Looking back on my college running career, I can pinpoint many tangible advantages of playing sports at the collegiate level. It helped pay for my education. I traveled to new places and ran myself into the best shape of my life.
However as I look back on my experience, it was the intangible advantages that collegiate athletics gave me that really enhanced my life. I developed a hard work ethic, built mental toughness, but, most importantly, formed lifelong relationships with mentors and friends.
While some locker rooms, weight rooms and track complexes are nicer and flashier than others, at the Division I level, most universities have roughly the same facilities. The main difference between any two programs in the NCAA that can make or break your college athletic experience is in the relationships with your coaches and teammates. It’s these relationships that will help you reach your full potential.