Did you know one in three freshmen do not return to college their sophomore year? One of the reasons is loneliness.
Being a part of a team on a college campus is described often as a second family. My memories of being on Oregon State's gymnastics team included the community that we developed by setting goals, sacrificing, and achieving our dreams together.
BondingYou have a sense of belonging and a place to "show up" every day with people that are like you. You are expected to work together with each other, even if not everyone is your best friend. From the first bonding trip to the last meet of each season, the girls typically develop into a unit and can't wait to return each year.
Foundation for life after sportAnother reason to be a part of a college team is the foundation that is built for their lives after sport. Being a part of something larger than yourself and working toward a common goal is always good, always. Teams succeed and fail together and the value of group effort is reinforced every day. These characteristics are often traits that help young adults become great employees.
One of the good things about sports is that bad things will happen. Meets will be lost. Injuries suffered. You may not make the lineup or even travel. Adapting and dealing with these types of issues are real life. What better way to work through these speed bumps than the years prior to being out in the "real world."
AccountabilityOf course, having a tight schedule with practice and class can also be a good thing. An athlete has to be organized and efficient. On most college teams there is accountability. Grades have to be at a certain standard to stay eligible. The tutors and academic assistance for college athletes are also great advantages.
Lifelong friendsLastly, the memories with teammates last a lifetime. Several of my current closest friends were my roommates in the dorms and competed with me during college. We laugh, look back, and realize it was an amazing journey and still continues 30 years later.
About Jill Hicks:
I was an elite gymnast and received an athletic scholarship to Oregon State. Because of an injury, I was asked to be one of the coaches, which began my 20-year career in college coaching. After Oregon State, I became the head coach at Cal State Fullerton. After coaching, I went on the Kellogg's Tour of Champions as the chaperone for the Fierce Five. When I returned, I launched my business, JH Consulting, which is an advising business for club gymnasts looking for help during the college recruitment process.
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