The process of transitioning from high school to college is tough and frightening for most people, and it certainly was so for me. When I arrived in Pittsburgh for my first day of preseason soccer camp, I had no idea what to expect. I was unsure about my ability to fit into a team full of upperclassmen, to adjust to the notoriously tough schoolwork at CMU, and to make a whole new group of friends. Looking back on those first few weeks of college life, the CMU athletics community made those three points of unease, and the whole process of transitioning to college, so much easier.
The men’s soccer team, along with all of the other teams on campus, has a great tradition of integrating incoming freshmen into the team very quickly. The upperclassmen on the team made me feel at home right away and made me feel comfortable and confident enough to challenge for a starting position on the team as a freshman. On top of helping me adjust to life on the soccer team, the upperclassmen helped me immensely in adjusting to the schoolwork at CMU. Having a built-in support network of students that have already been through the academic transition and who are able to provide advice made a huge difference in my ability to be successful right away in my classes. In addition to a natural group of upperclassmen mentors, the CMU athletics community provides a natural group of freshman friends, which greatly eases the stress of meeting new people. Through the athletics orientation events as a freshman I made a group of friends who are all still my best friends today, and who I know will be life long friends.
Most, if not all, of my fondest memories of life at CMU came on the soccer field. I was lucky enough to compete in three NCAA tournaments, serve as a two-year captain of the team, and amass a record of 44-16-11 over my four years on the team. More important than wins and losses, however, are the bonds formed and lessons learned on the soccer field. I will never forget the early mornings and late nights on the field, the offseason training, and the countless hours of hard work that my teammates and I went through to achieve our goals of success. These shared experiences created lifelong bonds between my teammates and myself, and I believe that these are bonds that can only be made through shared experiences in sports. My time as a CMU student-athlete has also taught me what I consider to be my most important life lesson. That is the idea that in order to truly better yourself, in order to truly succeed, you need to do the right thing every day, there is no cutting corners. This lesson learned in my time as a CMU student-athlete has made me more successful in all other aspects of life and I believe has made me an overall better person. I will forever be grateful for the experiences that I had as a student-athlete at CMU and for the friendships and bonds formed during my four years here.