Much like the celebrated, daring explorers of the past, I embarked on a treacherous journey, one that was certain to be filled with obstacles, potential heartache, and a glimmering hope for success. This yearning for success, the hope that perhaps I could achieve something extraordinary, is what motivated me as I prepared for the harrowing odyssey ahead. I took a deep breath… and hit “send” on my emails to college coaches.
The college recruiting process was smooth sailing before September 1st of my junior year of high school. As I worked on developing an athletic resume and organizing my list of options, the fan on my desk sent a breeze over my workspace, my papers gently billowing and thus calling to mind the sails of an extraordinary ship. In my mind, I was sailing over calm, rolling, blue seas, the bow of my vessel slicing through the water like how the beam of a lantern shatters darkness. The calm before the storm.
But on September 1st, the storm hit, and it hit hard. Massive waves pounded my imaginary ship’s hull as lightning flashed, illuminating the dark, vast path before me. The next year consisted of a flurry of emails to and from prospective coaches, stressful phone calls during which I tried to be my most honest, yet charming self, and the continuation of my academic and athletic pursuits, now slightly nerve-racking because of all the eyes watching my performance. Over this period, I celebrated communication with coaches I idolized, cried over some seemingly dashed dreams, and worked to find my way through this uncharted and never-ending territory. I felt as though my ship was hurtling toward an unknown island, one that could be the land of my dreams, or instead a dashing failure that would bring shame upon all of my hard work.
Fortunately, I landed precisely on that special “x marks the spot”. After a long and exhausting journey, I committed to swim for my dream school, and I was finally able to relax and look forward to pursuing my academic and athletic goals at the collegiate level. The ups and downs of this fantastic adventure resulted in an experience that I believe will serve me well for the rest of my life in regards to the responsibility, organization, and communication skills that I developed.
The college recruiting process is more than a whirlwind; it is a hurricane. But for those who manage to see this wild journey through to its end, the reward is far more valuable than any treasure chest could be.