If you would have told me on my first day of college that as a sophomore I would leave behind my life as a Division I athlete at the University of Oregon to attend a school smaller than my high school, I would have laughed in your face.
I had been playing lacrosse since third grade. By the time high school and recruiting time came around, my passion for the sport overpowered any other interest in my life (including any scholastic ambitions). I was recruited by the University of Oregon and went to Eugene for my freshman year as a member of the lacrosse team. By accomplishing my goal of being recruited to play DI, I felt I had made it. I mean our locker room even had heated toilet seats, and for a women’s lacrosse locker room it doesn’t get more deluxe than that.
I was quickly littered with gear, I made amazing friends, and was constantly feeling pampered by the bottomless pit of funds that is the University of Oregon’s Athletic Department. A few terms into school something unprecedented happened, I DREADED practice but loved attending class. Lacrosse was my full-time job, and soon it began to feel more a chore. Practicing for four hours at dawn, attending mandatory tutoring sessions, making it to lectures with sufficient brain power, and then somehow having a social life all within 24 hours was harder than I imagined.
Thankfully, I discovered what I was passionate about in the classroom, and I was receiving the best grades of my life. While lacrosse became increasingly more stressful, I subsequently became enthralled in my Political Science classes. I became passionate about studying food policy, and the government’s role in food insecurity (a topic that has become my thesis). It was truly my scholarly interests and friends that kept me moving forward. But still, it was hard for me to accept that my love for lacrosse was dwindling.
Finally one day, my parents suggested (a very strong suggestion nonetheless) that I apply to transfer to Claremont McKenna, a school with an amazing DIII athletic department and even better academics. I had not heard of CMC, let alone visited, but moments before it was due I submitted my admissions application. Without ever having seen the campus I asked to be released so that I could go visit CMC, setting in stone that I would not be rejoining the Oregon lacrosse team for my junior year.
It was one of those blind decisions guided by my parents’ judgement and a gut feeling. A year and a half later, I can confidently say my decision to transfer was the scariest but most rewarding decision of my life. The rigor of CMC classes, accessibility and knowledge of the professors, and the engagement of my peers pushed me to grow academically. This summer I was able to intern on “The Hill” for my local congressman, an experience completely funded by CMC. To understate it dramatically, living in D.C. was incredible. I was able to network and gain workplace experience, while also enjoying everything the city has to offer. I was even able to attend a Congressional picnic on the White House lawn. I lived with people from CMC who have since become some of my best friends. I honestly do not think I would have had the inclination or financial means to spend three months in D.C. if it was not for CMC, but from start to finish this summer was undoubtedly a peak in my college experience.
Although my classes are a lot more difficult than they were at Oregon, the extra hours I spend on homework is rewarding and stimulating. With my future and career ambitions in mind, spending more time in the classroom seems significantly more worthwhile, because as it turns out professional women’s lacrosse is not financially lucrative. My parents comment every visit home on the expansion of my vocabulary (something they say was somewhat lacking previously). But best of all, I have been a part of an incredible team. Anyone familiar with the lacrosse team knows that we not only have the best, kindest coaches, but we also have a unique bond.
We had an incredible 2017 season, including an undefeated SCIAC season and impressive NCAA tournament appearance. CMC has given me so many opportunities, but the chance to play with my current teammates is one of my biggest blessings. It’s something that is difficult to put into words, but the group we have is one of the most cohesive teams I have ever been a part of. Our team definitely likes to have fun, but it also helps that we all hold similar work ethics and have a unified desire to win.
So even though freshman year Evan did not foresee herself quitting DI athletics, senior year Evan is immensely grateful to be a part of the CMS community. Sco Nas!!!
Evan Murphy | Women's Lacrosse
Claremont McKenna - 2018