After five years of College Volleyball in the United States, it is hard to find the right words that could possibly describes my time here. The time went by in a blink of an eye and there is an uncountable number of memories that I have made along the way.
I became in contact with Sandra at a German Championship where she informed me about VolleyUSA and my chances and opportunity to play College Volleyball. I always dreamed of doing an exchange year in the United States, so when I heard that I could combine this with playing the sport I love, my decision was easy. I scheduled a Skype call with Sandra where she explained all the details to me and gave me a to do list to start the process of getting this journey started.
My original plan was to stay only year in the United States as an exchange year and to move back to Germany afterwards. However, my plans changed along the way and now, five years later, I am still in the United States.
After long consideration and many talks with Sandra, I committed to St. Johns River State College in Palatka, Florida. Once I finally arrived there I was welcomed with open arms. Everyone I met made me feel at home right away. The first three months were very hard for me because it was not quite what I was expecting. I did not agree with the coaching style. The Volleyball season in the U.S. is very intense so that there is not a lot of time for anything else but Volleyball in the first semester. In my spring semester, my college hired a new Coach, who I really liked so I decided to stay another year. My Sophomore year I had a much better experience and enjoyed my time to the fullest.
Sadly, you are only allowed to play two years at a Junior College, so I knew that I would have to transfer to a different school if I wanted to finish my bachelor’s degree in the US. The closer I got to leaving the states the more I wanted to stay so that I started to look for a school with the help of Sandra and my Coach at SjrState.
After I have already moved back to Germany, I got an offer to play at Mid-America Christian University in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. This University felt like the right choice for me, and now I can only say that it was the best decision of my life. The people at the school welcomed me home and accepted me into their family from the moment I stepped onto campus. We played a really good season, and I was looking forward to playing my senior year at MACU.
Due to the start of the COVID-19 Pandemic I decided to stay all summer in OKC to avoid any complications of traveling back to the U.S. After a long time of uncertainty, we got the news that our season was split between the fall and spring semester. This was new for everyone and something we all had to adjust to. While my team did not have to cancel any games because of COVID-19 cases, there were a lot of other schools that did. Due to that, the NAIA deciding to give every player an extra year of eligibility, so that I was fortunate to have another year. I was so happy at MACU, that it was an easy decision for me to take that extra year of eligibility and receive my Master at MACU as well. My super senior season was a true blessing for me, and I was able to reach almost all my goals. We played the best season in program history at MACU since joining the NAIA, while breaking many other records along the way. During my time at MACU, I was able to break all hitting records that were previously set at the University. In my last season, I recorded the most kills in all four-year institutions including NCAA, NAIA, and NCCAA. I received numerous “player of the week” awards from our conference as well as the NAIA and NCCAA. At the end of the season, I was named NAIA All-American, NCCAA All-American, SAC Attacker of the Year, as well as Central Region Player of the Year. These accomplishments are huge to me and more than I ever imagined I could achieve. My team and I overcome a lot during my last college season and ended up receiving the second place at the National Championship in Branson, Missouri.
I am so proud of everything this team and I have achieved over the past few years that it makes it so hard for me to realize that my time has officially come to an end. I had the most amazing teammates and Coaches, who I will deeply miss in the future. In May, I will walk across the stage with my master’s in business administration, which I never would have dreamed of.
I have made so many incredible memories and build friendships that will last a lifetime. This experience changed my whole perspective and truly shaped me into the person I am today. This place, program and people here will always hold a special place in my heard and I will never forget my time as an Evangel. I will be forever grateful to have gotten the opportunity to play college volleyball.
If you have any doubts, are scared, or unsure of what you want to do in the future, I encourage you to take this opportunity. This experience has opened so many doors for me and I don’t know where and who I would be without it. Huge shoutout and thank you to Sandra for helping me to receive a scholarship in the United States and for always being there for me.