by Rosie Kays,
Neumann University student-athlete (women’s soccer)
Treasurer, Sport and Entertainment Management Club
Transition. Change. Adaptation. As humans, we live an ever-changing lifestyle and are often challenged to respond to a variety of situations in a positive light. This is not always easy as change can trigger the onset of fear of the unknown and apprehension to move on from what was comfortable. However, with change comes new opportunities and new possibilities. While transitioning to something new can be a challenging experience, it challenges one to expand one’s horizons and grow as an individual.
Transitioning to college life can be viewed as one of the most difficult experiences in a young adult’s life. That is what I went through high school believing; that was until one warm April day during my junior year. I was playing in a soccer tournament in front of collegiate coaches from all over the country. Despite my overwhelming nervousness, I was anxious to play well and hoped that a soccer scholarship would result. I had always dreamed of playing Division I collegiate soccer, and had been working hard to make this dream a reality. What I did not know was that God had other plans for me. In what was my best game of the tournament, I was thrown an unexpected curve ball; a snap and immediate tear, followed by an overwhelming numbness overcame my left leg as I fell to the ground writhing in pain. I tore my ACL in my left knee, an injury that would take six months from which to heal, and ultimately change the path of my collegiate career.
That moment has engrained itself vividly into my memory. As I lay on the field that day clutching my left knee, all I could think about is what would happen to my dream of playing Division I collegiate soccer. Tears were streaming down my face and I felt as though my dreams were shattered; however, that was the furthest thing from the truth. In the following months during my rehab, I remained persistent and determined to earn a Division I collegiate soccer scholarship. However, with each school I visited I was told the same story: due to my injury they now had enough people in front of me that they could not offer me a scholarship, and I would not see much playing time until my junior or senior year. For a girl who had dreamed of playing Division I soccer, this was heartbreaking. I was left wondering why this had happened at what seemed like such an inopportune time.
I was put in a position where I had to make a choice; I had to decide whether to pursue my dream or to adapt to the situation that I was given. Reluctantly, I chose the latter of the two options. I had been recruited by Neumann University at several tournaments prior to, as well as after, my injury. However, I had never given the university a chance because it did not fit my Division I criteria. Seeing as though I needed to change my plans, I went with my father to an open house to meet the coach and explore the campus. I was still broken-hearted, so on my first visit I did not give the university a chance. I arrived in a miserable mood, and left in much the same way. However, as the days passed and I came to my senses, I realized that I did enjoy my visit, and found myself on campus several more times in the coming months.
Now, in my junior year at Neumann University, I have realized that accepting the challenge to change the path of collegiate career was one of the best decisions that I could have made. I have learned that what seemed like utter devastation one day in April several years ago, was actually a blessing in disguise. While at Neumann, I have experienced success both on and off of the soccer field, and have been able to grow in so many facets of my life. I would not trade this experience for anything else. From my experience, I have learned that even though change is a difficult thing, mustering the courage to adapt to the situation can bring overwhelmingly positive results.