How My Identity on Campus Has Been Redefined
I remember getting the dreadful Zoom call from my coach on a July evening telling us that our fall 2020 volleyball season was not going to happen. I watched as each of my teammates' faces in tiny squares on the screen shrivelled into frowns.
Although this is something many of us anticipated as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic showed no signs of improvement (especially for a sport like volleyball that is played indoors and with close contact to others), the news didn't sting any less when the upcoming season was finally cancelled.
I couldn’t help but feel so sad and sorry for the seniors on my team. I also was feeling sorry for myself and the other juniors on the team, as it was our first season as upperclassmen, and we were ready to lead our team to another successful season.
I was devestated for all of my teammtes. Volleyball is such a structural force in our life, and I wondered how we were going to do without it. I felt as though the momentum we were still carrying from our previous year was completely halted, and there was nothing I could do to change that.
A New Opportunity
I woke up the next morning with lingering sadness and disappointment. That changed shortly though, as I heard a ping on my laptop and saw an email with the subject line “The Hill News,” from the editor-in-chief. I had applied to be a section editor of our student-run newspaper during the spring semester, but there unfortunately were no openings. My luck changed, as this email informed me that one of the news editors was not going to be on campus during the fall semester and they wanted me to take the position.
I remember telling my mom in excitement because traditionally, this might be a role I wouldn’t be able to commit to in the fall due to my busy schedule with volleyball. I immediately accepted and had an inkling that things might work out better than I thought during the fall semester.
When I arrived on campus in August, I was still filled with emptiness because I would not be playing a full day of volleyball the day after I moved in, but I was excited for the new experiences I had the opportunity to fulfill this semester. My roommate, another junior on the volleyball team, and I stirred in confusion the first few days as we gained our footing in our new roles on campus: fall athletes without a fall season. But, as I began training for the news editor position, new parts of my personality arose and leadership traits that I used in volleyball translated seamlessly into this new setting.
Madi Amico, News Editor
Although I am still learning, I feel immense pride when I see my name printed in the newspaper each week with the title “News Editor,” underneath the byline. I feel immense pride from seeing the hard work myself and the other editors put into laying out the pages each week that come to life every Friday morning as I flip through the freshly printed pages of The Hill News.
Having this opportunity has allowed me to become more than just a student-athlete on this campus. I’ve grown as a student and a person because something I loved was stripped away from me, and I had to replace it with a new and different passion I have in life. It gave me the opportunity to connect with new people who I may have never spoken to if I hadn’t taken on this new role. Not only can I now identify as a news editor, but I can identify as a friend for many more people on this campus.
With the absence of travelling to away games on the weekends, I've had the chance to catch up with friends I haven’t connected with since my first year, or become friends with new people. In this sense, I feel like a first-year student all over again with the excitement I feel when meeting new faces and connecting with familiar ones.
I’ve spent countless hours outside on a colorful blanket picking the brains of members of my family unit and learning how much I have in common with these people. Time alone has allowed me to grow stronger connections and friendships that I may have not been able to in a traditional school year.
Lucky to me, I’ve had the best of both worlds this semester. We were able to start practicing for volleyball in mid-September, but I have also been able to maintain the other roles and commitments I took on this semester. So, when I meet people, I’m no longer just a member of the women’s volleyball team, but a writer, a news editor, a leader, and most importantly, a friend.
A term that we use a lot here at SLU is “Laurentian for Life.” Although there are many things that the coronavirus pandemic has stripped from us as students, there are many things it has given me that I am grateful for, including that my role as a Laurentian has expanded and blossomed in ways I never imagined. So while I am still deeply disappointed for the volleyball season that never was, I can’t help but have gratitude for the friendships that were, and the new identity of Madi Amico on the St. Lawrence campus.