Dear Freshman Marissa,
Graduating from high school and going to college over a thousand miles from home is exciting and kinda scary, but all in all, it is one of the most amazing experiences you are going to have. Don't let this amazing opportunity of going to Bible college and playing college basketball go to waste. You are going to take it for granted a little, and you'll regret not making the most of all of it. Remember, there are many people who don't have the opportunity to do either.
You'll come in a week late to preseason not knowing what to expect and knowing that you will have to work ten times harder in basketball because you were a week behind everyone else. And you also will have a late start on friendships which will hurt you for a while, but in the end, they will become some of the best friendships. Even though you'll be a thousand miles from home and miss it like crazy, you'll be glad about the opportunity that you were given and wouldn't give up this opportunity that you have had.
Even though you'll deny the fact that you came to Emmaus to play basketball, you know that is one of the main reasons. Take the opportunity to play basketball at a college level and be thankful for it because it will go by way too fast. Don't take it for granted because you'll have regrets for not going as hard as you could have at one point or another. Basketball will push you to your limits both physically and mentally, but it will be good for you. You will have your ups and downs throughout the seasons, always worrying and asking Coach Graw questions that he just shakes his head about. Listen to Coach Graw, though, because his advice is something that is important and helpful both on and off the court. Though he may put you on the JV team when you are doing something ridiculous, even though there is no JV team, it's the best place to be. He cares so much about you and everyone else on your team. He'll be hard on you at times; you'll be the one he yells at on the court out of habit, but that is all because he cares, so appreciate him being hard on you. Coach Graw will also push you to do better and be better and will tell you when you haven't worked hard enough. Sometimes that will hurt, but take that and go to the next play pushing yourself harder. These will be some of the best times you will have at Emmaus, and there will be so many relationships to grow out of it. Coming in is slightly scary and intimidating, but it is such a stress reliever and will help balance the rest of your life.
There will be so much that will happen to you while you are here. There will be so many memories that you will be glad that you are apart of, but along with the memories, both good and bad times come as well as some of the most important things you will learn.
One of these things will be unity. Being unified makes the whole team better-laying your life down for your teammate. Take that to heart when you hear it and be ready to lay down your life for your team in any situation.
Another thing that you should learn is to move on to the next play, and don't dwell on the things in the past. Coach will say this over and over to you, so it might be better to learn now.
Also, learn that there is more to basketball than your personal achievements or even the achievements of your team because all that will go to waste if you aren't willing to give things up for your team. Some of those achievements you will expect to get rewarded for, and it will hurt when it doesn't happen. You'll be taken from a position, not knowing why you were. You'll struggle with that fact, but accept it and don't let the hurt dwell because there was a good reason for all of it, and it will be explained to you.
There will also be something else that will be hard for you and that will come about as you are going into your junior year. You will have to make the decision of whether to take an extra semester and be able to play the sport you love your senior year or stop playing at the end of your junior year. You'll make the right decision, even though it may be hard.
Enough about basketball for now, since you are coming here for more than just basketball but also for your education. The Elementary education program is amazing, but let me warn you: it's very hard. You'll struggle through it and want to give up. There will be times that you wonder why you are doing certain assignments and you'll probably wonder that for a long time. There will even be times that you consider switching majors and let me warn you now, one of those time will be Fall semester of your sophomore year when you are taking both Biology and Children's Lit at the same time. You'll even have times when you just want to quit altogether, but the struggle will all be worth it and you will love the times that you get to be in the classrooms teaching. Stay on top of your homework-that is very key and do it to the best of your ability. There will be sleepless nights doing homework that seems to never end or trying to tackle assignments that seem impossible, but it will all be worth it in the end. It is a great program even though the workload seems unending. You won't regret going through all the hard work.
While homework, classes, and basketball are going on, friendships come. They are some of the best things and when you find those friends who will always be there for you no matter what, keep them. People come and go quickly, but the friendships that last are the best. You'll want to be everyone's friend in the beginning, but that won't work out. There will be people with whom you will want to be friends, and they may not want to be a friend, but keep trusting God and He will give you the best friends you could ask for.
Through all of this, keep on fire for the Lord because there will be many things that will lead you astray, but fight them. Soak up as much of your Bible classes as you can because there are going to be some that you won't listen in, and I wish that I could change that. The professors here know so much, and taking in that knowledge they can give you will be so good for you.
Anyway, homework still awaits, as always. Work hard in school and basketball, never give up and always move on to the next play. The friendships you make will last, so work hard to make them last. And my last piece of advice is to keep God at the center of your life because when you don't, the road gets rough.
Bye, freshman me,