By Sarah Lloyd, Swimming World College Intern
I hope you’re getting settled into your new room at your new school. I hope your excitement about starting on a new team outweighs the nerves you have about it. I hope that you’re not too intimidated by the sheer number of people you have to get to know over the next few days and that your new teammates are making you feel welcome and accepted.
College is very different from high school, but you’ve probably already figured that out. I hope you’ve also figured out that college swimming is something very special. By being on the roster, you automatically have somewhere between 25 and 50 new best friends, training partners, and teammates that will be there for your whenever you need them.
You have three classes of teammates ahead of you that have already been through this awkward and weird time that you’re experiencing right now and you can ask them for help when you need it. They know what it’s like to not know where to put your gear bag in the locker room or where to put your laundry loop. They know what it’s like to not know what to expect from your first few weeks of practice. And they know the “I just kinda want to go home” feeling that you might be having. They know, they care, and they want to make you feel like a part of the team.
This year, you are almost guaranteed to take a class that an upperclassmen on your team has taken, so take advantage of offered help in that class. Ask older teammates how to best prepare for exams, papers, and other assessments for particular teachers. Maybe they’ll offer to take you to some prime study spots in the library or let you in on the best after-hours snack options on campus. They’ll be quick to let you know which professors are awesome and which ones should be avoided if possible.
Your freshman year is something kind of magical. It’s the first time you’ll be on your own, which means you’ll also have a lot of responsibility. You’ll have to get yourself to workouts, get to bed at a reasonable hour, and get your homework done all on a schedule that you set up for yourself, which can be a bit daunting. You’ll miss home sometimes and feel like you can’t handle classes, swimming, friends, and getting adequate sleep all at once.
But you’ll also meet some of the most amazing people, experience new things, and push your limits in the pool in a new way. You’ll laugh so hard you snort and lose track of time sitting on a dorm room floor watching a favorite movie on a laptop with teammates after a Saturday workout. You’ll find something your passionate about and you’ll be encouraged to chase it.
So freshmen, take advantage of the wonderful support system that is your new team. Embrace the weird, awkward moments that you’re going to have. Take risks in and out of the pool (good risks, that is), and have fun.
Lots of love,
A Nostalgic Senior