During the recruiting process you are going to face many moments when you need to step outside of your comfort zones. For example, last week we wrote about making difficult phone calls. It is important that you know what to expect when you get to university, so that the transition to your new daily life is not a shock, and is not too overwhelming. I have seen many athletes over the years who have left home to pursue their dream of playing college sports – only to be faced with extreme homesickness, and a culture shock that they were just not able to adapt too. Knowing what you are getting into and making early preparations can help you be mentally prepared for this big leap.
Tell me, Does any of this sound like YOU?
You live at home
Mom or Dad emails coaches and coordinates your schedule
Mom or Dad makes sure you wake up early enough to get to class on time
Mom or Dad takes care of your laundry for you
Mom or Dad grocery shops and makes sure there is snack food in the fridge and dinner on the table
Mom or Dad puts gas in the car so you can get to training – or maybe even drops you off and picks you up
Mom or Dad fills in your forms, signs your releases, makes sure you are registered for courses or team tryouts.
Mom or Dad sees you are struggling in one of your classes and arranges a tutor
Mom or Dad is there to bail you out if you need help, encouragement, motivation, a hug.
If so, you are living INSIDE your comfort zone!
What does life OUTSIDE your comfort zone look like?
You live on your own, in a dorm room you applied for, or a house YOU found with room mates and YOU pay the rent each month (on time!)
YOU are responsible for communicating with your coaches, team and staff and YOU arrange your own schedule
YOU need to get yourself up and going in the morning
YOU need to do your own laundry or risk having no clean underwear
YOU need to get groceries and plan your own meals. If you live off campus you also need to cook (**gasp!**) your own meals, healthy ones, not the freezer ready made meals!
YOU need to arrange your own transportation, this means get a bike, learn the transit routes, arrange a car pool or pay for your own gas
YOU arrange your own schedule, register for classes, find your own courses, fill in your own paperwork
YOU identify when you need help in class and seek out tutors and assistance (although, the athletic department will help you immensely here!)
Know that mom or dad will ALWAYS be there to bail you out if you need help, encouragement, motivation, or a hug (albeit maybe a virtual one), but outside your comfort zone YOU are responsible for taking care of yourself on a daily basis.
For some, this leap from comfort zone, to way way outside your comfort zone, is a very difficult one. To help you with the gradual transition start doing some things now that will make the leap to college less of a culture shock. Some ideas could include:
Directing your own recruiting process: Do your own research, send your own emails, make your own phone calls and develop your coach communication skills!
Learn to cook! Google or YouTube can be a brilliant help here, decide what to make, go to the store for ingredients, and cook a meal for your family, or your friends (with NO HELP from mom!!) Over the summer you will have time – plan to do this once a week!
If you don’t already…start doing your own laundry!
Get a summer job and work the early shift – or plan to work out first thing in the morning and practice waking yourself up, eating breakfast and getting out the door for your commitment.
For more information about preparing to be a college athlete, check out this blog post on getting through your first semester and pre-season as a college athlete!