Adapting to Life at Lawrenceville Through Sports

Moving to a new school on the other side of the world is an exciting yet nerve-racking experience.

Moving to a new school on the other side of the world is an exciting yet nerve-racking experience. Having spent all of my middle school years in multiple international schools in South Korea, I was thrilled to be at Lawrenceville where I knew I’d make great relationships––and I certainly have. Spending my first few nights at Raymond House during soccer preseason, thousands of miles away from home, was an amalgamation of nervousness and anticipation for what the first year had in store for me.

My freshman year was the beginning of my Big Red soccer and track journey, and sports quickly became an integral part of my life at Lawrenceville. Reflecting on the training sessions, competitions, team talks, and bus rides, I can’t help but realize how far I’ve gotten to know my teammates. I have been blessed with the opportunity to foster great relationships, especially with upperclassmen, teachers, and coaches whom I would not have gotten to know without sports.

Initially, as the only II Former on the Boys Junior Varsity Soccer team, my lack of confidence was apparent on the training ground; but, through matches and continuous bonding, I made some of the most memorable experiences and friendships on the team. Ever since our season opened with my debut goal against Germantown Academy, I started to feel comfortable playing with my teammates and found the confidence that I needed to prepare for upcoming matches. Though we faced a 1-2 loss, the first game was imperative for all of us to learn more about each other’s play styles, experiment which formations work best, and find our voices on the pitch. Throughout the season, I learned invaluable lessons on leadership, teamwork, and sportsmanship from the upperclassmen while enjoying the high level of competitive sporting events. One of the most memorable games was our final match on Hill Day where we shut out our rivals, three goals to nothing. The game was a perfect representation of our team’s mindset of winning as a team: a collective effort we have developed after experiencing ups and downs during the season. Needless to say, JV soccer in the fall of II Form year was essential in adjusting to life at Lawrenceville. Sports, I realized, was a perfect way for me to find solace and comfort after a hectic day at school and I found it to be vital in maintaining a healthy lifestyle that beneficially supplemented the academic frontier of my School life.

Another sport I engaged in during my II Form year was indoor track. As a distance runner, going on long runs during the weekend with the team was an amazing opportunity to learn more about each other and our conversations didn’t stop on the track as we brought them to our daily lives. Whether it’s talking about school life in general, listening to our favorite Christmas songs to lighten up the mood during a cold, muddy run, or packing food boxes together with the team on MLK Day, I have understood that running isn’t merely a sport but a platform allowing us to get closer with each mile we run. The back-to-back workouts, night meets at Princeton University, and the tempo runs in the pouring rain were all memorable moments that have made our track community meaningful both in the athletic and communal sense. For me, the supporting atmosphere within the track program was what made the sport meaningful and unique this year. It’s truly a great feeling to run a race when your teammates are all cheering for you to hit a personal best and when you see your teammates succeed. Track, especially the distance team, has become a crucial part of me both on and off-campus. Despite the Covid-19 pandemic and these unprecedented times, we continue to run, support, grow, and stay connected as a team.

Though I have missed out on this spring’s outdoor track season due to Covid-19, I am excited to return to campus and further develop as a member of Big Red athletics for the remaining years at Lawrenceville. Before I joined the Lawrenceville community, my previous athletic experiences were oriented in the individual: the coaches were solely interested in the times of the runners and their records, ultimately causing a lack of a familial connection between the teammates. I have seen for myself that Lawrenceville is different; we work for the collective result and focus on performing as a team. These elements have helped me redefine my perception of a true Lawrentian as one who fosters collaboration, teamwork, and prioritizes the group over the individual.

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