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Embrace it Because Before You Know It, It’s Gone

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This is my second entry and, although it hasn’t been that long since my first blog, I’ll start where I left off.  As I mentioned, I am in my junior year at Clarkson University and I can tell you that time has been flying by.  I can remember when my first year started and all the upperclassmen told me to embrace it because before you know it, you’ll be done.  Thinking they were crazy and that four years was an extremely long time, I now know they were right.

I think I speak for a lot of people when I say I had to give up a lot of things to get where I am today.  Coming from a small town you get a lot of support from your community, family, and friends but no one really understands the dedication you put into the sport; your life.  I have had to make many choices and those choices had me miss out on a lot of activities growing up.  When my friends decided to go hang out after school, I couldn’t because I had to go workout.  Although hockey was my number one sport, I also played volleyball, golf, curling, badminton, and track.  I had to give up all those sports in high school, not because of my own choice, but because I was told I had to.  It wasn’t fair to others when I could only make one practice a week and maybe a few games every second weekend.  Hockey became even more of passion and when I got older, I began missing out onmore and more things.  My family never really had a normal Christmas because for four years, my hockey team was in the Mac’s AAA Invitational Tournament. We left the morning of December 25th and didn’t come home until around January 2nd.   I couldn’t attend my grandparent’s 50th wedding anniversary, my great grandma’s 95th birthday, my mom’s 50th birthday, family new years, thanksgivings and many more events.  I was the reason my graduation had to be moved up a week and summers run short a month because of Team Canada tryouts.

Getting to this point in my life and hockey career has not come easy.  Most girls who go off to college can probably agree with me that it is hard to leave home but I don’t think many can relate to my situation.  I chose to go to a school that is almost 40 hours away from my hometown and adjusting to that change was difficult.  Freshman year is a time to make new friends, fail most of your classes, begin to make an impact on your team, and figure out how you are going to survive the next four years in college.  Freshman orientation is supposed to get you familiar with life on campus and ease you into the next four years of your life.  I was not so fortunate.

For years I had been attending Under 18 Team Canada camps and learning the dedication needed to further my hockey career.  In my last year in the Under 18 program, I made the team to play the US in august.  We were in Quebec for the 3 game series and my mom decided to make the trip east to watch me play.  The camp lasted until the day before I started my freshman year so when I arrived on campus, I literally was thrown into the shark tank.  I spent four hours in Walmart trying to get everything I thought I would need the first few days off classes. It was Sunday so all my bedding, most of my clothes, my computer/printer, and room key were still being mailed or were locked away in the housing department.  Good thing I had talked to my roommate before I left for camp because I would have had no bedding or clean clothes.  Long story short, it was a gongshow the first week of school and very very stressful.

During my first year of the Under 22 program with Team Canada, I made the team and traveled overseas to Switzerland and Germany.  I worked extremely hard over the summer and my first semester of sophomore year to train to make the team.  All my hard work paid off and I had an amazing time competing for my country.  Wearing the maple leaf was a dream come true and fueled my desire for more.  For the next two years I trained harder than ever before and discovered muscle pain I never thought I could have.  I gave up a lot and dedicated my life to training and challenging myself.  Two years in a row, I attended May team Canada camp, august camp, and was released. Those words, “I’m sorry but we will have to release you,” echoed in my mind and crushed almost all my drive to wear the maple leaf again.  In the duration of a year, I lost a cousin I was very close to, and both my grandma and grandpa.   And just this past summer, two close friends past away very tragically.  I believe these losses have made me grow up a lot and have made a huge impact on my life.  I have come to realize that even though rejection can be very demeaning and losing people you love may make the world crumble before your feet, it is nothing you can’t get past. I feel that a person’s inner strength and dreams can be strong enough to overcome anything.  This is why I feel that life is worth living, one day at a time.  You can’t control what’s not in your power but as an individual you can be the best person you can be and live every moment like it’s your last.

When I chose to go to Clarkson University, I knew the next four years would be the years to grow up, be an adult and begin a new chapter of my life.  Almost every experience I have gotten has been through hockey and, even now hockey is what is getting me a great education and the opportunity of a lifetime.  I will never regret the decisions I have made and will always cherish the memories, loved ones and friendships I have had in my life thus far.

All for now, dream big and live in the moment!

Katelyn

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