Thank you so much for sharing all of that! I am so sorry your DD had that rough experience. I think things are improving in baby steps for my daughter because the team now has daily practices and have been doing a little more together. My DD is not super social, but I was worried because she is sitting in her room for an entire weekend because she had no one to eat meals with. I have been encouraging her to meet as many people as possible and she is starting to do better. She is going to try to work as many sporting events as she can! She told me the other day one of her professors already said she was standing out as a top student so that made her really happy. I may reach out in the future!I’m only replying because you said you would love to hear of others who had similar situations- so sorry if this is not what you want to hear. Our DD’s experience started out the same way. She was playing for a coach that didn’t recruit her. But we were told by a current player that the new one was even better than the last one and were also told that he was recommended by the old coach - so we thought it would be ok.
So there were only 2 new freshman- our DD and her roommate. She didn’t want to room with the RM. The coach suggested she should though so she gave in so as not to get on his bad side. On move-in day the RM, her parents and her HS aged girlfriend were there (the GF was a GF -not just a friend- but none of us knew this then). Our DD tried to talk to the RM but her and her GF barely said a word. It was very awkward. That night the RM left and stayed at a hotel with her GF leaving our DD alone on her first night at school. To make a long story short, the RM had no interest in being friends w/ our DD. Any free time she either went away to her GF’s or had her GF come stay in the very small room (not asking our DD). They were not shy about being “very intimate” in the open which basically forced our DD out of the room whenever the GF visited. The GF visited often (once Wed-Sun). Our DD tried to talk to the RM (but she wouldn’t talk to her) then tried talked to the RA about the constant visits and breaking the rules (which didn’t help). Throughout the whole thing our DD’s only concern was not “making waves” because she didn’t want it to affect softball. During this time, she didn’t tell us the whole story of what was going on- I guess so we didn’t worry. She got through the semester though she was miserable. While everyone else in the dorm would be doing things with their RM’s or a small group of friends, she was on her own or had to be a “3rd wheel.” The softball team also wasn’t much of a help because they were also divided (girls who played under the old coach saying they would always better because of it; the new coach let players join sororities which caused hurt feelings etc).
Again, long story short, DD ended up moving out of the room a few weeks into the second semester. However, to get permission, she had to tell the Dean why. This got back to a lot of people including the coach and the girl’s parents (who didn’t seem to know the RM left the school as much as she did, etc). That was a disaster. The coach got mad at her for moving and reporting the situation and the girl’s mom (major helicopter mom who acts sickeningly sweet but can be brutal if her daughter isn’t #1) started complaining that our DD was anti-gay and snobby because she was in a sorority and started telling team parents that our DD was being mean to her daughter and that is why she had no friends (but she had no friends because she was either away from school or holed up in the dorm room w/ her GF). She actively tried getting parents and players to turn against our DD one weekend the team traveled (our DD wasn’t there to defend herself as she was sent home from school sick so we didn’t know any of this was going on). Shortly thereafter COVID cancelled the rest of the year on campus. That was her disastrous freshman year. So, from that story I would give you this advice.
1. If you think you have a reason to be worried (or concerned is probably a better word) trust your gut and ask her questions about how things are going. Don’t just hold back thinking she will tell you if you don’t ask. That said, don’t try to solve her problems (unless they are huge and then help her handle them- don’t take them over.). However, know that even when things are good, you will worry so you just have to get used to that feeling. After a while you will know by her voice how things are.
2. Encourage her to go out and meet new people - especially those NOT on softball. She will be forced to spend enough time with softball people soon enough so she should develop friendships outside of softball. The easiest way to do this is in the residence hall or by joining a club/activity that she is really interested in. Also encourage her to go outside of her comfort zone socially at least once a day. She ca start with baby steps like just introducing herself to one new person a day. After a while she’ll be way more comfortable socially and will undoubtedly find at least a few friends (but probably many as everyone needs friends when school starts!)
3. Don’t worry right now about the lack of a softball training schedule. She needs to get acclimated to school first and that takes time. She has played softball for years, a sporadic training schedule for a few weeks won’t kill her. It might even really help! She is playing D1 softball- she *will* get enough practice. If she feels she must practice more, then she should take the opportunity to talk to an upperclassmen and see if they would train with her.
4. Encourage her to nip any problems in the bud early - whether they are softball related or not. Most problems get bigger with time rather than go away. The smaller they are the easier they can get solved.
5. Don’t accept things she knows are wrong because she is afraid they will hurt her softball playing time (or scholarship $). I know that will be a hard thing to swallow but it is the truth. Coaches or players that are willing to do or look past bad things will also not be fair, honest or upright people. Doing things to keep on their good side won’t help because they will change with the wind whenever it suits their cause. There is no loyalty there. Do not “sell your soul” for softball. If players lose scholarship $ most schools work hard to replace that with other $ (sometimes players who are good students can even come out $ ahead by quitting!)
6. Encourage her to talk to her RA and if they aren’t useful find one who is. There are usually numerous RAs per dorm and most will be glad to help someone even if they aren’t technically in their section. Most likely whatever difficulty a student is going through, an RA can relate - or knows someone who can. Don’t stop looking for help if you need it.
7. Talk to her often- even if it’s just a brief text to check in. The more you do this the more you will notice if she is really down or stressed etc. When you text just ask some questions then listen (try not to tell her what to do or make her feel self conscious/badly for not having a lot of friends yet or not being all happy-happy). The more you do this the more she will start opening up (do you know exactly how things are going).
Tell her not to be afraid to realize or admit if things aren’t like she thought they would be. It happens all of the time. Yes it is sad and that’s ok. What would be worse is finishing up 4 years and realizing none of it was worth it and she didn’t get where she wanted to be. The important thing is for her to be honest with herself about what she wants, what her goals are and what she is willing to endure to achieve her goals. She should also know these things will probably change and continue to evolve over the course of her college career.
9. Just continue to tell her you love her, support her and want her to be happy. (If she’s a high level softball player you probably don’t need to tell her to work hard and stay out of trouble - so save that for times when you know she needs a kick in the butt).
If you want to vent, message me. If she needs an outside ear, I’m sure our DD would text her. Best of luck!