LARAMIE, Wyo. -
On Wednesday October 28, 2015 the Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) Executive Board hosted a Newcomer’s Transition Panel. The Newcomer’s Transition Panel is designed to assist “newcomers” (first year student-athletes and transfers) adapt to the emotional, cultural, academic, and athletic challenges they may face as new student-athletes at the University of Wyoming. The SAAC Executive Board, included Kayla Henderson (VB), Kalah Skates (Track), Bridgette Shanahan (VB), Gabrielle Gibson (Golf), and Matt Cook (Swimming), initiated the discussion with introductions of themselves and that then expanded to having each of the attendees introduce themselves.
The executive board members then presented the newcomers with their own personal experiences as newcomers at UW and their recommendations for getting through these unfamiliar challenges. Going to college for any student is a big change, but as a student-athlete the transition can be extremely overwhelming. Many of the executive board members discussed feeling homesick, feeling overwhelmed with the intensity of classwork, and feeling discouraged on the field, court, track or pool as an inexperienced new teammate. The executive board members recommended that newcomers feeling homesick call their family every Sunday and build supportive relationships with their teammates, as other student-athletes on the team really do become your family. They also recommended writing down priorities, practicing good time management skills, taking advantage of the tutors and other resources available in study hall and connecting and developing a relationship with Professors in order to temper the overwhelming intensity of college classes. For feeling discouraged as an inexperienced new teammate, the executive board members reminded the newcomers that over time and as they settle into a routine, things do get better. Gabrielle and Bridgette both expressed their gratitude for the opportunity to have experienced a “redshirt” freshman year. The executive board members focused on the importance of staying positive and taking one day at a time.
Fortunately, student-athletes at UW have support all around them. UW athletics’ teammates, fellow student-athletes, coaches, athletic trainers, academic advisors, and athletic department staff are all more than happy to help student-athletes succeed and have a positive experience. The executive board members enlightened the newcomers of this fact and encouraged them not to be afraid to ask for help. The board then opened the discussion to the newcomers in order to allow newcomers to ask any questions they had. The Newcomer Transition Panel was successful at letting the newcomers know that they are not alone in feeling homesick and overwhelmed and that they have access to many different outlets of support across athletics.