Transitioning to a college team

Russell takes shot against Johnson University in fall pre-season match. Photo by Ariana Hansen.
Russell takes shot against Johnson University in fall pre-season match. Photo by Ariana Hansen.

 

During my first semester at Maryville College, a typical day for me became waking up early for 6 am conditioning, dragging myself to my classes, spending two plus hours on the tennis court in the evenings and staying up late to study for the next morning.  I would not change a thing about it.  As a biochemistry major, I have to make sure I have time to get the grades I need to get into my future graduate school.  Playing tennis, though it seems would pose a challenging schedule, turned out to be what kept me sane and organized this semester.  I learned how to schedule my study time around practice and going to practice allowed me to have social time and have a few stress free hours before I had to study for another chemistry quiz.  Being a member of the team also provided me with a wonderful support system.  Not only were my teammates supportive of my endeavors, they also provided insight and advice on my coursework while also giving me the sympathy any person taking General Chemistry requires.

Being on a team is something I have done my whole life.  I went to a very small high school.  I participated in almost every sport so we could have a team.  Of all the teams I have been on, this team has been the best one yet.  Tennis may be perceived as a lone-man kind of sport, but one has to count on the other to perform in order to take victory.  In the short time we were together for the fall we all became very close.  We woke up together to run sprints in the Alumni Gym at 6 am, met up in the afternoon to hit on the court and usually ended the day with a meal in Pearsons.

One thing I was apprehensive about when joining a collegiate team was the social aspect of a new team.  As I said above, I went to a small high school and I had known just about all of my old pals for years.  So having to get to know new people was something that was very stressful for me.  However, when the time came for me to meet my new teammates, I had been through the three weeks of the Scots Science Scholars bridge program and through another week of freshman orientation.  Now all I had to worry about was fitting in with the older players.  Being added to a GroupMe for tennis was a very exciting day for me, which shows how much of a “freshie” I was…and probably still am.  When they announced we were all going to get together to hit, I became really nervous.  But the moment I stepped on the court for the first time after walking down the steep Copeland parking lot, it all felt right.  Each person welcomed me and never once did I feel like I had to earn their respect through some kind of ritual.  Being on a college team is the best decision I could have made and recommend it to all.

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