I have had an awfully long time to reflect back on my freshman year at UVM. It was a whirlwind of new experiences and I have countless memories from my first two semesters of college. It doesn’t feel like very long ago I was unpacking my things in my dorm and meeting all my teammates for the first time. I was aware that it was going to go by fast, but it went even faster than I had anticipated.
Up until now, I have lived in Illinois, in the same house, for my whole life. I have always had one place to call home, but I have caught myself calling Burlington home on multiple occasions. It was undoubtably hard to leave home, but the fact that I have been able to call somewhere else home is crazy to me. A big reason as to why I have been able to do this is because of the people I have met and been able to build relationships with these past nine months. I am so thankful to be where I am, and I look forward to returning to campus in about three and half months.
I was lucky enough to share my first year of college with someone who is very special to me, and that is my sister, Annie. We are thirteen months apart, I took a postgrad year before coming to UVM, so we ended up starting college at the same time. We roomed together, took a few of the same classes, and I loved being able to have her right there with me. The distance home is far, but she made it feel much shorter. She will be transferring back home next semester because she missed being close to home. Undeniably, it will be very different not having her in Vermont. Annie is one of my biggest fans and my best friend. But, I know the road ahead of her holds great things and I cannot wait to see the success she has in the future.
The hockey was the highlight of it all for me. I loved the speed, the intensity, and enjoyed myself everyday. We had a veteran team this season with seven seniors and six juniors, along with our underclassmen who are all very skilled hockey players. Just about everyday, I would wake up in the morning between 5:45 and 6:00 AM to get ready to head to the rink. Even though most of the days I was exhausted and it was sometimes hard to get out of bed, the girls made it worth waking up and coming to the rink. We ended up losing to Boston College in the semi-finals of Hockey East in double OT. When the game was over, and although it signified the end of our year, it did not take away from what we accomplished. What we did was remarkable in my eyes, and losing is never fun, but I could not be more proud of what we did with the year.
I feel like the experiences you have in your lifetime are often shaped by the people that surround you. My freshman year was one I will never forget and I owe it all to my sister, the people that I met, and all the girls who were a part of our team. The group of girls we had this year brought so much to the team and we had so many different personalities to make up our crew. The atmosphere on the ice, in the locker room, on road trips, and everywhere we went was created by my teammates. Even if I was not having the best day, or in a bad mood, it was hard to stay that way because I felt like someone was always making me laugh or putting a smile on my face.
Our senior class truly led the charge this year, and I am confident that we would not have had such a great season if it were not for them. They were leaders, and, as a freshman, to get to be a part of that was something I will forever be grateful for. They built a culture within our team that me, and the rest of our team, can only work to uphold in the years to come. In the past, I have always had to say good bye to girls moving up in age groups or going to play elsewhere, but now I will be saying good bye to people I care about every year. I wish them all the best, I am going to miss them all so much, and I will never forget the impact they all made on me personally this year.
As for school, college alone is difficult, when you add a sport to the mix you need to find that healthy balance. Hockey has always been my incentive to get my school work done because I knew if I did not do my work I wasn’t going to play on the weekends. It is rough to study, write essays, and turn in assignments when you have such a big commitment in your sport, but once you get into the swing of things everything falls into place.
Just like with anything, you can never predict what lies on the road ahead. I didn’t totally know what to expect out of this year, but what I got out of it was more than I could have ever hoped for. I am awestricken by the opportunity I have to go to school, play hockey, and most of all the chance I have gotten to meet people who I now get to call some of closest friends. Now that the year has come to a close and I am preparing for my sophomore year, I am going to make sure I enjoy every second of it. This year flew by and I know that time wont ever slow down. I am going to take what time I have, everything it brings with it, and appreciate the journey.