My name is Daniela Waialeale, and I am a student-athlete on the Women’s Soccer team at the University of Providence. Growing up, I had always dreamed of being a college athlete. I watched my five other siblings play sports our entire upbringing, and I wanted nothing more than to be like them in every way. I began to pique interest when my siblings had just entered soccer season, which just so happens to be the sport I now play as a collegiate athlete. As we all got older, they all lost interest in continuing their soccer careers, yet they were my biggest inspiration as to why I still play today. I owe it to them as to why I made it this far with soccer and would not be where I am without them. Getting to this level has been nothing short than an uphill battle but, in the end, I believe it was more than worth it. Being able to say I fulfilled my lifelong dream and be a part of the small percentage of kids who get to play a collegiate sport is something I will always be grateful for.
The life that being a collegiate athlete offers is like no other, especially at a school like the University of Providence where more than 80% of the student population are athletes. Everyone is in the same boat here and it feels comforting knowing you are not the only one going through the student-athlete challenges. Academically, I am very fortunate to have professors who understand the lifestyle of a student-athlete and are very flexible with our hectic schedules. They are very helpful in offering extra time outside of their schedule to help students, and are very accommodating regarding our homework and agenda.
Every day is based on a schedule that usually is very meticulous and timed in a way where there is hardly ever any breathing room for relaxing, especially whilst being in season. We fortunately get a little bit of time off right after our season wraps up, which is refreshing after having such a busy itinerary back-to-back for three months straight. However, we hit the ground running immediately when we get back and start the offseason training hard to prep for the upcoming season in the fall.
The experience I have had thus far as a student athlete has been nothing short than a rollercoaster, but nonetheless, amazing. I have been involved in sports my whole life and have been very fortunate to meet some amazing people along the way. Sports is a way of connecting people from so many different paths of life, and bringing them to one place to experience this stage in our lives together. If you are thinking of pursuing playing a sport in college, it truly is an unforgettable experience and although it can be overwhelming at times, the adventure and memories will carry for the rest of your life.