How I Chose SIU
By: Shelby Hodo
My Concept/Prototype of college-
My concept of college has always been slightly different than anyone else's. I knew it had to be a division I school but I've always expected multiple practices everyday, countless games, and lots of studying anywhere I chose. My concept of being a division I softball player in college helped me narrow down my choices because I knew it had to be somewhere with a winning team and a great coaching staff. I chose Southern Illinois University because it matched how I imagined my school to be in every way.
Trial and Error:
On my path to choosing the right school, I met lots of coaches and saw tons of campuses that didn't feel like the best fit for me. I went on visits to places like Wichita State University and Arizona state but through trial and error I realized SIU was for me. Being on other campuses makes you realize which ones are wrong for you and you'll know when you've found your dream school.
When I narrowed down my list to 2-3 schools, I made a list of what I was looking for and weighed pros and cons for each school. I looked at who would give me more scholarship money, which had a better program, and what majors they offered. When I made this algorithm of laying everything out step by step, it made it easy to see what schools were lacking things I was looking for.
My heuristic was the amount of scholarship money I would get once I narrowed it down to a few schools. My strategy would be to pick where gave me the best money. When I was told the scholarship amount I would receive at SIU, it made it easy and quick because I knew my solution right away.
When the right decision came apparent to me, I was still on my visit and I was eating lunch with the coaches. It all clicked and they made me feel like I had found my home away from home. I didn't have to worry about getting looks from coaches or wonder where I would end up because the answer became clear that SIU was my school.
When I verbally committed to SIU, I looked for the stand out things to confirm that I really wanted to go there like the beautiful campus and great coaches but I ignored the fact that it's cold there and it's far from home so it wouldn't alter the decision I had made.
When I've had to solve tough problems before, I look at the pros and cons to determine which ones outweigh the other. There were a few cons but it wasn't anything I couldn't deal with. The problem was, I was fixed on only the pros. I looked past the cons like distance from home because I've never dealt with being 10 hours away from home so I couldn't see it from that perspective.
Overall, it didn't take very long for my intuition to kick in before I knew SIU was where I wanted to attend. I loved it there and I knew very quickly that it was a good fit for me. I didn't have to spend countless hours discussing it with my parents or have to worry about if I made the right decision because I followed my gut feeling and it made the decision quick and effortless.
My representative heuristic was everybody I've known that has gone to play collegiate softball has loved it, so I naturally have thought I would too. SIU matched my prototype of my dream school almost perfectly with the great coaches and atmosphere because I was used to friends being most excited about those things so they became important to me to look for. The downfall was, once SIU matched my prototype I ignored the negatives and didn't take any other school into consideration because it matched the closest.
Division I softball is always promoted by the super teams with amazing players and famous coaches but the work isn't always shown. I have always seen playing in college as this glorious achievement but I haven't been shown what goes into being a great program yet because I haven't experienced it. Teams like Florida and Oregon get all of the glory so I began to picture SIU being similar to that even if the grueling practices and losses aren't glorified like a winning program is.
My judgement in choosing a school was sometimes overconfident because I didn't look at anywhere but Divison I schools because I'm confident thats where my skill level is at, but theres a possibility that I was wrong and I won't be able to handle the handwork that comes with being a student athlete in college. Ive always been confident that I will be able to play Divison I softball but I won't know if that judgement will be correct until I get there.
When I realized my dream was to play at a Division I school, I asked friends who have played how it was but only listened to the ones who said it was amazing and ignored the ones who had a bad experience because I wanted it to be like I had originally pictured it to be and not consider how I would feel if it was completely opposite of what I imagined it to be.
Some of the compensations I had to make were the distance it was from home and the possibility of dealing with really bad weather. Originally, I wanted to be anywhere from 3-5 hours from home and go somewhere in the south so it would be in a familiar place but Southern Illinois ended up having too many great things so I decided to deal with the distance and potentially bad winters. It has everything I could've ever asked for in a college so a few compensations wont do any harm.