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Five Sets with Gabrielle Cuckovich

  • June 28, 2017 04:25 PM
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On adjusting to college life …
Being a freshman, I think is, honestly, probably hard for everyone. At least that’s what I hear. You come in and everything just kind of hits you hard. You don’t really know what you’re getting yourself into. You only learn from experience. No matter what people tell you, that’s not going to be exactly what you’re getting yourself into. I definitely think it’s been hard. Being away from home, adjusting your schedule, getting used to dealing with school and your sports schedule. The physical part was a tricky adjustment but I learned that it gets better overtime for sure. Everything is just new to you as a freshman. I got lucky with great upperclassmen teammates that help out with everything.
 
On adjusting to life as a Division I student-athlete …
At first I thought, I’d be fine if I went away but I think I found that I’m a little more homesick than I thought. Just like everything else, it’s gotten better as time has gone on. You also have to learn that even when you think you’ll be able to go home, you probably won’t be able to. I think I’m actually the closest one from home on the team. There are girls from California on the team, and I’m like about a six hour drive so I feel lucky, but I still don’t get to go home very much. Around Easter is when I realized being away from my family, especially on holidays, is harder than I thought. I’m lucky to have a team that is a good substitute for my family. Being a student athlete is something that only we understand. Rin the spring, we get up super early go to classes. When I’m exhausted, it’s harder to pay attention. I’m sure most other college students have the opportunity get a little bit more sleep. I think in a way, it’s easier with the resources we have. We get tutors, we have great academic advisors, we’re required to go to study hall, which that may suck but that’s definitely beneficial. It’s harder dealing with the schedule and missing classes. You have to communicate with your teachers more than most students would have to. Missing tests is never easy because you have to make it up at a time that is more convenient for your teacher rather than you.
 
On learning about herself after being away from home …
I’ve learned that I’m really good with making adjustments. I’m a pretty responsible person. I’ve also learned that I was kind of the mom of the freshmen. I liked that role, though. I like helping everybody out and making sure that everybody is doing okay. We all go through the same things, so we all have each other’s back. I’m excited for next year to have younger girls. Actually, Morgan is considered the team mom right now and she calls me “mom-in-training.” As a sophomore, my role will get bigger and bigger. I definitely love being that role model to them because when you go through it yourself, you kind of have expectations. Once you know those things and what other people expect, you can do a better job of helping them.
 
Her favorite part of being a Mountaineer …
The spirit this state has. Not just Morgantown. It’s just so cool to wear the Flying WV. It’s an amazing opportunity. The fact that you pretty much represent a whole state is incredible. Not just our program; there are so many great programs at this university and it’s just cool to be part of that. This opportunity is once in a lifetime and not many people get it. When you go on your tour, get this feeling that this is one of your top options and, eventually, you get that feeling that this is where you want to be. I love the campus, I love the program and I love the girls. Even if you meet them briefly you can still tell. I remember coming on my official visit and we were sitting at someone’s apartment and I was just sitting there laughing the whole time because I thought everyone was so funny.
 
On stepping onto the court as a freshman…
Honestly that was what I’ve been waiting for especially. That moment where the preseason was over - that’s exciting. That’s when it all hit me that this is it. That was fun. We put everything together that we had been working on. My first college game was against Penn State, and they have a really historic program. They’ve had a lot of success so that was cool. I think that because it was Penn State I had mixed emotions. On one hand I get to play this really cool team but on the other hand I was thinking, oh my god this is my first college match? The crowd was huge, and they are rowdy, too. The first home game was so fun, too, just being in that atmosphere. For me, I like those games against big teams. Some people kind of crash but I like that opportunity.

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WVU, West Virginia, Mountaineers, NCAA, volleyball