don’t think I’ll ever be willing to. And that’s the annoying thing about loving something—you can never really stop.
Photo courtesy of http://www.lemoynedolphins.com