I hear that senioritis is pretty bad this year. I’m sure a lot of you are ready to be off on your own making your own decisions and livin’ it up in college. You should be excited- college is awesome! Deciding where you want to spend the next 4 (or 5 haha) years of your life can be very exciting but it can also be pretty stressful. Your choice will impact the people you meet, the experiences you have, and the opportunities you have later in life. It’s a big choice in your life and for a lot of people it can be a hard decision- and that’s ok! I was thankful to have people around me to talk with when I was deciding where to go so hopefully this video will start to answer some questions for you or bring up some points you haven’t thought of yet.
So, here are the main points:
No college is perfect. Was (or is, I guess, I’m still finishing undergrad this year) Baylor amazing for me? For sureeee! I made awesome friends for life (I just got off the phone with one of them who moved to North Carolina this year and we talked for over an hour), I had a ton of fun on the team traveling, working out, and hanging out with amazing teammates, I love my classes, my professors are some of the most incredible people in the world, and I grew so much as a person. I can’t imagine going anywhere else but Baylor, but does that mean that I wouldn’t have thrived at a different school? Nope. Who knows? I could have done just as well at a different college, I just chose Baylor so I ended up having Baylor experiences and I wouldn’t trade them for anything. That doesn’t mean college was easy; there were tons of low points in college, believe me! There were times I felt like giving up, times where I sat with friends crying and asking for advice, and many many times where I questioned God and what he was doing in my life. I promise you, wherever you go, you are going to have similar experiences. Just because you get to pick where you go does not mean that you will always be happy and never struggle. Really, your decision should be the place where you feel you will thrive the most. Which choice is the best place you can go where you will surround yourself with an atmosphere and people who can push you to be the best you that you can be? What resources are really important for you to have for you to be able to thrive? Would you thrive at a large school or somewhere smaller? Do you want a team that’s top ten in the nation or a team you could help build up to a top ten team? What personality are you coached best by? These are the questions you should be asking yourself. There may not be a “right” answer to them or a “right” answer of where you should go. As I get older and learn more, I see that many choices aren’t black and white. There may be a couple places you would thrive at. In the end, choosing the “right” college isn’t as important as your attitude and how you apply yourself once you get there. Hopefully that gives you some comfort. As long as you choose somewhere you feel you can be pushed and grow, the rest is up to your attitude and ability to apply yourself the next couple years. Essentially when you choose a college, you are choosing the resources you want to help you grow into a better person.
Before you go on visits, make a list of what you want and ask yourself why you want those things. You may find you don’t want what you think you do. For example, you could see a team at nationals on the podium and think that you want to go to a school with a really great team, but after thinking about it and asking yourself why that is so important, you may realize that when looking at that team, you were thinking about how close and happy they looked together. Maybe, instead of wanting to be on a team that’s super successful, you really desire to be on a close knit team. So instead of looking at top ten teams, you may want to look at teams who seem to be close to one another. Or maybe both success and a close-knit team are important for you; your choices would narrow even more. Again, you won’t find a perfect school but keep asking yourself: What would push me more and make me the best person that I can be?
After going on college visits, look again at the pros and cons of the school and think about what’s most important for you. Look at everything, not just athletics. Would you go there even if you weren’t running? That’s a very important question because there may be a time (hopefully not) where you are injured, you may red shirt a season, or you may be in between cross and track seasons. Will you still love the school despite whatever is going on athletically? After visits is also a great time to talk with coaches, parents, or anyone else you trust to help make a decision. Sometimes people can see things from an outside view that you can’t see as clearly or they may be able to see where you would fit in better. I definitely talked a ton with my coach and parents when I was making my decision and it helped a LOT!
Those are some of the things I think could help when you’re choosing where to go. I also think there are a couple of things you should NOT do while you are choosing a college. One of those is following people, whether that is a friend or group of friends, significant other, or family member. This is for a couple of reasons: 1) A place that’s right for one person may not be right for you. It’s YOUR choice, not theirs. 2) If you hate the place and chose it because you were following someone, you could end up resenting the person you were following, maybe even sub consciously, which will strain your relationship. If they really care about you, they will want you to be happy and have a good experience even if you’re not in the same place and if they really REALLY care about you, they will want to keep up your relationship from farther away. If they don’t care about you enough to let you choose the place you will thrive most at, how healthy and supportive are they for you? Another thing not to do is let other people decide where you should go to college. You are becoming an adult and that means you get to make decisions on your own. Choosing a college is probably one of your first big decisions to make. That is awesome, it’s some freedom and probably the best graduation present ever! Be proud of that, own it, and choose for yourself. Also remember: You have the power to explain to someone who is pushing you to a certain place that this decision is going to effect you, not them, and that you want to go to the place you feel like you would do best at. That doesn’t mean that other people’s advice isn’t valuable (it definitely is and I hope you talk with others about your decision like I suggested above) but make sure this advice is unselfish and from someone who truly wants you to become the most amazing version of you.
I repeated this a couple times in this post but I need to say it again because I think it is so important: In choosing a college, you are choosing where YOU are going to thrive and become the best version of you academically, athletically, psychologically and spiritually. You are choosing the resources and place you can best achieve this at. This is an exciting time! Think about it, pray about it, talk to others about it, and enjoy the freedom you have in the choice. After you decide where you’re going, the work isn’t over. Now it’s up to your attitude and application. You got to decide where you wanted to go and now you get to thrive and become the incredible person you were meant to be! It won’t be easy, in fact I promise that you will have some hard times in college but these will shape you into that incredible person I was talking about you becoming. In writing this, I’ve seriously become excited for all of you choosing a college. You are embarking on an amazing journey so believe in yourself and get excited for the tremendous adventures ahead!