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Common Sense

The Student News Site of Thomas S. Wootton High School

Common Sense

The Student News Site of Thomas S. Wootton High School

Common Sense

Common Sense alum Kate Hawley kicks off college soccer career

Kate+Hawley+%28third+from+left%29+and+her+teammates+celebrate+a+victory+during+their+6v6+tournament+at+training.+Hawley+has+acclimated+to+her+new+school%2C+the+University+of+Maryland%2C+with+ease+since+starting+classes+on+Jan.+24.
Photo courtesy Kate Hawley
Kate Hawley (third from left) and her teammates celebrate a victory during their 6v6 tournament at training. Hawley has acclimated to her new school, the University of Maryland, with ease since starting classes on Jan. 24.

5:30 a.m. – wake up and make breakfast.
6:30 a.m. – change into practice gear in the locker room.
7 a.m. to 10 a.m. – practice and lift with the Maryland Women’s Soccer Team.
11 a.m.- recovery/wellness break.
12 p.m. – chemistry class.
1 p.m. – eat lunch at “the Y” dining hall.
2-4:30 p.m. – business class.
4:30-6 p.m. – complete homework.
6-8:30 p.m. – eat dinner, hang out with friends.
9 p.m. – go to bed.

Above is a typical Wednesday for alum Kate Hawley since entering college after only one semester of her high school senior year: quite an atypical schedule for others her age.

Having committed to the University of Maryland’s women’s soccer team, Hawley graduated high school a semester early so she could begin preparing for the 2024 fall season with her new team. Navigating an uncommon transition like this can be frightening and difficult, however, Hawley was able to successfully adapt to her new environment with the help of a strong support system and a motivated mindset.

Hawley has settled in at the University of Maryland (UMD) and reflects on the smooth switch from high school to college. “The transition was pretty easy and I didn’t find myself feeling lost or confused about college life. I think part of that was because I had such a packed schedule and I had to manage my time thoughtfully,” Hawley said.

Though her experience is different from the usual high school-college adaptation, something that made it easier was keeping herself busy. “I think when a lot of kids come to college they’re overwhelmed with the amount of time and lack of commitments they now have. For me it was the opposite; I have little free time and I learned how to manage my time well,” Hawley said.

Additionally, in Hawley’s unique experience, there was no summer break between the school years to promote laziness. She was able to jump from school to school without losing the academic momentum from the start of the year.

Despite the differences, she still experienced the same emotions most do when undergoing a change in setting. “I miss my friends and my parents, but it hasn’t been overwhelming. I was familiar with the school and the people on my team, which made me more comfortable. I also still feel connected to my high school community through social media and calling my friends and family often,” Hawley said.

But what about the second semester of senior year? Does leaving so soon create a sense of lost opportunity? For Hawley, the answer was no. “While I know I am missing a lot of high school events during my senior semester, every moment I spend here I’m glad I came early. I do miss my friends, teachers and school, but everyone goes through that; I just went through it a little earlier. My life feels so different now than it was a month ago, but it’s a good change,” Hawley said.

As far as her collegiate athletics, Hawley loves playing with her team despite some obstacles that come with college sports. “College sports aren’t easy and they require hard work that people don’t quite realize until they get there. For example, when I get to my 9:30 class and everyone else has just woken up, I’ve already been up for three and a half hours training hard, and I have to do my best in class. Playing a sport in college is a different experience, but I love it,” Hawley said.

The team also provides a strong support system that has welcomed Hawley to the community at UMD. “Everyone has been extremely welcoming and kind,” Hawley said. “Two girls on my team are in the same situation as I am, coming in early, and we’ve become really close friends. It’s great to have that support system, especially on draining days. Being a college athlete is a lot of work but a lot of fun.”

Familiar with the jitters of leaving normalcy, Hawley has noted things that improved her transition and offered recommendations to other seniors preparing for their switch. “For seniors going to college in the fall: try to make as many friends as you can. Especially at an out-of-state school, it is common to find yourself feeling alone. If you don’t actively try to put yourself out there and make an effort in your first few weeks, it will likely stay that way. Remember everyone will be in the same boat as you, so try to be outgoing and meet people who are like-minded,” Hawley said.

Furthermore, she recognizes the importance of adjusting to the format of your new life. Generally, the structure of college courses differs greatly from high school classes. For instance, rather than having homework each night due the next morning, most college professors give a load of homework that is due after some extended period of time leaving the students to manage their work independently. “Manage your time, schedule and assignments well. You’re on your own schedule, so no one will hold you accountable like your parents or teachers used to. It’s on you to handle your work,” Hawley said.

Lastly, though it may be a cliche, it is advice that Hawley has followed and urges others to follow as well: “Have fun and enjoy it! You’re only in college for a few years and they’re supposed to be some of the best years of our lives. At the end of the day It’s hard to leave your family and home but try to have fun and stay focused on school,” Hawley said.

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