Are you wondering how to transition from a high school athlete to a college athlete? For a lot of students, being an athlete is integral part of life. A majority of high school students play sports, and they eat, sleep, and breath it (not to be cliche but there’s your cliche of the day). When I was in high school, I was a competitive cross country and track runner, and it was all I did outside of my school work. My team were my friends, running was main extracurricular activity, and it was the way that I handled the stress of my daily life. And of course, competitive running taught me discipline and showed me what devotion to a team and a cause felt like. I know that other athletes who love their sport can understand what I’m saying with this.
But what about after graduation, going to college, and not being a part of that anymore? What do you do then?
Well, coming from a former competitive athlete in high school, let me be honest with you: at first it can be incredibly hard. It’s crazy to go from being so devoted to something, and then not have it be there anymore. For me, without my team, I kind of drifted away from my love of running for my freshman year. I felt like without them, it wasn’t really the same anymore. So for a while I just forgot how happy running made me, how my sport was more than just something I did in high school, and how it could still be a part of my life outside of that high school experience. Here are some tips that I learned through my own process with this shift from high school to college.
1. Remember the past, but don’t focus on it.
The change between high school and college is extreme, everything from how you get to class to where you live is completely different that it was 3 months before. And that can be really intimidating. Sometimes, you get a kind of “homesick” feeling, where you just miss how things used to be back when everything was a routine. And that can be the same for athletics. You can really miss how it felt to be a part of that team, and you can wish to go back to that time. But when you get to college, if you still want to be a form of athlete even if you’re not competing anymore, you have to focus on improving and working out for yourself, rather than a team. Remember how great it was before, but focus on how great it can be now.
2. Find something new that excites you about working out.
For me, I used to get excited to go out for long runs with my team, chatting and catching up with everyone. It was the best time of my week. Now, without that, I was lost about what I looked forward to while working out. It was hard to go for those long runs now because I felt lonely without my teammates and best friends. When I finally got back into it and went for that long run, I realized something. I loved how it felt to push my body that far. After mile two of the six miles I was running, I realized that I was smiling. I was excited about how far I was planning to go. I was excited about the fact that my body could do this still, even without my teammates pushing me. So find that new thing, the new reason you get excited, and role with that.
3. Go exercise/work out even when you don’t want to.
This one took me a while to accomplish, I’m not going to lie. For basically all of my freshman year, I barely worked out at all. There was always something more important going on and I would daily make excuses for myself and not working out. Or when I did workout, it would barely be considered working out I went so easy. So my advice to you here is get out there and do something! Even if you feel discouraged or don’t want to. You won’t regret doing it and it will probably boost your mood too.
4. Get a group to go with you.
If that team aspect is just as important to you as it is for me, find some people to go workout with you! You don’t have to transition from a high school athlete to a college athlete all by yourself. There is no doubt there are a few people who are just as confused on how to be a college athlete as you are. And let’s be real here, the rec can be scary when you go on your own the first couple of time, so having someone there as a support can be nice. And working out with someone else to push you is basically the same thing as having a team. If you’re competitive (which I’m not) you also have another person that you can healthily compete with, which could push you even further to do your best.
5. Sign up for an intramural.
For a lot of people, it can be hard to switch from something like tennis or soccer or football into running or cycling at the gym. So sign up for an intramural! It’s a great way to transition from a high school athlete to a college athlete. There’s usually one for almost every sport you can think of. So if you want to keep playing football or soccer, or whatever else, there is opportunities for that. And a plus with intramurals, you get that competition again where different intramural teams compete with one another. On top of that, you get a team too! For me, running is more of an individual sport when it gets down to it, but definitely give intramurals a go!
It can be hard after graduation, but remember these tips and hopefully you’ll get into a new groove and still be able to do something that you love. My last tip is this: Remember why you love the sport and why you love to work out. And if you don’t love it, try something new, but always keep exercising and good luck.
Are you ready to transition from a high school athlete to a college athlete?
Featured photo source: weheartit.com
I am currently a sophomore at the University of Idaho in Moscow, Idaho and a member of Delta Delta Delta sorority. I am a passionate writer, blogger, and (hopefully) future reporter. I also run a personal blog, runningwithveggies.wordpress.com, and work for two separate online magazines, and also am an intern for the Women's Center blog on campus. And on top of all that I am a vegetarian, a feminist, and a runner!