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I'm a girl, and a senior in highschool. I'm attending a very small but selective college next year. I know the workload will be immense. The original plan was to become a lump for four years.
However, as I enter my last track season, I realize that I can't give up this huge part of my life. I'm not good by any means. I mean, my best 5k was 21:14, and that was a fluke by over a minute. My best mile was in the low 6 minute range back when I was a freshman. I've gone through periods of hating this sport like vampires hate garlic. Medically, I've had the worst senior year (many colds, MRSA x3, lockjaw, wisdom teeth), and even missed the last two weeks of my last XC season and my last home XC meet.
A big part of me wants to see what college XC is all about. I'm scared that I won't make friends in my college because their sports teams are with two very different schools, and as I'm attending the engineering school, the stereotype holds true and not many play sports.
I don't know what to do. Part of the reason why I'm going to school 2,900 miles from home is to experience new things, but I'm not ready to give up this one old thing. My school is D3, which makes it less scary. I feel like whatever I pick is both the wrong decision and the right decision.
What would you do?
I am not sure I totally understand all of your issues, but it does sound like running is an important part of your life, so I would encourage you to continue at college. You should not have to make a choice between academics and athletics because sterotypes can only be reinforced if individuals are willing to fall into categories and accept labels. Sounds like you are too smart for that, so the right decision is to be certain that you are physcially and mentally balanced in pursuing personal goals.
Do not worry about who is or is not playing sports within specific majors. I entered college as a scholarship basketball player majoring in broadcasting and a member of the speech team/drama club (that did not go together), but I adjusted and developed friendships in a greater variety of experiences. You will find resources in all endeavors, so do not sell yourself short....be true to your instincts and you will be surprised how things work out.
Of course you have to go for it. Take it all in while you're at college. You won't regret it. Of course you have to keep academics central in your vision, but there are so many other things that are integral parts of life and you need to take the opportunity to find those that are important to you. It seems that running clearly is important. So step out of your comfort zone and ignore the stereotype (it will always be there if you find the need). Worried about making friends? Joining the XC team is a good way to expand your circle to both sides of the college. You have a great opportunity here. Take advantage of it. Besides, with college-level coaching, you might be good.
I agree with the previous answers, just let it play out, you will find your own way, just do not abandon an important part of your life because of stereotypes and preconceived ideas, they are usually wrong and generally quite absurd.
On the other hand I would also like to point out that if you are attending engineering school you will probably have a higher level of stress than you had till now, and running is one of the best tools that exist against it. All in all, just go for it and keep on doing what you like, study hard and remember not to put too much pressure on yourself and everything will be ok.
5k: 20:12 (December 31st 2012)
10k : 44:30 (November 6th 2011, March 18th 2012)
Half Marathon: 1:35:27 (February 3rd 2013)
I like half marathons! Seven completed so far and trying to get back on optimal shape to improve my PB. Once I complete my 10h half I will start thinking about full marathons.
My daughter was in a very similar place that you are, she runs with the UNC intramural team they travel if you want but it's been a great thing for her. They have girls that run anywhere from 17:30's to 23:00 they mostly run 6K's now. Most cross country girls are over achievers! Go for it.