Hi, I’m Carrigan Miller, and I’m a first year from West Orange, New Jersey. Academically, I’m interested in studying Psychology and English. Additionally, I’m an offensive lineman for the Fighting Scots and a writer for The Mac Weekly.
I’ve been asked by my excellent and talented editors to start a series writing about what it’s like to be a first-year athlete, and I figured the best place to start would be to write about myself and what it’s been like for me, both during my short time here and in the months before.
If you asked me where I wanted to go to college at the beginning of my junior year of high school, I probably would have told you NYU. It’s a great school, and within an hour of my hometown. If you told me that I was going to be a college athlete, I never would’ve believed you. But by the end of my junior year, I knew that four years of football couldn’t be enough.
I started my search for a good academic school that would want me for their football team. I started off looking at liberal arts colleges of the East Coast, schools like Wesleyan and Bates. Coaches at these schools told me to be at football camps hosted by Ivy League schools. At Dartmouth’s camp, I met Coach Mullenbach, who is the defensive coordinator here.
To be honest, I’d never heard of Macalester before meeting Coach Mullenbach, but we exchanged emails before meeting again at the New England Elite camp, a massive (over 1300 players) meeting of Division III and high-academic Division I schools.
In August of 2014, I made my first trip to Minnesota. To be totally honest, the main purpose of the trip was to visit Carleton, but it was Mac that stole my heart. I felt totally at home on campus, and the students I met had a mixture of deep enthusiasm for both football and their school work that I hadn’t found anywhere else. When I went back to New Jersey, Mac had become the point of comparison for all other schools.
All of that is not to say that the rest of the process was easy. During my first game of my senior season, I got a bit carried away while defending my quarterback from a defensive lineman and found myself the instigator in a fight. When the local newspaper included this detail in their write-up of the game, I knew that I would have to tell the coaches that were recruiting me, which was one of the most nerve-wracking things I’ve ever had to do. Fortunately, the coaches at Mac were understanding of my mistakes, on the condition that I try not to repeat them during my time here. So far so good!
I also had the general nervousness that goes along with making such a big decision, which led to a lot of sleepless nights. But I stuck to my guns, committed to Macalester and submitted my early decision application. Now that I’ve made it through the process, I know I made the right decision.
Being an athlete isn’t always easy. It’s tough balancing class, school work, reading, practice, film study and lifts, let alone trying to do all that while still having a good social life and getting enough sleep! But the sense of family that the Scots provide always makes it all worthwhile.
That’s my story of how I came to Macalester. What about you? Like I said earlier, this is the first installment of a series of articles I’ll be writing about the life of a first-year athlete. I’d love to get some other stories and perspectives from other first year athletes. If you want to reach out, email me at [email protected] or just come talk to me.
I’ll end this first installment as I will every installment, with this one standing piece of advice for my readers.
Have a fantastic week, and stay positive!