While writing this, I was able to reflect on my own process and how it all unfolded — you can read about it here if you didn’t catch my previous article on overcoming adversity from hockey injuries.
I realized in life you aren’t given a second chance or opportunity too many times. Fortunately, Robert Morris University has provided me with a second chance — a second chance at happiness, success, lifelong friendships, and of course hockey. Since stepping on this campus I’ve felt nothing but love and acceptance. People who were mere strangers a week ago have become friends that I know will last a lifetime.
Sometimes, the scariest of decisions turn into the most marvellous ones. In my time away from a team atmosphere and the college life, I was able to understand one of the most important concepts of life. I’ve learned that happiness doesn’t revolve around a place or people, but more importantly I’ve learned that happiness is a state of mind. Those places or people who surround you are just what helps you find that state of mind.
Eight months ago, if you would’ve asked me how I would be doing today, I never could’ve imagined I’d be in such an amazing place and surrounded by the amazing people I’m with today. Healing isn’t linear. In the low never forget to aspire and believe your highs could be so amazing.
Here’s the most important things I’ve learned during my process of transferring from Clarkson University to Robert Morris University:
1. BE PATIENT
One bad game isn’t going to dictate your entire career. Take a breath, work hard. Fight harder than you ever imagined you could.
2. RELY ON OTHERS
It’s okay to be confused and not know what you want. Talk to the ones you love. Their support is what has gotten you to this level. Share your emotions, concerns, struggles, and sadness. Sometimes other people’s advice can open your eyes more than your own thoughts can.
3. BE BRAVE
Own your decision. Recognize that this choice is one that is going to better you. It can be a scary process, but don’t doubt yourself. Trust your gut and believe in your abilities.
4. BELIEVE IN YOURSELF
It’s easy to fall into the mentality of “I’m not good enough”. Remember, you are good enough. You wouldn’t have made it to the level you’re at if you didn’t have the skill or ability to play at that level. Sometimes the place you’re in doesn’t have the vision for your skill, but that doesn’t mean your skill isn’t there. Have the ability to say, “I am good enough, and I am going to prove that I’m good enough”.
5. APPRECIATE THE ONES WHO WERE THERE FOR YOU
On the days you shed tears because you were so sad and frustrated, remember those people who sat and listened. The ones who wiped your tears and told you it’s going to be okay. Thank them, hug them, and show your appreciation for them because without them, you wouldn’t be where you are today.
6. MAKE THE CHOICE FOR YOU
When you do decide to transfer, don’t make the choice for anyone but yourself. Find the place that gives you that “home” feeling in your stomach when you’re standing in the rink; find the coach who wants you to be a part of their program because they see and value your skill; find the group of girls in the locker room who take the time to greet you, ask what your name is, and take time out of their day to make yours better.
Those are the things and people you want to surround yourself with. Don’t listen to the people who want to bring you down and degrade the place you desire to call your new home. Do this for you, because at the end of the day this is your life and you only get to live it once.
7. BE THE BEST TEAMMATE YOU CAN BE
Being in a new environment, it’s easy to go mute or try too hard to be the center of attention. Find that happy-medium and create relationships with these new people. Be the most supportive, hard working and caring teammate you can be. Take time to ask your teammates how they’re doing and what you can do for them. This will go a long way in gaining respect from these people you barely know.
8. WORK HARDER THAN EVER BEFORE
Train harder, longer, and more focused than you ever have before. Expect to be handed nothing. You’re going to be new and you’re going to have to gain respect from your teammates and coaches. Come prepared for testing. Be prepared to battle everyday like someone is going to take your spot. Nothing is given, everything is earned. Bring the best version of yourself on and off the ice each day.
9. HAVE FUN
You aren’t given second chances in life many times — don’t waste them. Enjoy the process and the grind. Have fun playing because at the end of the day, you play hockey because when you were young you were captivated by this sport and somewhere along the way it turned into your passion.
10. THANK THE PEOPLE WHO HELPED YOU GET TO WHERE YOU ARE
When things are going well, it’s easy to forget about where you came from. It’s easy to only see the sunshine in front of you and not the cloudy days you once faced. The days where you cried because you felt worthless, beaten down, exhausted, and simply broken. The people you leaned on to help erase those feelings, tell them how much it means and how the smile you bare so brightly today wouldn’t be there if it wasn’t for them. How the love and support they gave you didn’t go unnoticed or unappreciated. If you can, hug them and let them feel the happiness you now have radiate through their body.
11. RECOGNIZE YOUR PROGRESS
Make sure you take the time to see how far you have come. Healing isn’t linear. It’s filled with highs and lows, peaks and valleys. Remember those feelings you felt in your lows, but also celebrate the highs. Take a second to see how happy you are in a particular moment and realize that all the struggles you endured have helped you grow and reach this moment.