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Being a Student-Athlete in a Pandemic

Posted on
Jun 9, 2021
Being a Student-Athlete in a Pandemic

If someone told me at the beginning of my college academic and athletic career that I would experience three semesters in the middle of a pandemic, I would have laughed in their face. When the coronavirus started becoming more prominent on the news, I was pretty naive to the situation. To be completely transparent, I knew the coronavirus was serious, but I never imagined that it would impact my life in any consequential way. 

In March of 2020, the entire Williams College campus was suddenly sent home. Not only was the transition to remote learning abrupt, but the unknown was also extremely stressful. At first, I did not realize the severity or seriousness of the pandemic. It just seemed like an extended spring break; however, I quickly learned that this was not the case. Days turned into weeks which turned into months. 

Being at home for essentially an entire semester was a serious adjustment. My normal spring semester in the past at Williams consisted of offseason volleyball training along with in person classes and fun activities on campus. This was all taken away from me before I could even blink. I found myself staring at a computer screen for hours on end each day and then dragging myself to go workout to prepare for a fall volleyball season that I was not even sure was going to happen. The uncertainty of the future took a genuine toll on me and after a while it became very challenging to find motivation to keep going. 

Then, one afternoon, I was talking to my teammate and found that she was also struggling to motivate herself mentally and physically. After a long discussion, we both helped each other realize that there are a lot of other parts of us that are important. We are not just student-athletes. We don’t only workout for our sport. We don’t only attend classes because we have to. We love pushing our brains and bodies to their limits because it makes us feel good.

This was the turning point in my time in quarantine. The dark cloud that had been hovering above me was finally disappearing. My teammate helped me find myself outside of being a student-athlete. I love working out. It helps my physical shape for volleyball but it also makes me feel good and accomplished. I love learning. I love the ability to push my brain to its limits. These are things that I had lost sight of.

Although being at home wasn’t the ideal version of my semester, I am so thankful to have been able to spend that time with my family. No college kid ever gets the opportunity to hangout with their family for long periods of time once they leave for college. I didn’t realize it at the moment, but I really value the time we were able to have together.

Throughout my entire life, being an athlete was my identity. Whenever someone asked me who I was, my immediate response was “I am a student-athlete.” The pandemic completely changed the way I viewed myself. Obviously, I am still a student-athlete at a great institution, but I have realized that there is a lot more to who I am.


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