I’ve been wanting to write about this for a while now because it seems like this has been the epitome of what 2018 has been for me. Transitioning from college to post-grad life, transitioning from life in the states to life abroad, transitioning from college volleyball to Olympic/International volleyball. The year of 2018, for me, has been a year of transitions.
“Haleigh! You need to get off the net.” Russ would shout at me as a freshman, “You need to be up an available in transition.” In volleyball, the transition part of the game is the few split seconds between defense and offense where you’re prepping for the next phase of play. Usually for the middle blocker that means you’ve just landed after a block and now you’re busting tail to get behind the 3 meter line, getting your feet right for your approach, finding where the ball is, timing your approach to where the ball is, then maybe (although it’s unlikely #middlelife) getting set and attacking the ball. A lot goes on in these very few seconds and any hesitation on your part affects your ability to be as effective and efficient as possible. What’s important is that you trust your body, your teammates, and your knowledge of the game and then Go.
In life, the transition game is similar. It occurs, just like in volleyball, in between phases. You’re not quite in one stage or the other but you’re on your way there. What’s important is that you’re making the right moves in that phase to be as effective as possible in your next phase. Transitioning from college volleyball to Olympic/International volleyball this summer is a good example of one such moment. The game at the international level is so much faster. Not to mention, at this level it’s not just about beating the block. You also have to hit the ball hard enough to beat the defense, most of whom are great defenders. The point is, the game is different and tougher. It’s difficult to adjust to.
That transition was tough. It was a transition that lasted a long time and honestly might still be going on. Right now, I’m figuring out how to get off the net and be up for the next phase of play both literally and metaphorically. It’s choppy and most of the time I’m late and Russ is probably yelling at me for not getting of the net in time, but it’s coming along. The transition to international volleyball is coming along and I’m slowly but surely figuring it out.
Transitioning to life outside of Penn State is another story. Four years is a long time to spend anywhere. The fact that these past four years were apart of my developing into an adult phase of life made them all the more influential. So transitioning to life outside of Penn State has come with its own level of discomfort. The biggest missing characteristic is routine. At school, every day had a structure. There was a class schedule, practice and game schedule, meetings, rehab, etc. All things that made one’s day very structured. Life outside of that lacks structure. Life outside of Penn State is basically silly putty when compared to the Lego Block structure that is life in college. But just like one can create something out of lego blocks, it’s pretty impressive what can come from silly putty. Horrible metaphor, but the point that’s being made is, without structure there’s a lot of room to create WHATEVER it is one wants to create.
Routines now become wholly one’s own. There’s no need to schedule around classes or office hours anymore. The day is yours. Sure, there’s still the “work” factor (can you count volleyball practice as work), but even that leaves you with hours of the day that are completely your own. Transitioning into life after college has been about finding a new routine. Creating structures within the lack of structure your life now has. This transition leads to a phase of incredibly liberating autonomy.
Transitions are still hard though. They’re the toughest phase of the game in volleyball and often require the most unseen work. People rarely understand how much effort goes into the transition phase. But such is life. People rarely recognize the work, they just see what comes from it. What’s important is that when you’re transitioning, you trust your body, you trust the people you’ve surrounded yourself with and you take the necessary steps to ensure the next phase in life can/will come as smoothly as possible. It’s not going to be easy, but whether it’s volleyball or life transitions rarely are.