Best of Both Worlds
Let me first say that I am beyond thankful for my time here at UNH and am grateful to have the opportunity to share my story.
My process for choosing UNH was a bit different than most incoming freshmen. I was recruited to play for the women’s soccer team and committed to playing during my senior year of high school. I never dreamt of playing a Division I sport until it was my reality. It really is as big of a commitment as it’s made out to be. We reported for preseason a month before classes started, and by the time other students arrived on campus, I was drained to the core and couldn't fathom going to social events. From then on, my life was scheduled around practice and games. My friends were my teammates who were also my roommates.
For the first couple years, I found absolute purpose in the sport and my team. I was working for something bigger than myself; that in itself is incredibly humbling. My sophomore year, the team won the America East Conference for the first time in UNH history! However, by the end of my sophomore season, I knew something felt off. I longed to be doing things I didn’t have the time or energy for because of soccer, and it was no longer rewarding.
Junior year, I decided to step away from the team. It was one of the toughest transitions I’ve ever faced. I didn’t know how to branch out of my friend group or even navigate the gym. However, with time comes gained knowledge and confidence, and I found myself happier than ever with my new free time. I've been able to rekindle my passions for yoga, hiking and traveling.
This past year, after deciding not to return to the team, I applied for and received an internship working as a writer for UNH’s online publication, UNH Today. I am so thankful for the opportunities working with UNH Today has given me; it has shown me an entirely different side of UNH. I’ve attended countless events I wouldn’t have had access to without this experience; I obtained a press pass to hear then-President Barack Obama speak at the Whit, and witnessed a student being told that her entire study abroad would be funded by Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Although I clearly enjoy life without organized sports, I miss it terribly at times, too. It gave me an intangible sense of purpose, drive, humiltiy and work ethic.
My advice to underclassmen would be this: don’t be discouraged if something big doesn’t work out — your major, a relationship, being on an athletic team or part of an organization for example. I felt blindsided when stepping away from the team, however, I was able to pursue other passions and learned a lot about myself in the process.
I could go on and on about how much I love UNH and how heartbroken I am about graduating, but I'll sum things up with this last piece of advice: We are fortunate to attend a university with so much to offer (and not to mention, an incredible location). Take advantage of it.