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Feature Friday: Julie Wadland

Happy Friday and welcome to another #featurefriday with a former college athlete! This week it's all about Julie Wadland, former Goalie for the Dartmouth Women's Lacrosse team. Julie was a highly decorated player, earning 1st Team All-Ivy honors in 2009 and 2010, All-American honors in 2010, a Team Captain in 2009 and 2010, and she currently ranks 4th All-Time in Career saves at Dartmouth. Let's hear what she has to say about her playing days.

Photo courtesy of LinkedIn

GamePlan: If you could sum up your college athletic experience in one word, what would it be? Julie: Growth.

GamePlan: What is one of the hardest moments you had to get through while playing college sports, and how did you get through it? Julie: Embracing vulnerability and patience, especially as a freshman. No one expects you to know a system right when you get to campus -- I was afraid to 'play poorly', but I needed to play differently in order to learn our team's new system. I think in some ways that mindset stunted my technical learning curve. I was so busy giving myself a hard time for looking vulnerable that I was getting in the way of the learning process, which I needed to go through in order to ultimately "play well."

GamePlan: What is a lesson(s) you learned while playing college athletics? Julie: Too many to list! But a major one: testing mental and physical capabilities further than you may have thought possible. Through teamwork, work ethic, commitment, focus, and drive, you learn your 'limits' are malleable.

GamePlan: Love this!

GamePlan: What is your favorite memory from playing college sports? Julie: The friendships you see grow and change with your teammates -- second to family, significant others, and close friends, you see every single side and emotion of your teammates. Because you've all committed to being vulnerable and growing together, you get to know your teammates on a very deep and personal level.

GamePlan: What is one of the hardest moments you had to get through while going through the recruiting process? Julie: I was fortunate to play on a club team where older players were going through the recruiting process -- combined with knowledgeable high school coaches and college counselors, my family and I were lucky enough to get input from close sources on what to expect. That said I'm not convinced it would be as clear of a process had I not been fortunate enough for the 'social capital' of my club and high school coaches.

GamePlan: What advice do you have for student-athletes who are trying to play at the collegiate level? Julie: You've gotta love practice and you've gotta love the process. Even if you're playing a winter sport, 70% of your time will be spent in the off-season: lifting, conditioning, individual skill work, stretching. You need to want it -- 'it' being to focus, to commit, to equally prioritize academics, and to keep working hard during that 70%. You simply can't be a 'gamer'.

GamePlan: Such great advice!

GamePlan: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything? If so, what would you do differently? Julie: Similar to an earlier question, I wish I had more patience and confidence in myself and the learning process freshman year.

GamePlan: What are you up to now?

Julie: The role of mentors, teamwork, and mentoring hasn't been left to my time at Dartmouth. I work as an admissions officer, coach, and academic advisor at a 700-student residential boarding school.

Sage advice from someone who's been there and done that. It's important to remember the amount of learning and growing as a person that happens during college, and how athletics can impact it. Thank you for your input, Julie! Tune in next week 👋


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