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(Not so) Motivational Poster

The start of sophomore year presented a lot of problems for me, not only as a student, but as an athlete. Freshman year in my opinion was a joke… everything was online and just did not require much effort in the slightest. As soon as I moved into my apartment in Eagle Landing and started classes I realized just how different the college experience was from what I had initially thought. So much more homework, and the idea of in-person classes was pretty foreign to me. I realized I didn’t know how to study and it was hard for me to adjust to the social scene as well. I was working hard… but it felt like I was hardly working.

Sure school was hard, but problems really presented themselves in my riding career. I had been on the riding team freshman year and dare to say it was the best I had ridden in my entire life. Through changing barns for the team, and riding all new horses I was at a loss. My riding had severely taken a turn for the worst and I was starting to lose hope that I would improve before the start of our season.

Sure enough, on October 14th, 2021 I fell off and was kicked in the head by the horse I was on resulting in a severe concussion. As soon as I got home I sobbed for hours. How did something I had loved turn into something that I couldn’t see myself doing anymore? I was defeated. The diagnosis of my concussion resulted in me not being able to look at my computer screen, any sort of light, and not being able to pay attention during class for over a week. My grades reflected it too. The support from my friends and family is the only thing that really proved the grass is greener on the other side. After my fall I was extremely timid to sit in the saddle again and even just walk around, let alone jump around.

My recovery went smoothly, and I continued to improve, but my mental block was still present every time I got on. I tried convincing myself that I was fine, but that was not enough.

I participated in a few shows towards the end of the year, and ended up placing in the top 3 each time. Unfortunately, during our off season towards the end of the year I fell again, injuring my lower back very badly.

Fortunately, summer break allowed for healing mentally and physically.

Junior year I was healthier and felt better than I ever had here at UMW since freshman year. I felt it in my bones that this year was going to get better. Spoiler alert: I was right. Practices were going amazing and my excitement and love for the sport was regained. The first show of the year approached and i won my class! I could have cried happy tears, finally all of my hard work had paid off.

Flash forward to the end of our regular season, I had placed myself into Regionals! I was ecstatic. Sadly, that was the end of my road for this season but I was honored to even be able to tell people that I had qualified.

The end of the year went amazing and I have never felt more comfortable in the saddle, and my confidence is beaming! Although I feel good at where I am at in my riding, I will continue to try my hardest and improve as much as I can during my last year at Mary Washington.

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