Just an Athlete
Everyone experiences different life situations that teach valuable lessons and push them to be the best versions of themselves. We’ve all undergone something a little uncomfortable, if not many things, that have prepared us to cope with experiences along the way. My family has always been very sports-driven, so I was practically destined to be an athlete. Over the years, I’ve learned being an athlete comes with making sacrifices, sometimes pushing yourself out of your comfort zone, and learning how to train your mind when it’s time to get something done. As well through the years, I have learned it also comes with great responsibility. For the longest time, I truly believed I was just playing sports and enjoying the game. I thought I was just an athlete. I did not realize sports would change and shape me into who I am today and want to be in the future.
Growing up, from a young age, I participated in the many different sports available to me. I played softball, volleyball, basketball, tennis, and cross country. However, I never realized that being an athlete didn’t just mean working hard and getting better. There were many aspects of playing sports that taught me lessons that didn’t register until recently. The furthest back I can remember would be when I was nine and played AAU basketball. The pressure is always on, even at that age, but it is especially harsh in travel sports. The anxieties and pressures I have faced while playing sports have been challenging but have pushed me to be a better athlete. Learning to overcome these situations have strengthened the coping skills I will need later in life.
Another situation I remember is a volleyball game during my sophomore year when we played our rivals in the district championship. There were hundreds of people there, and the opposing team’s student section was on the balcony shouting at us the entire game. The students were spouting horrible things trying desperately to get in our heads. I remember enduring so much pressure not to make any mistakes and when I did, it felt like I let everyone down. Mistake after mistake, it would leave me hopeless, sometimes wondering why I even played. I can still relive the nervous pregame feelings and the panic when the coach would call me and put me in the game. Looking back, I am so thankful for every single game spent like that. Sports taught me how to lose, how to win, how to work with others, how to overcome anger, and how to push through even the worst games. Still, this has not made me just an athlete.
The challenges of playing sports and the many lessons I’ve learned have sparked my curiosity about human behavior and emotion. I am so interested in solutions to the psychological issues people face, and I want to know about the science behind it. I’m eager to help people learn the same valuable life skills I have learned over the years and overcome any psychological issues they experience and get to the root cause. I want to know why those feelings occur and how they affect people. I am not and will not be just an athlete. I will be a psychologist, and I have the many years of athletic and mental training behind me to thank for that.
I want to study psychology at UT Martin, which is the prime place for me. I know that my parents and I, alone, will not be able to pay for my entire college tuition. I have worked hard in high school by joining clubs, completing several hours of community service, and receiving awards to increase my chances of earning more scholarships. I am so thankful that there are several options at UT Martin for financial aid and many scholarships available to me. My goal is to use any money I get towards a useful purpose and earn the degrees I am striving to reach. I am thrilled to attend Martin next fall and very hopeful; I am prepared to be diligent in my schoolwork and make a difference in my study area.