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Senior Reflection: Softball's Kayla Schinik

Senior Reflection: Softball's Kayla Schinik

Looking back at my experience at Babson, I would not change a thing. All of the laughs, tears, injuries, and accomplishments during the past four years have made me the person I am today. I met some of my best friends in college, experienced playing in championships with my team, faced and overcame obstacles along the way, and traveled to some places I could have never imagined. That saying is true - that college will be the best four years of your life - and I wish I could tell my freshman self one more time to soak it all in before it is over. If I could go back and do it all again, I would. Luckily, I have some of the best friends from these years to make more memories with for the rest of my life.

Right off the bat, freshman year set high expectations for me for the rest of my college experience. While we won the NEWMAC Tournament that spring, it was the team chemistry that really made me cherish those moments. I had never been on a team with more selflessness, passion, and determination to never give up, no matter how far behind we were according to the scoreboard. Every single one of my teammates wanted to play for each other and that mindset is what took us so far. At one point, our coach, Dave Canan, introduced us to a new word called mudita. Mudita is the pure joy and excitement one gets for someone else's accomplishments, completely free of any self-interest. It is the most selfless joy a person could have. From that point on, we played by that word and constantly repeated it within our team for the rest of my college career.

If you would have asked me how I thought my grade's senior season would turn out, I would have never guessed this ending. The abruptness of our season getting cancelled was not even a remote possibility in my mind as we flew out to Arizona to play our first and only games of our season. My biggest worry after I got a concussion in the first game of the season was whether or not I would be ready to play in Hawaii the next week. When the trainer told me that was not going to happen, I was crushed, but I knew I had to get better for the remainder of the season. I was just thankful I was able to travel with my team to Hawaii anyway and share those experiences with them. I also was partly grateful that my teammate, Tori Roche, was (unfortunately) in the same situation as me and we could at least have each other and support the team on the sidelines together. Unbeknownst to me at the time was that our season would completely come to a halt before that was possible.

While not the ending any of us expected, I think I speak for all seven of the other seniors on the team when I say we are so lucky that we have each other to lean on. Having a great support system from the underclassmen especially helped us seniors accept the big changes happening. The underclassmen set up so many fun activities for us in the last week that we would typically have in a normal season, such as senior day in the locker room and graduation pictures in front of Tomasso. They really left a mark on all of the seniors. To me, one of the biggest reasons I was so crushed over our season ending was because I could tell how special our team was this year and to realize that I would not have a real chance at playing alongside them was heartbreaking. 

Despite the abrupt ending, I am forever thankful for these past few years at Babson. I have learned so much about myself and have gained so many amazing people in my life. Being on a team has challenged my perspective and taught me invaluable skills I will be able to use for the rest of my life. Thank you again, Babson, for allowing me to grow as a person, giving me some of my lifelong friends, and gifting me memories I will hold onto forever.