JA athletes work towards balancing responsibilities

Mai Mitsuyama ’16 takes on NESCAC rivals and entry troubles.
Mai Mitsuyama ’16 takes on NESCAC rivals and entry troubles.

Already inclined to spend their junior years remaining at the College, declining to go abroad in order to participate in their sports, athletes compose a considerable portion of each year’s Junior Adviser (JA) class. Roughly one-third of the Class of 2018’s JAs compete in the majority of Varsity athletic programs the College offers, a figure that does not even include additional JAs who participate in club sports or intramural offerings. Between managing their course load, bringing home victories for the Ephs and ensuring their first-years have a positive transition into their collegiate years, JA athletes continuously work towards balancing all of their responsibilities while making time for self-maintenance and their friends.

“No doubt First Days was tough because I was in the thick of preseason trying to earn a starting spot on the team,” Colin Brown ’16, JA of Armstrong-Pratt 1 and wide receiver on the football team, said. “Meetings and practice took up almost all of the day and I was only allowed to miss for the essential bits of frosh first days. I did, at times, feel like I was missing out on all the entry fun.” JA of Williams D and field hockey midfielder Julia Cobb ’16 agreed: “First Days is a very important time for a Junior Advisor because the schedule is busy and it’s your first time meeting and getting to know the freshmen in your entry. First Days also coincided with field hockey preseason, which kept me very busy with practices and team meetings and was a lot to juggle all at once. It was helpful that both preseason and First Days ended before classes started. Everything calmed down once the semester started, so I also could focus on my schoolwork. The hardest thing for me was feeling like I was missing out on experiences with my entry because I was at practice or had a game.”

Co-JAs consistently play a strong role in supporting their co, through whatever needs their hectic schedules present. “I relied on Ben [Rosenblum ’16] a lot. He was amazing this fall and I can’t thank him enough for holding down the fort when I wasn’t there. He was the organizer and the planner and did so much to help our frosh transition into college as much as he could and I hope they show him the appreciation he deserves,” Mai Mitsuyama ’16, JA of Pratt 3 and soccer midfielder, said. “My Co-JA [Andy Leary ’16] was awesome about organizing and managing events in my absence. It’s important to have JAs work in pairs so that at least one JA is available for the freshmen in your entry,” Cobb added.

Overall, the JAthletes have expressed little regret with taking on two major responsibilities in their junior year. “One of the greatest pieces of advice one of my JAs ever gave me was not to treat being a JA like a job. Being a good dude and a role model to frosh is something that should be second nature, not a responsibility. By coming at the position from this angle I think I was able to really treat this year almost like any other year,” said Brown. “The only difference being that I was living with a new group of kids instead of my usual buddies. I guess the most important thing is that no frosh should feel like they are taking their JA away from other things on campus.” Mitsuyama expressed similar sentiments: “It has definitely been worth it and I wouldn’t trade this year for anything. The best was when I would hear their voices cheering me on the sidelines during home games. It helped me realize that I was doing this for a reason and I felt validated. And I think it may have helped them see that all the time I had spent away from the entry was towards something as important in my life at Williams being a JA of Pratt 3.”