Emily Potter at the University of Utah Basketball Training Facility in Salt Lake City, UT on Monday, Feb. 12, 2018 (Photo by Adam Fondren | Daily Utah Chronicle)

When change occurs in life, there are two options: accept it or fight it. I have done my fair share of fighting change throughout my career at the University of Utah. Sometimes it can be scary leaving behind the comforts of home and facing the unknowns of school. Attending the U was the first time I was away from my parents without any rules, and it took me a year to adjust to this new normal.

Looking back on my freshman year, I can’t help but be proud of myself. I made it through five years of being a student-athlete on the women’s basketball team, graduated from a great university and found a love for writing along the way, but this doesn’t mean that I didn’t fight some of those changes throughout the years with all my might.

I experienced a major injury at the beginning of my sophomore year and did not want to accept my new role on the team for that season. I had to watch from the sidelines when all I wanted to do was be out on the court. That was out of my control and it taught me to never take the things I love for granted.

At the end of my sophomore year, a new coaching staff was hired. It was out of my control, but I still didn’t want to accept these changes to the team. This was when I started to realize change is a part of life and must be embraced.

It’s easy to stay in a safe bubble, where everything is just as expected. It is comfortable to know and it is comfortable to be able to predict, but there is not a lot of growing inside the comfort zone. I liked knowing I would be surrounded with the same familiar faces throughout my whole college career, but that was unrealistic.

I have met so many more people throughout my college career because of those changes. Without them, I might have not met some of them. The best part of my college experience has been the people. I was lucky to have so many different coaches because they have all taught me something valuable and different. I’m fortunate to have had so many different athletic trainers, strength coaches and academic advisors because they all brought a different approach or point of view to athletics.

I feel I am the most lucky when it comes to the many teammates I have gained along the way who have offered me friendship. These girls were and still are my friends even though, over my five years at Utah, I have had almost 30 teammates.

It’s pretty crazy to think about, but every year the seniors graduate and move on and new freshmen come in ready for their journey as Utes.

On a basketball team, things can never stay the same because every year the senior class moves on. The shift in players is inevitable. I sometimes wish I realized this change doesn’t just apply to my teammates in basketball, but to every aspect in life a little bit sooner. At the end of the day, everyone’s journey is unique and forms who they become as a person. We are all the sum of our experiences and though my journey had a lot of twists and turns, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I have faced so many changes since my sophomore year of college, but now I can view them as another challenge I have overcome.

The U is where I found myself, or rather, where I molded myself. I could’ve become anyone I wanted and picked any career path that caught my eye, which is why I loved college. It was new, it was difficult and it was full of change, but here I am at the end — truly happy. I learned change should not be pushed away and that it’ll make you grow more than you ever thought possible. I thank my college experience for pushing me to be my best. Now it’s time for the next big change.

letters@chronicle.utah.edu

@TheChrony

Emily is a senior marketing and journalism major in her first semester as an intern on the sports desk with the Utah Chronicle. She is also a member of the Utah Women's Basketball Team.

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