Kylie Pickrell: Finding My New Home

Growing up, I always considered myself as someone who was pretty mentally tough. I constantly pushed myself and my teammates to be better because that’s all I ever knew. I played club volleyball at TAV in Texas where I was pushed to be the best. So when it came time for me to experience my new life as a Division I volleyball player, I would have never guessed my four years in college would have gone the way they did. 

In 2015, I went to Arizona State, played in the lineup as a freshman, and even though we had injuries plague our team, we experienced a lot of success that season. It wasn’t until our entire coaching staff left for other schools, and a new one came in that I knew my college volleyball years weren’t going to be as easy as I had hoped. Without oversharing, let’s just say that things got very bad very fast. By the end of my sophomore season, it was no longer a program that I, nor the majority of my team, was happy to represent anymore. 

I lost a significant amount of weight (and hair off the top of my head) because of the mental, emotional, and physical stress that I was under. This solidified my decision to not return to Arizona. I transferred going into the spring semester and found my new home at North Carolina State. I was back with coaches who I had played for in the past and felt comfortable around. After everything that happened at ASU, I knew it was best for me to go to a school where I knew I would enjoy playing my sport again and could get back to playing like my old self. It was tough, and it took some time for me to get back to center mentally and physically, but I was so much happier when I made the switch and I couldn’t imagine it any other way. 

I met new lifelong friends and teammates, got to see another side of the country, and worked hard enough to be recognized as an All-American following my first season at NC State. Today, I’m still playing the sport I’ve always loved at the professional level. What I experienced my sophomore year I wouldn’t wish upon anyone, but if it wasn’t for me going through that time in my life, I don’t think I would be as mentally and physically tough as I am now.

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