As we have been in season for a solid two months now, there is a lot to reflect upon and a lot to be thankful for. Being a student athlete certainly presents unique challenges in terms of workload and time management, but this is a time of year for thanks and a time to remind ourselves of why we should be grateful. There are certain expectations to uphold when you join a team that typically finds its way into the top ten of the NCAA. However, when you have a slow start to the season, there can be a tendency to think negatively and internalize undesired results, but that is never productive and never leads to a resolution.
Being a freshman on a team that is underperforming in comparison to last year’s team is especially stressful because you begin to question your own contributions and worth. The freshman class can’t help but think we are not filling the shoes of the seniors that graduated and that we must do better! Positivity becomes key when a team is experiencing a tough start to the season because things will turn around, and it is important to believe in your team, teammates, and coaches and to trust the process. Our team has heart, and I truly believe our results will begin to match our efforts, and even though we might be struggling with the wins and losses right now, I have never questioned whether I have chosen the right school.
The truth is, there are no guarantees of what your team’s season will hold, which is why you need to choose wisely. When I decided Princeton was my first choice of where to attend school, I asked myself one question—If you get hurt the first day of practice and can’t play hockey anymore, would you still want to be there for four years, and is it still your first choice? For me, the answer was a resounding yes! I am where I want to be, and I couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunity I am being provided.
I am grateful for my teammates who push me to achieve, challenge me in practice, support each other, make me laugh when I am down, know how to have a good time, are always there to provide advice and have welcomed me into their school and into their community! I am grateful to my coaches who are honest with me, committed to our team and our success, knowledgeable, experienced, unwilling to give up on us, and always available to talk. I am grateful to my professors who teach for the love of teaching, make classes interesting, want me to be successful, and make themselves available to meet to accommodate my schedule. I am grateful to have the opportunity to walk on the same paths as Albert Einstein, Michelle Obama, James Madison, Jeff Bezos, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and John Nash, and to wear the same crest on my chest as Hobey Baker and Patty Kazmaier. I am grateful for the incredible people I have met on this campus, the friends I have made so far, and the amazing people I know I will meet in the future. Lastly, I am grateful for my parents who are providing me with this unforgettable experience and opportunity to play hockey and study at my dream school. We will turn the season around, but even if we don’t, we all know why we are here, and I wouldn’t trade places with anyone! Go Tigers!