Transitioning to college is a new, exciting time for almost everyone. The huge adjustment to a new change in scenery can be equally as stressful, not to mention the adjustment to a collegiate level course load. This was especially true for University of Massachusetts student athlete, Andrew Pondiscio, a senior here on the Men’s Track and Field team.
Luckily for Andrew and every single other student at UMass Amherst, athlete or non-athlete, a bundle of friendly staff and faculty are here to help with this transition. Not one student is expected to go through college alone, and there are plenty of resources and administration to help you.
A born and raised New Jersey native, Andrew Pondiscio started his track career in the early years of middle school after being inspired by his older brothers, who also ran in high school. He continued to succeed in long and high jumps throughout his high school career, and was eventually recruited to UMass after his first official visit with the team in March of his senior year.
He was excited for the new team he would be able to represent, but feared the extensive demands of being a student athlete. Luckily for Andrew, being apart of UMass Men’s Track and Field team gave him an immediate group of friends. In part, this benefited his initial transition on campus because being part of a team allowed him to meet so many people, through his own team and other campus teams. However, social life aside, balancing school and athletics was still a major adjustment that took some time to get used to.
Daily life as a member of UMass T&F consists of early morning lift practices starting at 7 a.m., followed by classes, then an additional afternoon practice at 3 p.m. Weekends, when in season, are designated for games and meets, whether it be on campus at UMass or traveling to a different campus.
Andrew said his favorite part of being on a sports team, without a doubt, has been the people he’s met through it. “Everyone is very close-knit which makes for an enjoyable experience,” he said.
While balancing sports and academics can be extremely hard, he commends UMass for having academic advising specifically for student athletes, as well as a dedicated academic lounge for studying.
His fondest memory as a part of the track and field team has been hosting the conference championship meet in spring 2019, which was a two day event with lots of records broken and champions crowned.
While his daily life revolves around his sport, Andrew has loved every second of it. And with the help of the UMass Athletics Department, he has been able to succeed here on campus, both academically and socially. In a supportive, friendly atmosphere among his own team and other teams on campus, Andrew has found an automatic friend group who shares his interest and understand the stressful, yet rewarding, day in the life of a student athlete. This, he says, makes it worth the effort.