The UCONN coaching staff recently asked our three seniors what they wish they knew as freshman.
Top 5 Things I Wish I Knew As a Freshman
Freshmen year can be a whirlwind of excitement; new people, places, and experiences await. Now that I am a senior, there are a few things that I wish I had known as a freshman that might’ve made my journey through my first year of college a little bit easier. So, here are those top five things: 5. Absolutely avoid 8am classes at ALL costs. Coming right out of high school I know it seems like waking up early for an 8am class isn’t a big deal. It is. Avoid taking 8am classes if you can. Your body will definitely need the extra sleep and time to adjust to the busy schedule here. If you are brave enough to enroll in an 8am class, do NOT skip it. It may seem extremely tempting to stay in bed until your next class, do not give in to the temptation. Take your classes seriously and study hard. Set yourself up on the right path with good grades instead of getting behind and trying to dig yourself a hole that you are constantly attempting to get out of.4. The Freshmen 15 is NOT a joke. Listen, I know everyone has heard the phrase “freshmen 15”. For those of you that haven’t, it’s a phrase that means YOU ARE DOOMED. Just kidding, but really, eating cookies and cream ice cream at the dining hall after every meal is NOT okay (I know this from personal experience). Think twice about ordering Insomnia Cookies every night. This also holds true for DP Dough, Wings Over Storrs, Sergeant Pepperoni, and Husky Pizza. It WILL come back to haunt you…you have been warned..3. Coach Kimball won’t actually kill you. As you may or may not know, Amanda Kimball is our conditioning coach. It’s a common misconception that you will actually die during conditioning. I am proof that that is indeed false. I’m in my senior year and I am fortunately, still kickin’. Workouts will be challenging and no doubt you may consider breaking your legs or running into oncoming traffic as you take the dreaded walk to Shenkman; DON’T DO IT! You will survive! And as a famous Kelly Clarkson once said, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”.2. Treat your points at the Student Union Like Gold. I know it is super exciting to have points that you can swipe at the Student Union, but beware they are NOT unlimited. Think twice about swiping your husky card three times a day at the Union. You will end up with zero points by the end of the semester. And those long nights that you are studying at CPIA for finals, you will want to have those points; trust me.Here we are at number one. By far the most important thing you will EVER learn…
1. Your 4 years of college will go by like the blink of an eye. I remember my freshmen year, sitting at our softball banquet in the fall. We had two alumni step up to the podium to give a speech. It was emotionally charged as they stood there and told my freshmen class to be prepared for how quickly your years here will go by. One day you are falling asleep in North West and the next you are waking up in Charter Oak. Cherish the time you have here. You have been blessed with an amazing opportunity to be a part of a family tradition here at UCONN that others would die for. Take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way, because you will wake up one day and realize you no longer have those opportunities. Take pictures, share laughs, and make lifelong friendships. Stay true to yourself and take pride in being a University of Connecticut Husky. Lastly, enjoy the journey because you will never experience anything like this in your life again.GO HUSKIES!
What I wish I knew as a freshmen
So the best way for me to answer this question is to imagine myself with the ability to time travel (yea pretty dorky I know). If I were able to travel in time to my younger self and provide advice, I would obviously tell myself things I wish I knew as a freshmen that I know now. Some of these things are softball related and some are not. So I am going to answer this question in a speech directed towards my past self.
“Hey there! I am yourself from the future! And yes apparently we have time travel. I am here to give you advice that will help you over the years; things I now know that I wish I knew at your age. There are a lot of things I have learned over the years and I have the opportunity to now tell them to you so you may skip the learning process and excel even further than I did. I think the most important thing you should know is that confidence is the key to everything. It is so important in softball and life to have some amount of confidence. Without it, you will fail to accomplish anything. Being timid and frightened will get you know where. This idea also comes to play with trying to impress people. I want you to learn to find confidence in yourself rather than through others. The reality is people are not 100% reliable. People will not always be where you are at all times. You, however, will always be with you, so finding the confidence from within you will be more sustainable and stronger. So stop trying spending so much time worrying about people and instead worry about yourself and what you can do to make the team better. You are probably wondering how do I do that? Well there are several tasks I have learned over the years to improve confidence. One is hard work and practice. If it were not for the extra work, extra reps and extra studying, I would have had very little progress in my athletic and academic performance. Secondly, instead of finding confidence in past accomplishments and relationships, find confidence in your future through opportunity. When you depend on your accomplishments or relationships in the past, it limits your future. The past fades and the past is stagnant. If you see opportunities as a challenge you can accomplish, you gain confidence every time you reach that accomplishment. It serves as a perpetuated cycle of building confidence for as long as you continue to find opportunities and work to achieve them. It is also ok to not accomplish achievements from every opportunity. It is the idea that you then find more opportunities that you work towards and at least some you will be able to accomplish and use. As a freshmen, I know it is hard to have this confidence. You are in a new area with new people, playing a whole new level of softball, studying a whole new level of work. You are going to miss home, you are going to miss your friends, and you may even wish to leave. But no matter what, if you stay confident, if you understand that those feelings are only a phase in life, you will be much happier and more successful. So push a little harder than I did, study a little earlier, practice a little more and you will have the confidence to do anything. The confidence you can ace those tests. The confidence to feel like you can make this team better. The confidence to be a part of a team. The confidence to help this team win games. The confidence that you as a person has the ability to accomplish anything you set your mind to. [Jumps into the DeLorean and races into the distance]”
As I travel back to the future thinking how Yoda of me was that to give such awesome advice, I think back on how much I have changed over the years, and although I wish I could tell myself these things, I would have never have learned them without not knowing them in the first place. That is life. Lessons come from experience and not from someone in the future telling you how to live your life. So the most important thing I would consider re-doing as a freshmen, is not being afraid of having those experiences. Those experiences made me who I am today. Softball, school, this team has made me a more confident human being and my advice to all freshmen is that it won’t be easy, but that is OK. You will come out of this with experiences that will shape you forever, but it is what you make out of those experiences that can change your fate. You cannot run away from change. You must take the change, take the adversity and make it your own. College is not only about fun, transcripts and winning games, it is also about learning who you are and becoming someone you want to be in the future.
Things I wish I knew as a freshman….hmmmm. Well the freshmen 15 is pretty much a guaranteed, it’s going to happen whether you like it or not, dining hall food is just too inviting. Yes, it is okay to eat 5 slices of pizza, two ice cream cones and that delicious looking cookie, you’ll work it off at practice, okay, no you won’t but it’s easier to tell yourself that. Don’t get upset when the shorts you wore in August are ridiculously tight come spring or that your arms are now tight in all your long sleeved shirts, it’s a sign of winter workouts. Don’t put off the work you have time to do now because you’re lazy, you’ll be even lazier tomorrow but tomorrow you’ll be stressed as well. Figure out a way to organize your life and all the work you have to do before we start traveling and playing games, you’ll thank yourself later. Studying in airports, on planes and in hotels all suck but it has to happen. Don’t spend all your per diem on Starbucks, although inviting and seemingly necessary, it’s not. Bring snacks everywhere you go, whether it’s to class, on a plane or to a game. There’s an 85% chance your GPA will drop during spring, for me it’s a 100% chance but some people are different, so don’t freak out too much. The grades you get your first couple of semesters will make or break you… trust me I’m still feeling the effects of this, so work your butt off while you have the time. Although it will be really tempting, do not skip anymore classes than you’re already missing in spring, we miss a lot of class and it’s hard enough to keep up with that as it is. Make friends with other athletes and even RK’s, it’s fun to see how the other side lives and there will always be a time you need a favor. The breakfast sandwiches at the co-op are probably the best breakfast sandwich you’ll ever eat, even if you don’t like breakfast you have to try it once. I prefer the sausage, egg and cheese on croissant, croissants are a must. Take a walk around campus and explore the places you don’t really notice or see every day, this campus has so much history behind it, it’s intriguing to check it out. Oriental restaurant and all you can eat at Wooster are must tries; I wish I had heard about them sooner. Take time and go to the top of Horsebarn Hill it is absolutely gorgeous and a perfect place to escape from the world when necessary, plus there’s cows. Buses are extremely useful yet kind of annoying, learn which ones take you where and life will get easier. Don’t do what I did my freshman year and just get on any random bus in hopes it’ll take you where you want to go, it won’t. Hotel shampoo and conditioner suck… bring your own when traveling. Always be ready for those pants optional situations, spandex are a lifesaver. Ice baths are very helpful but NEVER forget your booties, your toes will thank you. You don’t and won’t have the time to read all the things your professor’s assign, learn the art of skimming. Last but definitely not least, enjoy the dorms; they maybe seem sucky but they are the most fun you’ll ever have, make friends with people in the hall and keep in touch with them, the friendships you make your freshman year will stay with you all four years.