In high school, hockey was the one challenge that always took me out my element. Academic challenges had become a norm, so when I first started to learn hockey, it was a humbling experience to say the least. My experience with hockey in college has been almost the complete opposite. In my first semester of college, one which could best be described as a whirlwind of new faces, names, classes, places, sleeping patterns, and much more, hockey has become the one stable constant in my newfound persistently changing college life.
Even though I am on a team of new girls, coaches, and playing dynamic, every time I step out onto the ice I gain a comforting familiar feeling that I am somewhere where I belong. As I find myself adjusting to each new challenge or confusing choice that freshmen year presents me, I’ve become incredibly appreciative for having at least one routine that makes me feel at home. The team is made up of a fantastic group of girls who have become a family to me. From rookie initiation, to our holiday potlucks and road trips to away games, anytime I’m with the team is a memorable one. Just as the M&T community has helped me adjust to Penn’s new academic scene, playing hockey has given me a new home away from home that’s helped me transition to my new life at Penn.
Ironically enough, despite all the amazing new things I’ve learned my first semester, I am probably more uncertain than ever about my future. But if there’s one thing college has taught me, it’s to make time for the things you love. When I first came to Penn I told myself I was only going to play hockey if my schedule allowed it. Now I can’t possibly see myself having a schedule without it. As 10 AM classes have made me increasingly awful at waking up early, I’d like to think that the miracle that helps me crawl out of bed for 7 AM practice is a testament to just how much I love this sport.
Michelle is a current M&T freshman in the Class of 2016. She is still contemplating majoring in Computer Engineering within Penn Engineering and has yet to declare her concentration in the Wharton School.