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Summer Bridge Program Provides Smoother Transition
July 2, 2014
By Kelly McHugh
While the summer may be a time of relaxation for some, for incoming K-State student-athletes, it's just the opposite.
From summer classes to intense training and workouts with their new squads, K-State football, volleyball, baseball and men's and women's basketball newcomers are already in Manhattan and have plenty to keep them busy before the 2014-15 academic year and sport seasons kick off.
During this time of transition, K-State Athletics offers a program to help these 44 incoming freshmen and transfer student-athletes as they adjust to their new way of life at K-State. Every Wednesday morning during the month of June, K-State's Summer Bridge program offers these new Wildcats all the information they need to know about their university.
An orientation-type program, the student-athletes have the opportunity to hear from various leaders from departments university-wide, so when the fall semester begins they will know exactly what to expect.
"It's been really good for us," said basketball freshman guard Malek Harris, who arrived on campus just a few weeks ago. "We haven't had any problems with getting up and going to it because we need it. College is a whole different thing; it's a whole different situation. The consequences and the repercussions of what you do or what you fail to do is a lot more, so it's teaching me a lot of things that I didn't know about college. It's been really beneficial."
Camilla Roberts, K-State's associate director of the Honor and Integrity System, joined the discussion one Wednesday morning to talk about academic integrity, while the following week Larry Moeder, K-State's Director of Student Financial Assistance, spoke to the group regarding questions about finances.
The summer crash course also saw K-State Athletics specialists such as Director of Sport Psychology Ian Connole and Sport Nutritionist Scott Trausch address the group so the new Wildcats don't miss out on the many opportunities provided to them as K-State student-athletes.
"It's been good. It helps with showing you where to go and what to do," explained volleyball freshman setter Kali Eaken who, like Harris, has been in Manhattan for less than a month. "Academic-wise, it helps too because, obviously, we've never been in this situation before. It shows you what to expect before getting thrown into it. It's great to have the summer to go through these things before everything really begins this fall."
Also providing the student-athletes with the opportunity to interact and make new friends, Summer Bridge threw a pool party for the newcomers at the Manhattan Country Club. After dinner - but before jumping in the pool - the group met K-State athletics director John Currie and heard from the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) board. The SAAC leaders (women's basketball's Kelly Thompson and Haley Texada, volleyball's Taylor Johnson, men's basketball's Brian Rohleder and D.J. Johnson, baseball's Blake McFadden and football's Weston Hiebert, Dante Barnett, Tyler Lockett, Curry Sexton and Stanton Weber) provided advice on making the most of their time at K-State.
From Taylor Johnson's advice of starting a resume right away to D.J. Johnson's advice of using your planner to Lockett's advice of getting to know people outside of your sport, the newcomers are in good hands as they look forward to their Wildcat futures.
"Don't sweat the small stuff," Sexton said on his turn. "Don't let one rep, one bad day or one bad practice let you down because they'll happen to everyone. Instead, use them as motivation to push harder and do more next time."