Many 17- and 18-year-olds go through the somewhat daunting process of moving away from home and into their college dorm room. Once the excitement of moving and going through orientation pass, new college students can start to feel overwhelmed and not at all prepared for what they face.
Fall athletes are given an advantage, however, as they are able to move in a week early, or even more, depending on their sport. At Bluffton University, many of the fall athletes were given the chance to adjust to their new life when they moved in a week earlier than the rest of the freshmen.
Victoria Wilson, a first-year student who was recruited to play on the golf team, said she got a better chance to adjust not only to life here as a student-athlete but also to her surroundings.
“I liked moving in early because I had a chance to get to know the campus better,” Wilson said.
One of the many adjustments college students face is getting to know the campus that they are living on. Although they may not admit it, many students experience getting lost on their campus on their first day of classes. Athletes who move in early have the advantage of getting to know the campus before classes start, saving themselves from what some consider huge embarrassment.
Justin Edwards, a first-year football player, was given the opportunity to move onto campus approximately 13 days before the rest of the freshmen would move in. He was able to find his way around campus without many people watching him get lost.
“Being ‘by myself’ helped me find out where everything was because nobody was on campus,” Edwards said.
Not only did many other student-athletes have the chance of getting to know the campus, but they were also able to settle in and meet their teammates. Natilee Grover, a first-year volleyball athlete, was grateful for the extra time she was given to unpack her room.
“When I first moved in, being able to unpack and organize everything helped me to settle in,” Grover said.
One of the hardest parts of moving onto campus is the separation the student experiences from their home. The more comfortable they are, the better they will feel. Grover was given a chance to make her dorm room feel like home-away-from-home in the week she moved in, without having to worry about classes or freshmen orientation.
What about when you finish unpacking your room, and you have nothing to do? Besides knowing their teammates, fall athletes don’t know many people. This caused Grover to step out of her comfort zone and meet other students who didn’t play volleyball.
“It also put me out of my comfort zone to meet new people because I didn’t have anyone to talk to,” Grover said.
Having the college experience before college starts is not only a great opportunity, but it also allows for a better college experience. Kimmie Hetrick, a first-year cross country team member, summarized her entire experience in one sentence that may just summarize what every fall athlete feels when they move in early.
“You get to experience college before college even starts.”