Tennis Team

Rejoicing in Different Challenges

Written by Corinne Prost

Hillsdale is hard, there’s no doubt about it. Sometimes all I want to do after finishing classes is lie down on my bed and scroll through social media, but tennis doesn’t leave me with that option.

While some days are easier than others, the tennis season requires dedication and oftentimes takes just about everything out of me. Competition comes at a cost, and every practice or weekend match means that I have less time to study and even less time to spend with friends.

However, I’ve come to realize that while my version of “rejoicing in the challenge” looks different than that of my non-athlete friends, it is not necessarily better overall. We all make sacrifices, and we all put in hard work—whether we’re on a team or not.

I know that a significant amount of students think that student-athletes consider themselves superior to non-athletes. The thing is, most athletes don’t realizes that they make this sort of impression. I certainly didn’t, until my best friend called me out.

There was one night she wanted to spend time with me and some of our other friends around midnight—a reasonable time for most college students. After I told her I couldn’t because I was tired from that day’s practice and needed sleep, she gave me one of her looks. She wasn’t believing anything I was saying.

When I asked her what was wrong, she said that she was also tired from balancing school and work and didn’t understand why I wasn’t making time for her when she was trying to make time for me. She said it seemed like I expected special treatment just because I’m an athlete and that I looked down on her for not having the same commitments.

It was hard hearing that my best friend didn’t think I valued her friendship or took her schedule seriously. I assured her that what she was feeling was far from the truth. If anything, I was jealous that she had more time to spend studying or working.

This conversation helped us stop brooding over what we didn’t have and instead use our friendship to work together and make up for what the other lacked. Understanding my struggle with minimal study time, she would find ways to be positive and encouraging—like bringing me Chipotle after a rough day. On my end, I’ve learned to be more intentional about making the time I have with her count. In some cases, this was as easy as choosing to have a deep conversation instead of easy small-talk.

These small choices have transformed and enhanced my relationships in lasting ways. By opening up that dialogue, my friend and I were equipped to overcome those misconceptions. As challenging as that initial conversation was, we have since been able to find positivity in our differences and unite over our shared struggles.

Corrine-ProstCorinne Prost, class of 2019, is an American Studies major and rhetoric minor. She dreams to one day own a library so extensive that it rivals the one from Beauty and the Beast.