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Devils' Advocate

Devils' Advocate

Olivia Sparks achieves excellence as a collegiate freshman

Olivia Sparks achieves excellence as a collegiate freshman

As HC graduation grows closer, many current seniors are beginning to think about the changes they will undergo in the next six months, as they consider college and possible additional post-high school plans. For those attending college, the transition from high school to college life can be significant, especially for collegiate athletes.

“Looking back, it was definitely a difficult transition,” Transylvania University freshman track runner and Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Women’s Track Athlete of the Year Olivia Sparks said. “However, at the time you’re going through it— while you are uncomfortable— you don’t realize exactly how taxing it is.”

As a freshman, most students around you are in the same boat and just as inexperienced with college life, making this transition feel fairly relatable. Additionally, in college classes, the environment is drastically different from that of typical high school classes.

“I will say that the class structure is extremely different from high school,” Sparks said. “Your professors treat you like adults and there is never any downtime in class.”

While it requires adaptation, the collegiate environment can be beneficial to many, teaching students habits and life lessons they will forever utilize.

“I have certainly realized there are a lot of things that I a) don’t know and b) are not good at,” said Sparks. “It can be a difficult pill to swallow to realize that you aren’t as prepared as you thought you were, but at the end of the day, you just have to adapt and keep moving forwards.”

While HC can’t prepare students for everything they encounter in college, Blue Devil teachers and administrators do their best to make this transition as seamless as possible. 

“The relationships I made with teachers at Henry Clay were extremely helpful as I transitioned into college— it’s important to develop a relationship with your professors,” Sparks said. “My school also requires a bunch of general education requirements, so taking courses in a variety of disciplines at Henry Clay helped give me a little bit of background information.” 

Playing collegiate sports can be a valuable mode of spending time in college, even if it’s simply joining club or intramural sports. 

“It’s nice to have a scheduled time to work on something other than school,” Sparks said. “You feel productive, release endorphins, and have time to socialize with people. There are certainly downsides to being busy, but for me, it’s better for my mental health than excessive downtime.”

Many current seniors are beginning to feel overwhelmed about the process they will soon undergo of moving into college— moving miles away, meeting new people, and living in a new place can be intimidating.

“Regarding the transition in general, give yourself time,” Sparks said. “It’s not going to click immediately. No one knows what they’re doing either, so just give yourself grace and time and eventually things will calm down and you’ll settle in. Just keep moving forward, and looking back you’ll be surprised at what all you made it through.”

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About the Contributor
Meryl Crandall, Editor
Meryl Crandall is a senior and an editor of the Devils' Advocate. This is her second year in journalism. She enjoys traveling, hanging out with her friends, playing tennis, and taking pictures and videos in her free time.

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