Testing the waters

One freshman’s journey to getting involved and pursuing excellence on and off campus

Freshman Sydney King (second left) poses with her friends outside the DSU during her first few days at CNU. After seeing the boat in the middle of the plaza, King approached the Sailing Team Coach and requested to join. Courtesy of Maxwell Plarr

By Annie Silva

The first weeks of freshman year are a blur of stress, panic and excitement. Most students use this time to settle down, find friends and prepare for class. However, Freshmen Sydney King does not fit the mold.

Within her first week as a freshman she found herself with an on-campus job, as a walk-on for a Division I sports team for a sport she had never played, and began her service as  a Bonner Scholar. At the same time, she juggles a full schedule of Honors and PLP courses, combined with the as well as the various extracurriculars on campus.

“Coming from the summer where I had 8-10 hours of [free time]…and now I’m literally planned to the minute [has been hard]” King said.

Trying to find a balance between extracurriculars and school work has been her main focus. However, King is used to the high demands of sports and school. Growing up, she was heavily involved in swim team.

“I have always been an athlete and when I don’t do something athletic I almost feel lost,” she said.

King also was involved in service in High School. Right out of elementary school, she assisted in developing and continuing a STEM program for kids kindergarten through 6th grade.

King said the program first “fostered a passion for helping out [her] community.” Her interest continued all the way until high school graduation and on to college. Coming to CNU, King knew she wanted to continue as an  athlete and make an impact through service but was unsure how. Even a family friend’s joking remark about joining the sailing team was a stretch, for this avid athlete.

During Welcome Week, King had a change of heart. “Some friends and I were walking back from convocation…and we saw a boat in [Trible Plaza]” King said about her first experience with the sailing team. After approaching the coach and requesting to join, King was on the squad.

“She’s a hard worker and very eager to learn, which is a critical step in becoming a better sailor” teammate Carson Cooper said. Although starting a new D1 sport may seem daunting, King is comfortable with this type of pressure.

“In the last few years my thing has been to try random stuff and see what happens,” King said.

Such a lifestyle has led her to think differently and explore things in life she may have never had the chance to before. King said, “if I go out and graduate college, the chances that I am going to go and learn how to sail are so small.”

King has used the same mindset in her service endeavors.

“[Service] was the thing I enjoyed most about high school,” King said. Continuing her service career in college just made sense.

“Sydney gives so much of her time to others,” roommate Annie Crosson said. “She’s so inspiring to me.”

The transition to college is a trying time and it can be easy to get lost in the sea of new students. King proves that while it is difficult, it is not impossible to step out of the crowd and distinguish yourself when joining a new community. To become a Captain, on and off the water, it’s necessary to “expand your horizons” according to King, and for her that has made all the difference.

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