D3: A Huge Honor and a Great Responsibility
By Nina Haller (Chevy Chase, Md./Bethesda-Chevy Chase)
When I was in high school, I wanted one thing. I wanted to play Division 1 basketball. However, once I toured my first D-III school, I knew it was the division for me. Division III gave me the opportunity to play the sport I loved competitively, to be part of something greater than myself, but to also make academics my priority and still be able to be a part of other clubs and organizations on campus. Division III is the best division for the complete college experience. As a D3 athlete, I was able to do well in the classroom, excel at my sport and make many friends within and outside of the athletic department.
I can proudly say that I was a Division III athlete for four years. Division III has allowed me to grow as an athlete and as an adult. I've learned how to balance my school work with the copious hours spent in practice. I was able to put on my jersey and represent the school I love.
The most important thing that I learned being a Division III athlete is to self-motivate. I didn't have to play basketball, I wanted to. D3 has no scholarships, no contracts forcing me to put on my jersey every day. It's an honor to be able to be part of a team but also a great responsibility. The responsibility of every D3 athlete is to not only excel in the classroom but also on the court/field. In the offseason, no one could make me go to the gym to improve my skills or stay in shape. The only person to motivate myself was me. It took me a couple years to learn that I was not going to help my team if I didn't push myself to be the best player and person that I could be. The hours spent in practice were miniscule compared to the hours I spent practicing on my own.
I hope that more high school athletes choose to take part in D3 athletics. Choosing Division III has prepared me for life after college and was, by far, the best decision I made.
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