Grace and I are roommates, teammates, and good friends. Grace takes pride in her Iowa family roots, driving a Jeep, and her new found baking hobby. She would describe herself as a strong, independent person, and people around her would say she is bubbly, outgoing, and welcoming
Here is Grace’s Story!
Up Off The Floor
Senior year of high school is supposed to be a dream. Right? Well, Grace’s senior year was the beginning of a long journey of personal growth.
While at a club tournament in Chicago, several aspects of her life were not going as planned – she had a mental breakdown.
I was laying on the bathroom floor in this hotel, missing team bonding. I was up there and I remember a moment where I stopped crying and realized that “I’m going to have to pick myself up here.”
In that moment, Grace had an epiphany that no matter what she is feeling or what she is going through, time will pass no matter how crappy life can get.
Looking back and freaking out about things that had happened. I had no control over those things and I can’t change those things, so why am I sitting here, letting them affect me in such a big way?
That night, Grace picked herself up off the floor went down to team bonding but not without a realization: Sometimes YOU have to pick YOURSELF up off the floor, no one is going to do it for you. People can help you, give you advice, and more, but YOU ultimately make the decision to better your life and pick yourself up.
This semester, Grace has been navigating injury to her ankles. Recently, Grace has gone through an extensive ankle surgery and has since received news she did not want to hear: that she would need surgery on the other ankle as well.
I had been really upset about the second surgery for a while. I realized “Wow, I can’t control this anymore. Me sitting and dwelling about this isn’t going to change anything… I’m going to have this next month of my life – where I am able to walk – be the best month of my life”.
The last thing any athlete wants to hear is that they are out for the season and cannot control it. Grace has been finding out who she is without volleyball. She now knows that she is passionate about baking, embracing relationships on and off the team, and looking forward to her return to the court.
At the end of the day, I came here to play volleyball. I am a volleyball player and I would do anything for this program. I have to do the things I need to do to be better for the program.
While Grace received tough news, her outlook on the upcoming events in her life are considerably positive. She has remained very involved with the Belmont Volleyball program and is finding ways to connect with others on the team outside of the gym.
The Belmont Experience
Always knowing that she wanted to experience life outside of her Iowa roots, when Grace was presented with the opportunity to attend Belmont, she knew it was the perfect fit.
Her phone calls with Coach Katelyn Harrison stood out to her because
1) Katelyn was her first college coach call.
2) None of her other calls made her feel as important as Coach Harrison did.
Belmont gives a lot of opportunities for us to grow as people, in our faith and maturity. I know that from a year ago to today, I’m a completely more responsible and mature person.
Grace’s goal when she committed to Belmont was to be apart of a program that makes history. While there is growth from last year to this year, more work is left to do.
Grace served on a team of 11 student-athletes through Belmont Missions to Unalakleet, Alaska and has helped with two summers of Belmont Volleyball camps.
Seeing the kids in Alaska and at Belmont Volleyball camps, we don’t realize that they look at us like we are celebrities, like we are the coolest, strongest, toughest people on the planet.
I think that’s crazy because we leave the gym in tears some days because we are so mad at ourselves and performance. We get so obsessed with these small things that we forget there are kids that look at us like celebrities solely for doing what we are doing.
During her time in Alaska, she realized that the world is much bigger than volleyball. As much as she loves volleyball, she is not volleyball. She is Grace and then she is volleyball.
Don’t get me wrong, I love volleyball. I’m only going to be here for how many more years? And then I am not going to be volleyball anymore.
The commonalities between her Senior year mental breakdown and her current ankle situation is that she is sick of being sad. Yes, her circumstances are unfortunate. Yes, she has allowed herself time to grieve.
Just because I am sad doesn’t mean that I am weak. You wake up one day and you are just sick of being sad. The only person making me feel this way is me. What is the point of making myself sad? Nothing can change.
- Time heals everything.
- You cannot control the uncontrollables.
- Change is the only constant in life.
- You sometimes have to pick yourself up off the floor.
- Asking for help does not make you weak.
- You are the one who can change your mindset.
- You have to choose to want to get better.
Be nice to other people and be nice to yourself. Have enough faith in yourself to pick yourself up off the floor when you need to. No one else can persuade you or change your mind to make your life better. You solely and independently can do that.
The growth from senior year of high school to a sophomore in college is evident. Grace is still a strong, independent person, and her experiences have shaped her into who she is now… a powerful young woman.
Looking forward to the future, Grace is interesting in working with the foster care system and other aspects of social work. Her ability to love on kids, encourage them, and support them are evident and this profession will suit her well.