Community High School senior Bella Stevens commits to Vassar College

After a tedious recruitment process, Bella Stevens is finally able to take a break and enjoy her sport again

Bella Stevens, CHS senior, committed to Vassar College after an arduous recruiting cycle. “After I was committed I could actually enjoy the camaraderie within the team before games,” Stevens said.

By Sana Schaden, Opinion Editor, Community High School’s The Communicator

It was just over an hour before her Zoom call with Vassar College’s soccer recruitment team, when Bella Stevens, a CHS senior, started to panic.

Stevens scrolled through the list of interview questions she had seen so many times over the past two years. Stevens and her mother were expecting a standard interview, however, to their surprise, Stevens was offered a spot on her dream soccer team during the call. “I muted my mic,” Stevens said. “I was really excited; I couldn’t catch my breath and [my mom] was jumping with joy.”

Once she had collected herself, Stevens immediately accepted the spot. The recruiters even expressed their relief to hear her enthusiasm — as verbal commitments are technically not binding; the player can still choose to commit elsewhere.

Stevens had spent most of her life preparing for college recruitment, so this verbal commitment allowed her to take a much-needed break.

Vassar’s academic advisors had prescreened Steven’s transcript and explained that she had fulfilled all requirements for acceptance. Despite this, Stevens began to stress over her application. She had experienced multiple sports-related concussions throughout her junior year, causing her to fall behind in school. She worked hard to catch up and stay on top of her work leading up to senior year.

“Everybody had to apply to so many schools,” Stevens said. “And I only had to apply to one, but it was killing me. It was really anxiety [inducing] because I didn’t think I actually had good enough grades to get into [Vassar].”

Stevens clung to this mindset until two days before the application deadline. After a reassuring conversation with her mom, Stevens decided to press the submit button. It was at this point that Stevens was able to rediscover a passion for soccer that she hadn’t felt in a while — a passion that had been masked by the pressure of committing to college.

During the recruitment process, however, Stevens would often stress the night before games — unable to sleep. Particularly during showcases where over one hundred coaches may be observing.

“It’s a lot of people when you look around and you [think], there’s all these eyes on me,” Stevens said. So I would always stress, but after I was committed and submitted my application I could actually enjoy the camaraderie within the team before games. I could enjoy just playing soccer [in a way] I hadn’t been able to since before I was [on] a travel [team].”

About the writer: Sana Schaden is a junior at Community High School. This is her fourth semester on staff and her first in leadership. When she’s not writing articles in room 300, Sana can be found playing tennis, listening to music in bed, or hanging out with friends. As a Peer Educator for Planned Parenthood and a member of Advocates for Youth, Sana strives to find the intersection between activism and journalism.

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