Senior attacker Christy Bishop (Glenwood, Md./Glenelg) of the St. Mary's College of Maryland women's lacrosse team reflects on how being a D3 athlete made her a leader. Bishop is also the starting goalkeeper on the Seahawk field hockey team.
I never thought of myself as a leader growing up. I never felt very confident or vocal when it came to influencing others. I definitely knew a lot about what I expected from myself and how I wanted to achieve my own goals, but I didn't think I could really help others reach theirs. Who was I to know what would work for other people? And who was I to tell them what they should and shouldn't do?
Coming into college, I still struggled with feeling qualified to give any advice. It wasn't until my spot in the goal was solidified in field hockey that I started to feel more comfortable in a vocal leadership role. I had to direct my defenders on the field and eventually I earned their trust as a valuable leader on the team. I became a captain in both field hockey and lacrosse this year, and I don't think anything has helped me develop my voice more. I now try to lead my teammates on and off the field in every aspect of life, from their social lives to sports to school work.
In the several job interviews I've had this semester so far, there wasn't a single one in which I didn't talk about my time here as a student-athlete. I referenced long bus rides, time management skills, self-discipline, passion, and sportsmanship, but I think the most important part of my experience as an athlete here was the way in which it prepared me to become a leader.
I have learned that being a leader doesn't necessarily mean you're the loudest person on the field. It's more about which words you choose to say, which actions you choose to do, and what examples you set forth for the people around you who look up to you. My senior day this past weekend for lacrosse was one of the most special memories I'll take away with me from St. Mary's. Seeing how much of an influence I was on my teammates really inspired me to embrace myself and work toward making lasting impressions like that in the future.