Just over a month ago, I hung up my cap and goggles for good. In two short weeks, I will graduate.
I will no longer be the student-athlete I’ve been for the past four years, and arguably, most of my life. It’s a change I can’t decide if I’m completely ready to take on.
Weight off my shoulders
There are parts of the student-athlete lifestyle that I am eager to move past. Waking up at 5 AM at least three days a week to dive into a chilly pool is a big one. Having school assignments on top of pool assignments with little time or energy to do either is another. Being forced to dedicate most of my time to being successful as both a student and an athlete at the same time is yet another huge stressor whose weight I am prepared to throw off my horribly worn-down shoulders.
However, the absence of most moments that come hand-in-hand with this lifestyle will leave a hole in my heart. I’ll miss conversing with my teammates before and after practices – whether that’s to complain about how difficult the workout was or to express how proud we are of ourselves and of each other for pushing through the pain. I’ll miss bus rides to championship meets, wearing our school colors with pride, and cheering on swimming races and diving performances right in the heat of the action. And, I’ll miss the satisfaction of being able to successfully balance an awesome class presentation with hours of hard work in the pool.
Diving into The Real World
Change is intimidating because the future is unclear. I anticipate that the loss of that important label, “student-athlete,” will result in a temporary loss of personal identity. Being cast out into what I refer to as “the real world” beyond college, without workouts or schoolwork, will be a new experience. Although I believe I have been properly prepared to move on from this era, it doesn’t take away from the knowledge that my life will not be as comfortingly clear-cut as my schedule dictates now.
Having to move forward from one part of one’s life to another is both expected and necessary. I’ll always be proud to be a Phoenix, both in competition and in the classroom, and I will take those feelings of pride and confidence with me to wherever I Move Forward – next.
Kaylie Noll is majoring in Communication with emphases in Organizational Communication and Public Relations, and minoring in Business Administration. She specialized in distance freestyle and backstroke as a member of the Green Bay Phoenix swimming and diving team. In her free time, she works as a Communications and Marketing Assistant with the Green Bay Phoenix, eats ice cream, and watches Criminal Minds on Netflix. After graduating, she dreams of owning a cat and pursuing a career as a sports information director.
TYPO? Did you spot a typo or grammatical error in this story? PLEASE report it NOW to The Grammar Police so we can fix it before a potential employer – or one of our parents – sees it and busts us! Report it: HERE! Thank you 🙂