Wednesday May 3, 2017

My non-traditional way of getting to college

Everyone has their own college journey, some people come in right after high school and go through four years of college and onto the rest of their post college life, others take a gap year, and then others have non-traditional stories such as mine.

I have never quite done things the way the majority of people do them. This began when I graduated high school online on a ranch in the middle of Wyoming. After graduating online, I decided to take a gap year in Jackson Hole, Wyoming where my parents moved our winter home from upstate New York. I set off to get an apartment in town and support myself financially during my gap year by ski instructing during the day at Jackson Hole Ski Mountain and being a waiter at night. On my days off I babysat.

At the end of March in Jackson Hole the whole town shuts down for about two months. During these two months I decided I would go to the Big Island of Hawaii for a month to visit my Aunt and cousin who lived there. I had my waitressing job and babysitting jobs to come back to whenever I chose to return; however, while I was in Hawaii, I decided I’d look for a fun job to support myself since I couldn’t ski instruct for the summer.

After being in Hawaii for about two weeks, I decided to stay. I found someone to take over my lease, called my boss at the restaurant I waitressed at, and told the people I babysat for that I would not be back. That’s when it was time to job hunt in Hawaii.

I ended up getting a job at the Four Seasons as a pool attendant. I also began helping my friend I met there with his kayaking tours and snorkel instructing. I was having a blast, until my mom called and told me it was time to get serious about going to college.

No way was I going, I thought high school was horrible and there was no way I wanted to go to college! But that wasn’t going to work for my parents. Going to college or not was not a choice. I remember my mom asking me tons of out of the blue questions and for me to write her a paper on something that inspired me. After that strange series of emails, I proceeded to go on with my life in Hawaii.

One day I got a package in the mail from Chaminade University. I opened it up and saw that it said I was accepted to Chaminade University of Honolulu. I was very confused. I called my mom and she said that I answered all the questions she just plugged them all in. I was not happy. I told my mom I wasn’t going to college unless I was playing soccer. My mom’s reply was this, “then you better get practicing and contact the coach.”

Next thing I knew I was on the list for trying out for the Women’s Soccer Team at Chaminade University as a walk on. With only two months to get myself in shape and trained up for trying out, my schedule became sleep, eat, work, soccer; repeat.

After two weeks of practicing at the field near my Aunt’s house, a group of guys that had been playing there every Tuesday and Thursday asked if I wanted to play. I was so nervous I said no at first. They insisted. So I began playing with them. On the days I wasn’t playing there I was at the field practicing by myself.

One day while I was practicing by myself a man approached me and we started talking about soccer. I told him my whole story from tearing my ACL my freshman year of high school to wanting to try out for the Women’s Soccer Team at Chaminade. I remember looking down and telling him I didn’t think I was good enough. The man took my chin and made me look up at him and told me that I was going to make the team and he was going to be my trainer for the next few weeks.

A few days before I flew to Oahu to begin my soccer tryouts I had my last pick-up game with the guys. As we ended and I was about to walk to my car to leave everyone started clapping. I turned and the man that had been training me told me I was never more ready than I was right then. I felt it; I knew I was ready too.

A month later I put on my Chaminade Women’s Soccer jersey for our first soccer game. I had made it. I breathed in, and then breathed out and let myself feel the pride and joy of being a part of a college D2 soccer team. Of course this meant I was going to college, but it wasn’t like high school at all. It was better! Of course I eventually ended up at UD, which is detailed in some of my earlier blog posts, but there is no one way to go to college.

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