FROM Caroline robertson
I am one of those people, who some may find odd, that loves to run. I ran my first 5K as a third grader which was the start of many miles, races, and years as a cross country and track runner. When it was time for me to start thinking about college, I knew I wanted to run at a small liberal arts school, preferably out of state. I decided to go the recruiting route instead of walking onto a team because before I committed to college, I wanted to make sure I was joining the right cross country and track team for me.
The summer before my senior year, I started to reach out to college coaches. My running times from high school were not embarrassing, but not necessarily times that would get me noticed so I remember feeling a little awkward sending emails to get recruitment information. I received mixed responses from coaches. Despite some rejection, the Bryn Mawr coach responded energetically and immediately set up a call with me. I visited Bryn Mawr for the first time in August of 2019. My aunt, who is a Bryn Mawr alumna, and my uncle accompanied me on my rainy summer tour.
I returned to campus the next month for an overnight visit with the cross country team. I remember stressing about what to wear because I wanted to look like I fit in with the current students. I felt relieved when the first student I met complimented me on my Vampire Weekend shirt and that one little comment made me feel more excited than nervous for my visit. On the second day of my visit, I remember huffing and puffing up the steps from the gym and happily thinking “I can see myself doing this for the next four years.”
Although I loved the unlimited food in the dining halls, my favorite part of my visit was spending time with other people who loved running but also had interests outside of the team. Like many Bryn Mawr students, I was an incredibly involved high schooler. I mostly did sports but also enjoyed being a part of SGA, school musicals, and other clubs. I was afraid of having to narrow down my interests and choose one to focus on in college. However, talking to Bryn Mawr students reassured me that at Bryn Mawr it is possible, and normal, to do a little bit of everything you want.
After my visit, I told my mom that Bryn Mawr was my top choice. Even though it was financially riskier, my parents and I decided that I should apply Early Decision to Bryn Mawr which meant on December 18, 2019, I officially became a member of the Bryn Mawr Class of 2024. With no collegiate competition as a first-year due to COVID-19 and then being injured as a sophomore, I realized how being a part of cross country and track is so much more than running. I learned about strength training, the power of recovery, and, most importantly, that real teammates are there for you all the time, even if you are not scoring points for the Owls.
Advice to students thinking about being a student-athlete at Bryn Mawr: reach out! Coaches want to talk to you. If that feels intimidating, all teams have Instagram accounts that are student-run and offer a more causal platform to learn about a team.