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To my first year self,

You have no idea about the rollercoaster ride you just signed up for. In the coming years, you will face many challenges that will force you to get out of your comfort zone. It will be uncomfortable, sad, and most definitely frustrating. However, these challenges will be nothing compared to the many highs you will experience.

First, it will not be easy to adjust to a new culture, but be open-minded to new experiences and perspectives. There will be many things you miss from home, but you will also gain so much from this adventure across the ocean. It might be hard to imagine right now, but the friends you make will become your family. I know it feels scary to stand on your own legs without your parents and sisters right now, but you will succeed.

One of the challenges you will face is a world-wide pandemic, but do not let the struggles of isolation keep you from achieving your goals. There will be things you learn to appreciate more such as being allowed to compete and seeing your friends at the blue turf every day.

Don’t be afraid to take a different path than you had planned, because eventually you will figure out what you want to do in life. Just give it time and dare to do something different.

Lastly, the biggest thing I want you to do is enjoy every second of your time at UVA. The four years will fly by quickly and you won’t even realize where the time went. There are not many people that get the opportunity to go to college at UVA and be part of academic and athletic excellence. Allow yourself to make mistakes and learn from them. You will experience so many great things as a player and definitely allow yourself to be proud of every small thing you accomplish. There will be a lot of experiences and friendships that you will cherish for the rest of your life. You will be part of amazing teams that will all teach you different things about yourself. Just remember: there will be losses, but do not let these overrule the many wins.


Laura Janssen

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