The New Normal How COVID-19 is impacting life on and off campus for NCAA members

The new coronavirus is greatly impacting the entire world. This COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way many people go about their lives.

I used to get up, go to class and study hall, then soccer practice. My new normal looks nothing like that. I am home in Pflugerville, Texas, 300 miles from campus, completing my online classwork, working out on my own and spending quality time with my family.

It definitely has been an adjustment transitioning from the college atmosphere and dorm life to being back at home with my family. I got used to being on my own. Now, my parents are here to make sure I am doing my chores, which is not that fun, honestly.

I miss many things from before. I miss playing soccer with all my teammates and seeing them every single day. I miss rooming with my best friends. I cannot believe I am saying this, but I even miss going to my classes. Unfortunately, these are all things that I am unable to do right now.

Staying connected with my team is more difficult than it used to be, too, but we make it work in a few different ways. Every week, we have Webex meetings. My coaches, Jess and Anna Jobe, send the team a text that says when they will be hosting a meeting and the information necessary to join it. These calls, while somewhat tricky because NCAA rules state that these meetings are voluntary, bring a small bit of normal back to life. Seeing my teammates and coaches — my second family — has been a nice lift each week.

On our Webex calls, we typically talk about what we have been up to during the past few weeks. We also have occasional meetings with our leadership coach, Donna Fishter, to give the team ideas on how to keep our focus on where we envision ourselves being next season. This includes videos on meditation. Meditation helps keep you calm, which is beneficial in game situations and in our current state with COVID-19.

Personally, I started using a blog I created for a class to document how COVID-19 has impacted my teammates. I collaborated with my teammates to put together a video of at-home soccer drills.

We all are obviously presented many obstacles during this time, and it is important to find solutions that work best for you. This has been especially true with my transition from college to home a couple of weeks ago.

Because my campus closed for the semester, I had to move all my stuff out of my dorm, which was kind of depressing. I did not anticipate this year to be over so soon.

At first, I found it hard to motivate myself to work out alone because I am so used to being with my teammates and coaches. However, we have small little group texts within our team, which has been very helpful. Basically, after we work out or train, we will text what we did to our small group and collaborate with one another for other workout ideas.

The spring season is used to get ready for the upcoming fall. Because we are not given this opportunity in a normal setting, my team must rely on self-discipline to prepare on our own. We all must trust one another to do our part if we want to achieve the goals that we have set for ourselves this fall.

Thankfully, we have not been completely on our own. Our coaches have been very helpful in sending us different workouts and drills that we can do to improve our fitness and technique. Our team has been so lucky to have a lot of support and communication with our coaching staff that will propel us in our preparation for next season.

Taking care of our mental health is very important right now. A few ways I have found to improve my mental state are meditation, journaling and exercising.

Meditation is something many professional athletes use to help calm themselves and concentrate on being in the present moment. You can find a ton of videos on YouTube that will teach you the basic steps on meditating.

I like to write in a journal because it encourages me to get my thoughts out of my head and onto a piece of paper.

Exercise is another great way to improve your mental health, because it delivers oxygen to your system and boosts energy. When I am really stressed about something, I feel way better once I have had a good workout.

Overall, COVID-19 has made me rethink things I thought I knew for certain. No longer will I take my autonomy and social/human contact for granted.

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