Hi everybody! My name is Nicolas Re and I am a Junior Mechanical Engineering student here at Stevens! I pole vaulted all throughout high school, so naturally a large part in my college decision process was looking at the athletics program. Lucky for me, Stevens has an incredible athletics department with tons of conference championships and all-american athletes. Though holding such a standard can be intimidating at times, the amazing staff and even better friendships make it that much easier to adjust to collegiate competition.
If you are planning on joining a varsity team at Stevens, the most important thing to keep in mind (which will be iterated by coaches and athletes alike) is that academics comes first. In order to keep eligibility within athletics, as determined by the NCAA, a student must maintain at least a 1.70 cumulative GPA freshman year and a 2.00 GPA after. However, coaches and staff regularly check in on athletes and will give academic warnings below a certain GPA depending on the team (I believe track is a 3.00). But it is very rare to get to that point with all of the opportunities offered for help! For example, there are meetings twice a week for first year athletes that sort of act as a study hall. These meetings are usually run by an upperclassmen on the team and are a great way to collaborate on homework and get to know your fellow teammates! Speaking of which, your teammates are also a great resource for help in school. The upperclassmen of the track team have really helped me through some difficult courses and are always excited to do so.
Now that the boring part is out of the way, we can finally talk about athletics, specifically practices. One of the major concerns that haunts all first year students is early morning practices. Believe me, it is never easy to get up for a 7 AM lift, but there are ways to make it a little less terrible. First and foremost, GO TO BED EARLY. I know it sounds pretty obvious, but early bedtimes are not in most college kids’ vocabularies. I usually try to go to bed by 11:00 in season so that I can wake up ready to go. Second, get your homework done in advance. There have been quite a few times that I’m finishing my homework for my 9 AM class on the bus back from practice. It is not a good time and can usually be avoided by doing it the night before. Finally, make sure you eat breakfast. Even if it’s just a protein bar on your way out, you need something in your system to get energy from for practice. Training on an empty stomach can be unhealthy and sometimes dangerous so don’t forget to eat. But, when it all comes down to it, seeing your friends on the field or in the weight room will instantly cure your drowsiness and get you ready to practice your hardest every day.
So you made it through practice and school and now you are finally ready to compete! The first collegiate competition is scary for everybody. Everybody who made it this far is a great athlete, so your opponents will be harder to defeat than they were in high school. This is when you need to remember that you trained for this and you were good enough to make it this far. I remember my freshman year, I was in a huge slump. I didn’t clear a bar for my first three meets, and it wasn’t until I realized that I made the team for a reason and just had to have fun doing what I love that I started to improve. Of course you should always strive to be better in your sport, but save that for practice. Once the competition rolls around, you just need to execute and remember why you love doing what you do.
I hope this was helpful to anyone considering becoming a varsity athlete at Stevens and if you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org! Can’t wait to meet you all in the fall!
Nicolas Re, Mechanical Engineering