Freshman athletes are finding that the transition from high school to college life and athletics to be a difficult one.
The move from high school to college is stressful for most students. Students must learn how to live on their own, be responsible for themselves and manage their workload. Athletes must do the same things and also balance it all with their athletic obligations.
This stressful transition has not been made easier by the shift to online classes. Many student-athletes are having trouble adjusting to learning online.
“I don’t really like it.” freshman football player Vincent Cooley said.
“Online learning for me has been tough because I’m not an online person. I like to do face-to-face because I learn better that way,”
Cooley, a native of Detroit, came to Ferris on a football scholarship. He chose to come to Ferris over other schools because at Ferris, “they treat you like family.” He said the Bulldog coaches and players made him feel at home.
With the GLIAC’s decision to postpone the Fall 2020 season, Cooley and his football family have yet to take the field for the Bulldogs.
“For us freshman, we have to adapt to not having football and really focus on our schoolwork because there’s nothing else to do,” Cooley said. “We just have to focus on academics and get that down to make sure we’re still eligible to play.
Like Cooley, freshman volleyball player Hannah Tecumseh has focused on her schoolwork in the absence of sports. Her desire to receive a top education in pre-optometry was what drew her to Ferris.
While Tecumseh felt that she adjusted better than others to college life, she did acknowledge feeling homesick in her first few days on campus. She is also learning to successfully balance everything on her plate.
“Time management is definitely the most difficult part about being a student-athlete because after hours of practice, weightlifting, and conditioning the last thing you want to do is homework, quizzes, or labs,” Tecumseh said. “It is a true test of your mental strength because you have long nights of studying and early mornings of practice.”
Freshman volleyball player Kaylee Maat was frustrated about not playing competitive volleyball to start her first year as a Bulldog. However, she has come to appreciate the downtime.
“It was nice to come in and have some time to get used to how things are done and get used to managing school and athletics at such a demanding level,” Maat said.
Like Maat, Cooley also expressed frustration over not being able to play competitively. He is used to playing football throughout the summer, but this year had to take most of the summer off.
Without football in the summer months, Cooley found it difficult to jump back into training, saying that conditioning is “pretty tough.”
“Some of us took time off since we aren’t competing. Now that we’re back into training, some of us are really out of shape because we’ve been sitting and relaxing for so long,” Cooley said.
Tecumseh expressed similar difficulties jumping back into training after months of having no access to gyms to train in.
“It feels great to be back in the gym but getting in shape after having access to nothing is difficult,” Tecumseh said. “Working out in a mask is tough too because it makes it hard to get air when you are out of breath.”
Cooley also said working out in masks is “definitely harder,” but that he is slowly getting used to it.
Cooley, Tecumseh, and Maat all wished their freshman experience could have started under different circumstances. All three players wished they could go out and make more friends, meet new people, and experience college life as most freshmen in the past would have.
However, COVID-19 has made it tough, if not impossible, for them to do that.