This is part of the “Swimming Through Texas” series.
Read the last article in this series here.
Transitioning from high school to college for any freshman is always difficult…you’re living on your own now. There’s no one to do your laundry, tell you when to wake up/go to bed, or to make sure you go to class. You have to adjust to a new schedule and it’s pretty intimidating. For me, being a part of the swim team here at The University of Texas made my transition even more intimidating.
The teammates on my club and high school swim teams were my best friends; basically siblings to me. It’s easy to be yourself around the teammates you’ve been swimming with for about 4 years. Going to college meant leaving all of my friends behind and jumping into an entirely new pool. I was going to have to make new friends all over again. I had thoughts of “will they even like me?” and “will I even fit in?” It was really scary to think about. I was also intimidated because college swimming is an entire step up in training. I knew I was going to be training harder than I’ve ever trained, and I knew there was going to be a lot expected from me: from completing crazy hard sets to maintaining good grades in class. I often wondered if I was in over my head.
I talked my club coach about it and he really put things in perspective for me. For one thing, there are 10 freshman swimmers all in the same boat with me; feeling the same feelings. Also, he said that being on a college team basically forces you to have friends; because you are with your teammates almost 24/7. As far as being worried about my swimming and grades, he told me that I was going here for a reason, and that the coaches/team will help everything fall into place; that everything will be fine.
My coach couldn’t have been any more correct. My teammates and I do spend almost 24/7 with each other and these guys are by far my best friends. School is tough, but being on a schedule with swimming really helps you stay focused and on track. And as far as swimming goes… it’s definitely not a walk in the park. Taking that huge step from high school to college athletics is a difficult step. My weekly yardage increased significantly… and add weights and dryland and you get one over-worked student-athlete. However, your body ends up adjusting and getting used to the strenuous workouts to allow you to perform even better.
Whether you’re going to college as a student, a student athlete, or even transferring to a new high school, don’t stress about intimidation. There will be some intimidation and an “adjustment period”, no doubt, but calm that down and turn that worry into excitement. Just remember that your new home isn’t as scary as you think… and everything will fall into place for you.
-Patrick LaBrode, YoungTri Executive Board Member