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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Writer reflects: What does it mean to be a student athlete at Carleton?

<ir="ltr">As I’m sure is true with other student-athletes at Carleton, deciding to continue participating in athletics throughout college was a big decision.  Committing to athletics takes away time from focusing on academics, which can be a difficult decision. It also adds time to the school year, where some teams are required to be on campus three weeks before the first day of classes. Some teams even have two-a-day practices for the first two weeks and participate in scrimmages and tournaments outside of the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC).  Once school starts, in addition to our regular school day, teams have to lift at least two to three times per week, and practice every weekday for two hours. Throughout the season, there are games once or twice per week. And when the game is on the road, it can include hours of travel. Although competing for Carleton is an enormous time commitment, I feel honored and privileged to attend this school and to also be able to represent it not only as a student, but also as an athlete.

While I have learned many things at Carleton that will contribute to my future career, I have also learned a lot about life and people because of athletics. I have found out, through trial and error, that hard work always pay off, you get out what you put in, timing is everything, you need to be all-in all of the time, and always keep an open mind. But I think the most important thing I have learned from being a student-athlete is to not only respect myself, but to always treat everyone with respect. That not only includes my teammates and my coaches, but all of the people involved that keep the Carleton Athletics program running smoothly, including those outside the sports arena. That also includes our opponents, who we shake hands with at the end of every game to appreciate and respect their effort. There is no enemy.

Being a student-athlete also means prioritizing. It means using your time wisely and it means giving your 100% effort with everything you do.  It means not being afraid to fail.  It means there are no stupid questions. It means being proud of the work you put in day in and day out.  It means that school always comes first. You grow and you learn with your team; they become family.  Teamwork makes the dream work.

For those who don’t play sports, I hope you have something that you are passionate about that makes each day amazing.  Every day before volleyball practice, our coach rolls out a whiteboard.  She puts all of our numbers up on the board, and one by one we write our goals for the day. My goal can be anything I want. If I want to work on hitting the line or tipping the ball to the corner, I write it down.  But before each practice, the first goal I write down in big letters is:  HAVE FUN.  Because if you can’t find the fun in what you are doing, why are you doing it in the first place?

It is often stressed that Carleton College is a welcome environment where we are encouraged to support our peers in all of their endeavors. “Find what makes you happy” and “Don’t be afraid to show who you are.” I hope that as a student body we can come to appreciate that what makes all of us unique is our passions. For my teammates and I, our passion is athletics. It is what makes Carleton so special, and what makes being a student-athlete so much fun. 

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