Well into Year 2 of the "real world" and year three of being a retired athlete, certain aspects of my college career are becoming more clear to things that I don't necessarily regret, but I wish I valued more at the time. As the new school year has recently started, although I can't go back, I think it'd be cool to help others value their once in a lifetime experience.
The main thing I've reflected on is that cherish the relationships you will make, and the opportunity to make friends. Looking back, all of my summers were spent at the Volleyball house. The friendships and memories I made with my teammates far surpassed any bonds made just on the court, plus being able to split rent 7 ways is a pretty nice hook-up too. These girls will always be my friends, however I do question how many nights we spent too tired to make plans or just watching Netflix that we could have been exploring different houses, meeting new people, and making even more bonds. Being an athlete it's really hard to make friends. Usually any attempt at plans will be met with "I can't, I have practice," but unlike the rest of the population, this won't deter other athletes from making future plans, rather they'll probably quickly understand when you have weights, meetings, and practice and will quickly find a time that does work. My introvert tendencies paired with my genuine laziness prevented me from making many friends outside the volleyball team, and although luckily for me they were all I really needed, I do think I would have liked to branch out more when everyone's eager to make friends.
This brings me to my next point- it's hard to make friends in the real world. If you're like any of my class, many of us traveled to attend college, and many will travel again after college either back home or to new parts of the country for the next steps. This means you're thrown back into the "making friends" stage of life, and unlike sports where friendships are naturally made- you've got to work at them. Having athletics as a common bond is something that shouldn't be taken lightly- as people in the "real world" may have all these crazy and confusing interests. Some that I have stumbled upon include reading, cooking, or even playing sports just for "fun." This means it's time to start evolving some other interests and hobbies, something that looking back could have easily been done in college.
Finally, the common theme in most of my posts, is to enjoy your time fully. My freshman year I was miserable- benched, with no friends, in a new state, recently dumped, and looking to transfer. Six years later I look back on my "miserable" time and can't help but think how lucky I was, and even my worse day there, wasn't so bad. This year is when my freshman my senior year, have become seniors themselves. I don't feel like my glory years were that far in the past, and I think everyone can vouch how quickly four years truly does pass. You may not be able to control your relationship statuses, how often you see your family, or your playing time in college, but you can control your happiness, and I challenge you to be happy and enjoy every minute of the sometimes miserable ride.