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  • Maran Kingsley

Soccer at Cornell: A Freshman’s Perspective

It is no secret that Cornell is known for its rigorous academics and intense, competitive environment. On top of that, being a freshman student athlete is an additional challenge. Adjusting, to say the least, has been very difficult. However, this past semester has taught me many valuable life lessons, many of which I learned from being on the women’s soccer team. Not only have I been able to continue playing the game I love at a higher level, but I was also able to meet so many new people and solidify a community at Cornell. For that, I couldn’t be more grateful.

Coming onto the Cornell women’s soccer team was extremely intimidating, and to be honest, I was absolutely terrified. I never had a great sense of belonging on a team before, and was afraid that college was just going to be a repeat of my past experiences. However, after that first team meeting, all of my fears immediately dissipated. My team welcomed me with open arms, starting with the senior class. Over the summer, the seniors couldn’t have been more welcoming, and allowed me to use them as a resource and a shoulder to lean on during my transition to Cornell. They showed me what a team is supposed to do for one another, and what true leadership looks like. Additionally, all of the freshmen were put into groups with sophomores, juniors, and seniors to ask questions about Cornell and to get to know each other more before the season began. Even when I moved into my dorm, the upperclassman didn’t hesitate to come by and help me. Coming into Cornell with a strong, close-knit community is a rare opportunity, and I’m truly lucky to have had the soccer team throughout this process.

I was extremely intimidated coming into a Division I, Ivy League program. Learning how to balance my practice schedule, school work, and social life was something I had to figure out very quickly. It is difficult coming from high school and club sports into a Division I Ivy League program. The most important lesson I learned was that I needed to grow up very quickly. I had to learn how to manage my time, and plan out my days and weeks in advance. Practice is at 5:00, which means I have to get there by 4:15, and that means I need to be ready by 3:30. These are the thoughts that occurred in my head daily. With experience and the help of my team, I was able to learn how to manage my time while still balancing my social and academic life.

The best part of my day quickly became going to practice. Although I do love to compete, the best part about it was the people. Everyone on the team was not only welcoming, but also genuinely kind. I knew I was in for an amazing experience at Cornell after meeting the teammates I would be with everyday. I was able to be surrounded by amazing soccer players, and more importantly, great teammates and friends. They taught me what it felt like to be part of a team, and how to help one another. I don’t know how I would’ve been able to get through my first semester of college without them, and I am forever grateful for Cornell women’s soccer.


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