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Advice to Student Athletes: You’re a Person First

My name is Jessica Notaro and I am a sophomore women’s lacrosse player at St. Bonaventure

This Spring of 2023 will be my first season being a live player on the team, due to an injury
that kept me off of the field my freshman spring season.

Throughout the duration of my injury I learned a lot about how to keep my mind in a good place when dealing with a devastating end to my season.

Going into this year, it took a lot to get my confidence back and get back into practice, which was very
mentally challenging. Some things that I learned about myself and about college athletics were:
Support from others is not only helpful, but necessary: I was on crutches for six weeks and
needed help carrying my things, getting places safely, and doing everyday tasks because I
couldn’t do them on my own. For someone who is not injured, keeping in touch and prioritizing
relationships allows you to have a distraction from your stressful day of practice and classes. It
also helps foster secure and positive relationships that you can lean on when you have had a
hard or long day. Especially when being on a team of 40 girls, it’s so nice to have people that I
know will support me no matter what.
You are a human first, not an athlete. With a 20 hour a week practice schedule, while adding in
class and schoolwork, it gets difficult to remember you need to prioritize yourself. For me, I
always make sure that I have at least one fun thing planned in my week that reminds me that I
am a person, not just an athlete. This can be things like going to eat with friends or teammates,
going to another team’s sporting event, or just hanging out with people in your down time.

With the busy schedule, it becomes difficult to find times to do necessary things like eat, sleep, or
have the social time that we need. But, I’ve learned that being able to manage your time to fit
these things in your day is crucial to be able to succeed and be the healthy version of you.

With these two things always in mind, I have been able to come back physically and mentally from
my injury and begin to succeed in my sport and mend my mental health. It is imperative that all
student athletes remember these things to be able to get a positive experience from college
athletics and from your four years away at school.

Jessica Notaro ’25

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