After graduation, student-athletes often lose touch with the sports they have placed their hearts in for so long, but the bonds they created in their time in Oberlin lasted long after they left campus. Athletics graduates often turn to each other for advice, professional networking, and friendship after graduation.
For volleyball graduate Emily Kelkar, OC ’19, it’s surprising that a love for the sport remains such a prominent part of her daily life.
“I currently live in [New York City] Where I coach volleyball, tennis and softball, including the volleyball team. Oberlin volleyball [alumna]Lola Gatti [OC ’18]In fact, he helped me get this job.”
The extensive network of Oberlin Athletics alumni has helped many of the graduating students feel more confident in their relationships with each other – knowing they can always stay connected and connect with their teammates at any time.
For field hockey alum Meg Parker, OC ’19, networking with colleagues enabled her to secure her most recent job.
“Through the network of alumni from various relationships with each other, I feel confident that I can reach out to my fellow athletes if I ever need career advice,” she said. “I know that with the family we’ve fostered, the current athletes feel the same.”
Through their long training together and community events, athletes can relate in particularly unique ways. Plus, the relationships they form with coaches – and the department as a whole – tie everyone together across different teams.
“The first three years I was in Oberlin, we were full of other fall sports for lifts, so [we] We were able to come to a mutual understanding of what each of us was going through in terms of being athletes,” Parker said. “People want to assume that the athletics department is really strong and separated from them by the team, but the actions of one team can affect athletics as a whole. . It is one family. How you build a community is reflected in the entire department.”
However, each team retains its own unique culture. Kelkar and Parker talked about how these standards are upheld in both volleyball and field hockey.
“Every Saturday we’d get together, which is where we got the most bonding time,…especially the first year before the season,” Kelkar said. “It was nice to have a built-in group of friends even before directing. Having people older than you was also nice, because you could always go to them for advice or help, and they always made lower-class people feel included.”
Parker believed that the field hockey team’s values were influenced by a lack of competitive pressure, enabling them to relate in a way that they would not have been able to achieve otherwise.
“Having a team there was no expectation, besides being who you really are, created a great environment where we wanted to do everything together,” Parker said.
Despite being in different team environments, both Kelkar and Parker credit Oberlin students’ similar thinking as integral to their ability to come together as athletes and members of the school’s inclusive community. Parker, who has been involved in several spaces on campus, including the Student Senate, ‘Sco’ and the admissions office, says she still keeps in touch with people across those places.
“The community mission is something that strengthens the relationship between the athlete’s family and the greater Oberlin community,” she said. “The Catalyst[s] For a lot of my friendships it was activities I involved myself in, but I feel like I’ve been able to navigate a lot in Oberlin [the field hockey team]. I came out of Oberlin with a very different perspective on how to be a friend and a member of my family in a community I wouldn’t have encountered if I didn’t play field hockey.”
Kelkar also discussed the camaraderie between the Obies despite the different paths they each take.
“People make friends everywhere, but the wonderful thing about Oberlin is that everyone has the same kind of thinking about wanting to change the world,” she said. “It helps us empower each other. All my friends have taken very different paths, but we keep in touch.”
Year 4 volleyball player Natasha Radek spoke about the community her team created, noting how difficult it was for COVID-19 to connect to each other at first.
“COVID has certainly made things difficult, but I think as far as our team goes, we have done our best given the circumstances.” “We have planned as many trips and activities as possible as we remain aware of the coronavirus, and I believe we have been able to save as much life as possible. natural”.
Radek reiterated the idea that the Oberlin volleyball team operates as a family, a dynamic that the team manages to create despite some distance.
“My team has always been there to support each other, and if you ever need to rely on anyone for support, there are plenty of shoulder groups ready for you,” she said. “Just like any family, we may have disagreements from time to time, but at the end of the day we try to come together and work through any issues. We really value everyone as part of our family.”