In the last post, we began looking at some of the off-the-field aspects of going from high school to NCAA Division III college soccer. These changes can have more of an impact than the soccer-related aspects as student-athletes make the transition. This week we will look at more of the non-soccer, off the field changes that can affect student athletes.
If you are going to school far from home, you may be dealing with a climate change. Imagine going from the sunny climate of Southern California or Florida to the much cooler environment of New England or upstate New York (home to many Division III schools) where the winters can be long, cold and snow-filled. Certainly they are much different from the more moderate climates then what you may be accustomed. Or you may be going the opposite way from some where cooler to a warmer climate. Can you tolerate the change in the climate? Can you manage the cold/heat?
How about the food? You may have eaten at the cafeteria at high school for lunch (and maybe breakfast), but not ALL of your meals. A home-cooked meal for dinner on the weekends makes all the difference both physically and mentally. Going to college and getting on the meal plan means having institutional food seven days a week. Throw in a break for an occasional pizza or burger, but it is not the same as Mom’s home cooked Sunday dinner.
Once you get in the classroom, you will also find some changes. Academically, college is going to be more difficult than high school. First and foremost is the schedule. You are going to have to manage your time well in order to be successful. You will find that you are spending less time (overall during the week) in class and you will have more free time; especially when you are not in season playing soccer. This is very different from high school where you had a pretty regular schedule between classes and soccer. Many student-athletes find it hard to have the mental discipline required to make sure that they spend the requisite time studying and preparing for their college classes; especially if you have a class that only meets a few times a week. Student-athletes procrastinate since they figure that they have plenty of time to get their work done. What winds up happening is that they cram everything in to the last hours and rush, rush, rush to get things done. As you can imagine, this will not lead to success.
Of course, the material that you are learning will usually be more difficult than what you were learning in high school. You are going to have to work harder, study harder and longer in order to be successful. This can be quite a challenge if you do not have a solid base of study skills already.
Your instructors may have a different teaching style than what you are used to from high school. College instructors may not spoon feed you every detail like they did in high school; they may simply go over important points and expect you to fill in the gaps from separate activities or readings. Moreover, you may have some instructors that don’t speak English as their first language. So not only will the material be different, but you will have difficulty understanding them as well.
You may also find that the grading system at college may be different than what you experienced in high school. Instead of lots of opportunities to be evaluated (tests, quizzes, homework, papers, etc.), you may find that you only have a mid-term and final exam. This means that you have to prepare very well for each of these exams AND be a good test taker. If not, you may find it harder to be successful in college than high school. And those little extra credit projects that may have boosted or saved your grades in high school, you are not likely to find those college.
In our next post, we will wrap up all these changes and adjustments that impact student-athletes as they make the jump from high school to NCAA Division III college soccer. As always, thanks for reading.
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