Check out the latest news from current GymBacks…
Journal Entry by Freshman Scarlett Williams – September 1, 2010
As I began my career as a Gymback this summer, I was filled with apprehension. I am sure all new students wonder if they will make new friends easily and how much they will miss their parents and the comfortable surroundings of home. As a student-athlete at the University of Arkansas, I had the additional concerns of dealing with new teammates, new coaches and the general question of whether I belonged here. Now that the fall session begins, I can honestly say that my transition from high school to college has gone smoother than I could have ever hoped. The atmosphere, academically and athletically, was well organized and made me feel secure.
My four new freshman teammates and I began to bond together as a class from the first day we met at orientation. We are all from different parts of the country so there is a feeling of “we are all in this together” on our own, for the first time away from our parents. I moved into my dorm and got used to my surroundings. Certainly, being an athlete at Arkansas has some advantages. I met our academic advisor, Tamesha, who helped me rearrange my classes to fit my workout schedule and set up a tutoring schedule. I am very thankful Tamesha was there to help me sort it out.
I began to go to class and, of course, get into the gym. The equipment at Arkansas is the very best in college gymnastics so I was excited to try it out. I also doubted myself a little because now I was out of my comfort zone. I have new coaches, and new teammates. Everyone on this team is a good athlete or they wouldn’t be here. My coaches wanted me to do some things differently than I was used to doing. I kept an open mind to the changes. In time, I found that the new drills and techniques have really helped me become a better gymnast. One thing in my favor is that I have always stayed in good shape and I don’t mind working hard.
In addition to my academic advisor and new coaches, I was given the opportunity to participate in HIT (Hogs in Training) a program that allows all freshman athletes to meet twice a week to learn ways to help you adjust to your new life. It was a great experience to meet athletes from different sports who are also facing the same challenges on a daily basis. The program taught me time management, organization, and what was expected of a representative of the University of Arkansas. Of course this also helps your social life, as you also get to find out where everyone is hanging out.
Now that the fall semester has begun, I have a whole new set of experiences. I am working out with the whole team and have the benefit of the older girls’ leadership as well as getting to know them better. I have more classes and an even busier schedule to deal with. It is a lot more manageable and less scary with the program that I got to go through this summer. I feel like I grew athletically, culturally, and socially and I know I will continue to do so my four years here. I look forward to all of the new activities and challenges that are coming. The journey has just begun! Go Gymbacks!!!