Well, it’s true. No matter how many times my parents try to deny it, I am finally old enough to call myself a college freshman at the University of Notre Dame. I went from being a high school player dreaming about competing and being successful in the ACC to a college player daydreaming about the previous scouting report while writing a 10-page research paper. I’m not going to lie to you; college has been one of the most challenging experiences that I have had so far but it is also one of my greatest.
I live with four other girls in three connecting rooms. Technically, I live in a quad but we would be lost without our honorary roommate who travels down three flights of stairs to sleep on our wearing futon. What’s it like living with that many girls you ask? One word describes it… crazy. We get on each other’s nerves, we confuse each other’s belongings, and we forget about certain tasks that we were supposed to finish. But I always make my way back to my cozy dorm on the corner of campus after a long day of classes, practice, and study hall where I’m welcomed by four of my best friends. There hasn’t been one night where we haven’t let go and laughed about everything that happened that day.
It’s a quick turnaround in the morning as I and most of my teammates head off to early morning classes. The dining hall is about a 20-second long sprint from my dorm across South Quad. I say “sprint” because I wouldn’t want to be taking my time in the South Bend weather this time of year before my 8 a.m. class. I am lucky enough to start off every day with something that I love to do. I switch between photography and 2D art classes every morning. (I intend on majoring in Film, Television and Theatre with minors in Fine Arts and Journalism. My friend and I are already planning on having our own sports show on ESPN one day.) Eventually I make my way to my general education classes — you know, the maths and sciences and that one writing and rhetoric class. Math used to be my strong suit until I graduated 5th grade and the alphabet became a daily occurrence in the life of numbers. Since then math courses haven’t been those of my liking but it’s hard not to enjoy them every now and then when your college professor refuses to be called anything other than “Netty the Incredible.” Weeks into the semester after asking her to better describe her previous lesson, Netty brought a soccer ball to class and proceeded to shoot penalty kicks past me and my teammate who sat in the front of the class while going over a certain assignment. If you ask me, there’s no other way to teach a lesson on probability and statistics.
After hours of classes and trying to figure out how on earth a letter could possibly equal a number, I make my way over to the other side of campus. I change and lace up my cleats and walk to our practice field, my team’s domain. We tackle as hard as we would in a game and then pick each other up out of the dirt. There’s no such thing as giving up in a small sided match because that game on Friday is only that of a larger scale. It’s funny how such a competitive environment can be so stress-relieving. It could have something to do with how we are playing side by side with our family, or how we’re fighting for something that we all want for ourselves and for each other, and that is a national championship.
Yes, there are times where I feel as if I couldn’t possibly sprint another field length and moments when it feels as if my books are heavier than the weight on the barbell but never do those feelings trump that of what I feel before bed each night. It is the feeling of success. Now, I’m not trying to say that my intersquad team wins every practice, or that I’m some genius in class, or that I don’t embarrass my roommates on a daily basis because that’s just not the case! My point is that I go to bed each night having known that I improved upon something small, whether it’s on the field, in the classroom, or as a person, and to me, that is success. Every day I am slowly taking that high schoolers dream and making it into a concrete reality.
Morgan Andrews is a freshman at Notre Dame and a regular in the United States youth national team system. Read all of her blogs here.