Picking Up the Pieces

If any of you know me well, you are well aware I am currently in possession of four or five diar- journals. They’re journals.

I’d be in possession of six if I could find the journal I wrote in fifth grade when I recorded my feline endeavors at recess as “Blackstar”, leader of Thunderclan, but I think I must’ve done a great job hiding it because I’ve been looking for years now to no avail. One of my high school friends will undoubtedly bring it out just in time for my engagement party within the next ten years. Thanks! ❤

The first journal (alright, it really should just be called what it really is…a “diary”) is a spiral notebook with a hard pink cover. A flower adorns the cover and “MY JoUrNaL” is printed sheepishly around the stem, as if an afterthought. My first entry is dated November 18, 2005.

Once inside (if you could unlock it, that is), you’d realize all of the entries are pretty mundane- unless you were my younger sister at the time. The diary included the classes I went to in seventh grade, Venn diagrams of my crushes and their strengths/weaknesses, and random song lyrics I had been feelin’ at the time (Duran Duran). Basically, anything you would imagine would be in a journal which has, “THIS BOOK BELONGS TO NO OTHER THAN THE GREAT KRISTIN, NOT YOURS SO DEAL WITH IT” scribbled on the front inside cover. Yes, it was scrawled proudly across the page in sparkly gel pen. It was 2005, man. A hell of a year for any millennial.

The most satisfying part of having a diary (or several) is being able to glimpse back to a time where memories might ordinarily have become muddled by time or bias. Having the ability to look back at written material has served me well. When I wasn’t meticulously recording my crushes and their daily interactions with me (“omg Alex saw me in the hall today, I think he looked at me”) or showcasing the spelling fads of 2007 (“i no i shouldnt b saying this but i ❤ jordan. his eyes r awesome tho”), it is interesting to see how my brain processes information at the time.

Though my spelling has gotten much better (I still struggle with “i” before “e”, except after “c” or whatever the hell it is) and I’ve become less boy crazy since the days I hid behind my bed to scribble down the events of the day, parts of my thirteen year old self carried over into my college years- for better or worse.

Hidden between the hundreds of pages I’d written about volleyball, soccer, and crushes was a girl struggling with self acceptance. She just didn’t quite realize how much this struggle would impact her late teenage years quite yet.

Middle and high school can be remembered fondly to some, while others bask in the glory of having the class bully unclog their toilet forty years later. To say the least, it may be a time best described as having many highs and lows. :.)

Our innocence waned as we learned cuss words on the bus from the older kids, we finally figured out what Chat Roulette was while at a sleepover, and broke curfew…again and again.

My childhood was somewhat more sheltered than most in the sense it was mercifully uneventful until my teenage years.

My diary entries noticeably shifted as 2005 slipped to 2007, then 2008. I continued to sporadically write into high school, but did not write much beyond a few entries in 2008 and two in 2011 (one had been ripped out). I began writing less about my crushes, favorite songs, and daily encounters with my teachers and family.

The girl whose biggest issue was worrying about not making the soccer team now drew a picture of herself pointing out her flaws, writing “ugly” repetitively over the page. I was pale, fat, had too large a nose, regretted cutting my hair, overdid my eye makeup, and hated my freckles. The date above the crudely drawn picture was March 21, 2008. I was sixteen.

Why couldn’t I look like the pretty, popular girls at my school?


Above: Teenagers tend to be a bit hard on themselves when encountering a herd of their own kind at school. It’s a time often characteristic of trying to fit in- I was no exception.

It was the beginning of a long and difficult road, a struggle not singularly unique to my life.

The girl who looked back at me in the mirror continued to remind me of everything I failed to be. Not only was my appearance unsightly to me, but my perceived personality flaws were now under scrutiny as well. Bashing myself became a cruel hobby, the innocent child in me struggling to stay afloat with compliments I now felt were lies.

I was under the impression nobody liked me, I was a weak leader who constantly underperformed at volleyball, I was a failure/benchwarmer at soccer, and I was selfish. Coaches constantly told me to “fix my face”. Why did I look sad or bitchy one minute then become overly cocky the next?

Unbeknownst to me or anyone else at the time, I was in the early stages struggling with some mental health challenges. While it is normal for a middle or high school student to feel awkward and unconfident, my brain had been in overdrive and had convinced me I was an evil, horrible person undeserving of affection. While not an excuse for my behavior at the time, it definitely gives some insight looking back. It didn’t matter how much my parents and siblings loved and cared about me. I had convinced myself otherwise.

The insecurity, anxiety, and pessimism I had been feeling was further amplified when I thought I may not just be attracted to just boys like the other girls in my grade.

My hometown was a great place to grow up, but is not the forefront of progressiveness like many larger cities. Sexuality was viewed as a choice by many and the church I had attended since I was in preschool condemned gay marriage. I spent much of my junior year worrying someone would think I was disgusting, repulsive, and gross for feelings I had recognized since seventh grade. Taunted by upperclassmen in the halls, I spent time overthinking my every move while with my close friend.

At the time, I didn’t find solace at home. My sister and mother had correctly guessed I was in a relationship with another girl at school and I was terrified. Was the comfort and happiness I found while with my best friend and confidant worth the constant stress of being an embarrassment to my family? I didn’t have time to make the choice myself, as my friend chose to end the relationship before she graduated that spring.

Not only did I loathe myself, but now someone I had trusted deeply had denied we had ever been together. Heartbroken and confused, I began confessing my feelings through a Word document on my MacBook. I had to hide everything from my friends who had no idea any of the previous events occurred. Steadily, my writing became more dark and poetic, but pulled me away further and further from reality. I had no idea what was substantive in my life. I didn’t know if I was drowning in pain or if I was just numb. I began self harming to feel something- anything.

I continued writing at college after a year break. My freshman year had been a whirlwind of social events and stimuli, but I picked up the hobby again my sophomore year in the fall when my past relationship became a breaking point. I felt alone, insane, and didn’t know where to turn.

Entries became sloppy, ink trailed off pages, mixed with tears. An entire entry consisted of an untidy scrawl wherein I tried convincing myself I was another person. I had repeating the same phrase countless times until the page ended. Another page contained confused last rites. I was drunk nearly half of the nights I wrote entries. The same girl who worried over her appearance at sixteen had gotten carried away into a never-ending cycle of self loathing.

Writing had once been a fun release, a way to express myself not unlike my favorite characters from Meg Cabot books. My confessions and heartbreak had morphed into a twisted monster, threatening to finally convince me I was insane and unlovable, a worthy candidate of ending life as I knew it.

However, years later it serves as a reminder of how incredibly sick I had been during this period in my life. Though the entries are painful to read, it truly shows far I have come and how far off the rails I had gone during this period of my life. I had convinced myself of an overwhelming multitude of entirely false information. I lived my life off lies, overreactions, and misconstrued encounters. My illnesses had twisted my outlook on life and stolen years of happiness off my life. It took me awhile to realize my writing was not beautifully tragic, reminiscent of existentialist heroes like Sartre, Kierkegaard, and Nietzsche before me, but instead a clear sign I was not well. 

Though some of my behaviors are still evocative of the girl who loved to hate herself, it is more clear to me than ever how much I had needed help at the time. I was lucky to have friends and family who sought out help for me. I’m grateful to this day, because the girl in high school and college had no idea how hard she’d fight to find happiness- and how much progress she’d make by the time she turned twenty-five.

Self loathing had been built itself into the core of my being as a teenager, but I’ve changed this after years (yes, it took me years) of therapy sessions. More recently, I finally took a chance and let myself truly believe I wasn’t a horrible person. It didn’t come easily to me and is sometimes still a challenge, but by learning to dismiss the cruel voice in my head (not to be confused with schizophrenia), I am becoming happier. It turns out life is easier when you’re not trying to cut yourself down (wow!).

So although we don’t have a choice what challenges we are born with (or being born at all), we have a choice of who we become. With the right tools and attitude, humans can be remarkably resourceful. These tools and attitude will come more naturally to some, while others will need to fight more to gain the necessary skillset to be happier or even survive.

I was born into this world with some odds stacked against me (acknowledging my privilege as I am white). A few mental illnesses loomed on the horizon of my late teenage years when I was a kid, but I am incredibly lucky to be surrounded by a loving family and friends who wanted to see me succeed and gave me the resources to do so.

It hasn’t been an easy journey, but I’m learning to accept myself instead of resorting back to maladaptive behaviors and constantly putting myself down. Instead of allowing myself to get caught up in a tailspin of obsessive, pessimistic thoughts, I recognize my brain doesn’t interpret everyday events like a mentally healthy adult. Though it won’t always work right away, the fact I recognize my thoughts and behavior as unhelpful is a start.

Hopefully, I have a long life ahead of me (gawd willing). I might as well learn to like myself if I want to live my life to the fullest.


I’ve written less in journals or diaries as the years go on, but every once and awhile I take time to recount my day- no matter how mundane or uneventful. My journals have served as markers of my mental health through the years and continue to remind me that while life is ever changing, my overall positive attitude about life doesn’t need to.

In striving to find whatever positives I can, I’ve become healthier and overall happier. Even if I’m not entirely happy (who can honestly claim they’re happy all the time, let’s be real), I’m also learning through pain and sadness.

I’m not quite there yet, but I can say with confidence I am much better than I had been a year ago at this time. When morale gets low, I remind myself I’m not just living for myself, but I’m doing it for those I love. I know I want nothing more than to see my loved ones genuinely happy, so I try to put honest effort into becoming a happier, healthier person each and every day.

So far, it’s been working- because everyone deserves a chance at living their best life– one which includes true happiness and self-acceptance.

Can We Attribute Our Unhappiness to Social Media?

This is old news by now, but does the name Essena O’Neill ring a bell? No? In case you missed out on her video that went viral last November, I’ll give you a semi-quick rundown on the seventeen minute video. You can also check out her video here

Amidst tears, O’Neill draws attention to how “fake” she believes the social media world has become and how unaware the average viewer is to what really goes on behind the beautiful, yet highly unrealistic images viewers see on a daily basis. She claims her departure from this impractical world should serve as a wake up call for all her followers.

She tearfully continues on with her video (sans makeup) arguing “culture creates validation and insecurities” and later begs viewers and social media personalities to create content that isn’t based on “views, likes, or followers”. Furthermore, she launches a tirade against the business behind sponsored or paid social and posts, a current hot topic for those interested in law (and more particularly, fashion law). This topic has recently forced one of our independent federal agencies, the Federal Trade Commission, to pay more attention to how they can protect consumers on social media in the future*. More on this below, but back to O’Neill’s video for now.

While watching this young Australian’s video, I found it shocking to think someone could blame many of their insecurities on apps that pubescent Silicon Valley geeks dreamt of in their parents’ basements (I’m only half sarcastic, here). Could social media really be blamed for this young woman’s unhappiness?

This brings me to my question for you today: does quitting social media remedy the true nature of our unhappiness?  Is this truly going to help fix negative feelings you have toward yourself?

O’Neill believed this was the answer. Soon after posting her self-declared “last Youtube video”, she proceeded to delete all her social media sites save for one, Instagram, but only after deleting two thousand photos off her account. Keeping a few select pictures, she quickly gave new captions to those that remained with newer, brutally honest captions:


She later deleted her Instagram account as well.

After she made these changes, O’Neill said she hoped to start a movement where the average viewer could realize their self worth isn’t determined by their physical attributes or social media influence. Just because O’Neill thought she wasted many years living a lie didn’t mean others should as well.

This being said, there’s many varying opinions on whether social media serves an overall good purpose or not. We see lovers connect, celebrities make millions, and teens cyberbully others all within seconds of a simple flick of the thumb. It’s simultaneously amazing, yet terrifying.

Personally, I admit I’m no stranger to unhappiness which I can partially attribute to social media, and on a deeper level, my deep rooted desire to be perfect. I can definitely admit I’ve felt validated after reaching a new high of “likes” or “views” on social media platforms, while also feeling crushed when a new profile picture doesn’t get as many likes as I would’ve thought. Was I not thin enough? Had I not marketed my post effectively? Should I feel embarrassed to post a selfie? As my Pop Culture professor so wisely said, “I receive likes, therefore I exist”. Any “like” I’ve received has given me validation. Though I know this ultimately to be false, it’s hard to continually remind myself of this over and over again. I’m sure many others would agree.

In saying this, I realize I’m part of the problem I’ve created for myself. I’ve spent HOURS clicking through photos, scrolling down my home feed, and stalking girls I don’t know, obsessing how I’m not as pretty, thin, or worry free and happy as they seem. How can I realistically think another person’s life is trouble free based on photos they are able to manipulate? All my own photos are edited, retouched, and manipulated to catch me in both the best lighting and during the most flattering “picture perfect moments”. How is fair to assume their photos haven’t been as well?

I seem to get the most likes on the most perfect photos of myself and my behavior seems to continue to snowball into what could resemble a highly predictable lab experiment as a result. People like following people who look happy and pretty. It’s inspirational. I accumulate likes, therefore I am. More happy photos, more likes. More likes, more happiness. It’s a vicious negative feedback loop we’ve created for ourselves.

So should I abandon my Facebook, multiple Twitter accounts, Snapchat, and Instagram in search of this ever elusive happiness I’ve been chasing for a large portion of my life? I’ve tried. For a couple months I wasn’t on Facebook, I didn’t enjoy Snapchat until a year after it became popular, and quit using my beloved Twitter because I didn’t think I could handle the responsibility. We’ve all had friends who express their distaste at the world of social media and delete accounts only to reinstate their profiles some odd months or weeks later.

So does unplugging our lives make us happier in the end?

I’m not so sure. I’m not so sure we’ll ever know the answer, or whether there even is a “right” answer (don’t get me started on existentialist theories). Finding happiness may or may not be as simple as deleting your accounts if you’re disconsolate. Quite simply, this is a discussion up for debate and it’s a highly personal and contested matter. I understand deleting accounts out of inactivity, but deleting based on lack of self esteem?

Though there’s no simple solution to this complex problem, I firmly believe we have the power to be part of the solution, not the problem as social media users. I think it’s time to stop viewing social media as an untamable beast, because we have the opportunity to control what we post and what we view to an extent. We have small opportunities to put a positive spin on what we see every day!

Armed with this positivity, I decided to do my own experiment on Instagram a few months ago. I posted a close up photo of my face, one half with makeup and editing, the other without any makeup or retouching. The response I received was more than I could’ve ever asked for. It was my most popular post since joining Instagram five years ago, and still would’ve been considered it my top post even if it had gotten no likes. It’s possible to use social media for good purposes to outweigh the bad. It felt like I was holding up my middle finger to all the negative feelings that haunted me from this picture perfect image of myself that I had wanted to be.


The photo I took of myself showing both sides of social media. Perception versus reality.

So even though I’ve dragged you through a lengthy post just to give you no solid answer to the question of whether quitting social media remedies the true nature of our unhappiness, I hope this makes you think. Maybe the question shouldn’t lie in whether social media can make us unhappy or not, but instead on how we can participate in this world with more realistic expectations of ourselves. Yes, bloggers will edit their photos. Many girls will airbrush their skin to perfection, and others will show off expensive meals, new makeup and cars or share lengthy posts of their vacations to Ibiza on Snapchat. This all is inevitable, especially given social is a huuuge, untapped resource for anyone who’d like to market to millennials (at the very least!). I wouldn’t be shocked at all to see many brands add or increase both organic and paid social within the next few years. My only hope is that we all get a little more educated and that the Federal Trade Commission is able to keep up and catch unlawful practices**. However, it’s up to us to get stronger.

Long story short, when Essena O’Neill decided to post her last YouTube video last November, she set off a firestorm of response from her peers and viewers. The question of whether social media serves a positive or negative purpose is too difficult a question to give one finite answer to. For some, quitting social media may help reduce feelings of inadequateness, decrease their maladaptive pleasure seeking impulses, and potential depression. As O’Neill showed, even those who seem at the top on social media platforms can suffer behind closed doors. Their lives and paychecks revolve around likes, views, and shares. But our lives don’t have to.

I’ve felt both positively validated and negatively impacted through what others and myself have posted. The answer we seek may not lie with whether our happiness is a direct result of social media, but instead, whether we’re able to control the intake of information through educating ourselves and constant reminders that this world has the aptitude to seem airbrushed and perfect. I’m going to challenge myself to view the social world as less of an intimidating place, but as a burgeoning market for retailers and promoters. I’m also going to vow to constantly remind myself there’s more to life than a “bikini ready” beach bod or nailing that perfect cat eye. Both are great, yes, but remember that you alone are enough. You breath, you love, you are loved, therefore you are!



Please don’t hesitate to comment and reach out, whether you agree or disagree with me. Let’s keep the discussion going!


*As many of you know, influencers and bloggers are paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to wear, drink, or promote a company’s merchandise, often ignoring the rules the FTC lays down to protect consumers from what they determine to be “unfair, deceptive or fraudulent practices in the marketplace” (per their site’s “What We Do” section). For more information on the FTC, I encourage you to visit their site

**One of my favorite fashion law bloggers continues to call out popular bloggers (L’Oreal’s 15 L’Orealista bloggers, the Man Repeller, amongst many other offenders) for not appropriately disclosing paid posts. Putting #sp in the description part of photos is no longer enough. The Fashion Law’s founder and editor-in-chief explains this all much better than I ever could. Find her explorations of calling out bloggers here.


High School Teenage Angst & College Athletics: My Experiences & Advice from the Recruiting Process and 10 Years of Volleyball

My many years of volleyball all located on this crudely done…thing. See yourself? Sweet. Don't see yourself? We probably never wore spandex together on the court.

My many years of volleyball all located on this crudely done…powerpoint thing. See yourself? Sweet. Don’t see yourself? We probably never wore spandex together on the court- but we could if you wanna swag out and play bar league with me. ❤

Hey you- before you read this and start disagreeing with my extremely angsty yet good-intentioned advice, know that this is MY specific experience. Take it for what it’s worth. Though I think quite highly of myself and think of myself as a superkewlsuperfunsuperawesome person, I am not God and therefore do not claim to be right in everything I’m saying. This is just MY experience- 10 years worth. If you disagree with me- fine. If you don’t, please share this with anyone you know who could use some insight into the recruiting world.

My friends and I occasionally reminisce about the colleges we dreamed about signing with when we were young and optimistic 16 year olds.

“I remember getting letters from Georgetown and UConn…I visited both and it was always between me and one other girl. The other girl always got the call.”

“I got a letter from Texas when I was a sophomore in high school…I knew they were a huge school with a big budget that could send letters to thousands of girls, but that didn’t make it seem any less real or exciting at the time.”

Then we would all laugh, half cursing and half thanking the volleyball gods who brought us to a mid-major university located in upstate New York. We were born in the Midwest, a proverbial hotbed for coaches to recruit from, and we had all signed our National Letters of Intent senior year, after verbally committing our junior year of high school.

There is a predictable formula in the volleyball recruitment world: play year round, make constant calls and send emails to at least five college programs, and panic over how much money we would be offered. After all, our parents spent nearly the equivalent of a college’s tuition on club volleyball- shouldn’t we somehow be reimbursed? It seemed only fair.

After playing a D1 sport for four years, I have finally come to terms with the fact that fairness is not reality in this particular world. The recruiting process is fraught with disillusions. Luckily, my parents took charge, and dragged me (unwillingly, at the time) through the process. As much as I wanted to play volleyball in college, I was not as eager to work the process. Fortunately, they encouraged me to look at the “bigger picture”. And because I did, I will be graduating in May with a bachelor’s degree from the 10th best public university in the nation without any debt (according to the Princeton Review).

Even though my situation turned out better than I could have ever dreamed, the recruiting process was long, painful, and full of tears for me. Sitting on the piano bench in our front room, I stressed over being 900 miles away from home in order to attain a full scholarship and a good education. I was unsure of my major. Did I want to pursue Studio Arts or English? I was under the impression that my major would determine the job I would get after college. I didn’t know what I wanted to be. I was only sixteen.

I wish I could go back and tell myself everything would be fine- great, even. I’ve learned so much from my recruitment experience and from my decision to play away from home. I wish someone would have shared the unglamorous side of playing college sports.

No one ever told me that college sports were a business, or about the significant turnover rate of college coaches. So here, I give you a list of some of important lessons learned throughout my high school and college volleyball experience. This is what I wish I would have known when I was sixteen:

  • Realize how realistic your opportunity is to receive a full or partial scholarship. Big universities like Wisconsin, USC, and Florida have fully funded volleyball programs- they can offer 12 full scholarships. The scholarships can be divided up or used whole. Mid major schools have 8 full scholarships. In volleyball, it is rare to see full scholarships given to defensive specialists or liberos. Scholarships are usually reserved for hotshot hitters and setters and are typically offered sophomore and junior year of high school. Smaller Division 1 schools tend to offer spring of junior year or into fall of senior year at the latest. Have realistic expectations about your height. There are exceptions (think Deme Morales hitting outside for Wisconsin rostered at 5’7”), but chances are, a big school will not offer a roster spot to a 5’6” hitter at a D1 school.
  • Figure out how big of a role you want to have on a team. Sitting out and warming the bench for two years during club taught me a very important lesson: playing time was crucial to me. When I was trying to figure out where I wanted to go, I eliminated anyone who told me I would not be a four-year starter. When I committed to Binghamton, I was told they were looking for a four-year starter. Both coaches told me this on my first visit. Even so, nothing is guaranteed. A coach can bring in another scholarship player or transfer who could take your spot. It’s a highly stressful situation to be in constant competition for a position. If you are recruited your senior year of high school and given no scholarship, chances are you will need to work hard just to see any court time by the time you are a junior or senior.
  • Have some perspective- you may be the best player in your area but remember once you commit you’ll be in a large pool of talented athletes. Being recruited and committing while in high school is “cool” and an honor. You may receive more attention as a result. Unfortunately, this sometimes goes straight to an athlete’s head and they become cocky. I’ve seen this too many times to count- even in myself. I am extremely embarrassed to admit this, but I carried myself as if I were better than the players on other teams I played. Playing in college deflated my head- after playing teams like Penn State and UCLA I realize I’m just one of thousands of players who were good in high school. In saying so, I have enormous respect for high school and college athletes who are grounded and realize that their scholarship is a privilege (not to say I didn’t think having a scholarship wasn’t a privilege, because I did). After all, playing in high school or collegiately only lasts for so long before you need to move on.
  • Choose a school that fits your academic needs and desires. Your primary goal should be obtaining a degree. Please, dear God, do not choose a school solely on athletics. Only the best collegiate volleyball players go on to playing professionally. Choose a school in which you can earn a degree. Volleyball has to end at some point. Athletes are often pushed towards universities that are not the best fit for them (think of the basketball players who read at a 5th grade level at UNC…yikes). In my case, I could have chosen to play at a school that had a great volleyball program and an average ACT score of 20, or an ivy league with a decent volleyball program. I chose the middle ground and could not be happier with my decision.
  • Choose which Division is best for you and where you’ll be truly the happiest. Division 1 is not for everyone. Some kids strive to go to a Division 1 school just because it is “Division 1” and miss out on opportunities to be happier and get more playing time on a Division 2 or 3 team. A kid from my high school signed to play Division 1 soccer and then later decided he wanted to play basketball instead and went Division 2. I think it is so cool that he didn’t care about the “glamour” of being able to say, “I play D1”, and did what he felt was right for himself.
  • Get to know the coaching staff but be aware that the staff is subject to change. When I first met my current head coach, I knew he cared about his players on AND off the court. If a player were injured, they would be able to resume their position when healthy. Some coaches will instead replace you and not renew your scholarship if you do not improve. Also realize your coaching staff could change. A couple months after I committed to Binghamton, I received an email from the assistant coach at the time letting me know that she would be accepting a coaching job elsewhere. I was shocked and somewhat disappointed, as she was one of the reasons I committed. I shouldn’t have been too surprised. Because college sports are a business, the turnover rate for assistant and head coaches can be somewhat fast. Assistant coaches at small mid-major schools tend to sign a contract for a short amount of time and leave after they accept another job- often a step up from their previous job. I’ve also had coaching staffs recruit me only to leave their respective school and drop me instantly. The coaching staff at any school is subject to change- I’ve seen a new coach come into a program and purge the previous scholarship players and bring in his own players. Situations like this aren’t common, so don’t worry too much, but keep this in mind while on visits and also be aware of the turnover rate. I have had two great assistant coaches throughout my career and an awesome head coach who will be entering his 17th season this next fall.
  • Everything will be okay. I find it extremely necessary to reinforce this point because it is true in 99.9% of cases. I’ve seen a previous team mate get dropped by the team she verbally committed to her sophomore year only to bounce back at another school and earn AVCA All-American honors and break countless records. The recruiting process may seem hard and test your sanity but trust your instincts and remember that college volleyball is only four (or five) years of your entire life.

Now that I’m a “retired” athlete, I can look back and gain perspective on how the recruiting process and college volleyball changed my life for the better. The recruiting process was like a game to me. I felt as though I were “leading on” several schools just so I didn’t get “screwed over”. Keep your options open, and commit once your choice school offers. Play the game by the rules and you will succeed, I was correctly taught.

Volleyball has had an enormous impact on my life, and I have no regrets. I’ve made friends from all over the world (yes, the world). I’ve learned time management.

I’ve experienced the highs and the lows: crying in bathroom stalls (multiple times), and laughing uncontrollably with teammates. I’ve traveled across America, lost an NCAA tournament game against Penn State, and created lifelong friendships and connections because of this sport.

I would not trade my experience for the world. Though I was ready to move on by my senior season, I do not regret sticking with volleyball till the end. Volleyball has provided me with the biggest life lessons of all: everything does turn out okay and someday I’ll be able to really ball out in bar league volleyball.