Where Are You Now That I Need You?
Despite the title of this blog, I am not writing about Justin Bieber. Sorry to disappoint you. Neither is this a post about an ex-girlfriend (The girl in the photo is my best friend and was my doubles teammate). Rather, this is a post about how to transition from leaving some of the sports/activities you participated in during your high school to being in college without those. That may sound depressing, but really it’s not! Keep reading and I’ll tell you why.
I know too well what being in this situation is like. I had played tennis competitively from the age of 10. From that time all the way through high school, I dreamed of playing tennis in college. My senior year, after visiting various schools, I received a few offers and ended up selecting OBU. I played here for a year, but unfortunately things didn’t work out and I had to stop. It was hard. It was weird. What do you do with your life when you no longer have something you dedicated 10 years of your life to? Sometimes it even feels like we lose our identity because that activity seemed to be how we defined ourselves.
Thankfully, that is not what actually defines us. I know many others struggle with the same thing. You may have a sport or activity you are or were very involved with in high school. There are various reasons you may not be able to continue those things in college. If you can, awesome! But if not, don’t lose hope. While I no longer had competitive tennis in my life, I did not choose the wrong school. Here are some ways I’ve found that could help you with making the transition and help you find other areas to use your passions and talents.
- Intramurals/Club Sports
Okay, this may seem obvious for those of you who were in sports. But for real, there are a couple of reasons I put this. First of all, maybe you weren’t quite at the college playing level of your sport. (No need to feel bad about this at all. Again, sports don’t define us). Nevertheless, you still have a passion for that sport. Chances are, you could probably dominate at intramurals or club sports. OBU offers so much in this area. You’re bound to still be able to compete in this way. And trust me, it gets competitive out there sometimes… in a crazy fun way.
Also, this gives you the chance to try something new. While I played tennis competitively, I wasn’t really allowed to play other sports often because of the risk of injury. Well, now I have the freedom to play any sport I want! Again, there are so many options when it comes to intramurals and club sports. So grab some friends, put a team together, and have fun competing and trying new sports.
- On-Campus Organizations
I’ve talked about some of these in my other blogs, so I’ll keep this brief. You can get more details by looking at those other posts. But I will say again that there are so many options to choose from here as well. Not having a sport opens up more free time than you may be used to or even want. Fill that time through the organizations on campus. Social clubs, campus activities clubs, local ministry groups, the chess and cheese club… seriously, there’s something for everybody! Your passions can be used for many things outside of sports, so find a fit for you!
- Find New Hobbies
I don’t mean this in a blunt way or to mean you can’t do your previous activity at all, but I just want to point out how college is a great time to learn something new. (Duh, Austin, it’s school). For real though, there are classes that can help you learn new things that you wouldn’t normally think of as “schoolish” things.
Electives are excellent opportunities to explore new areas of study. For example, you can grow in your musical abilities through piano classes, choirs, etc. Or you can find many musicians on campus who would be glad to play with you or even teach you. There are other artistic classes such as ceramics, photography, and drawing. If you can draw at all, congratulations. I can’t even draw stick people. Finally, you can find more hobbies outside of classes. I’ve picked up frisbee golf, long distance running, and have had time to work on my guitar skills. So whether in or out of class, pick up a hobby or two that are new to you and that you’ll love!
- Encouragement Through Spiritual Life
As I mentioned before, a transition like this can be tough. But you can gain valuable encouragement and relationships through spiritual life on OBU’s campus. There are various organized events that they have. For example, I go to noonday. This is a meeting on Friday at noon where a church serves you a free lunch, and you are guided in discussions that will grow you spiritually. There’s also a men’s ministry and women’s ministry (called “Refuge”) that meet on Sunday evenings. These are a great refueling time before kicking off another week.
In addition, besides organized events, there are many ways to continue to grow and be encouraged. RA’s and fellow students will often lead little Bible studies. Even just the people you meet on campus are super open and helpful, willing to walk with you through life. So if leaving an activity behind in high school is a tough and possibly emotional thing for you, definitely consider getting involved in some spiritual life activities to grow closer to God and also be encouraged by some incredible friends.
- Teach Others of Your Love of the Game
Just because you may not play your sport in college doesn’t mean you can’t still have fun with it anytime you want. Use your passion for it to teach your friends all about it. I’ve gone out many times with friends to teach them a little about tennis. There may be a lot of home runs, which aren’t ideal in tennis, but it’s so much fun and brings many laughs.
In conclusion, don’t lose your love for your activity or sport when you come to college, but also be open and willing to learn and experience new things. Finding a balance in there will help you become more well-rounded and make the most of your college experience. (Alright, now you can go listen to some JB).