College Athletes Talk About Year 1


Locals, Tristan Moon and Ally Pilgrim, have recently finished their first year at the ACAC level.

Tristan Moon played his first year of college volleyball at Grande Prairie Regional College while Ally Pilgrim played her first year of college basketball at Lakeland College.

They will both be returning to their teams in the next upcoming ACAC seasons!



Tristan’s first year began with a transition from high school to college, academically and athletically. There was a lot to be learned in his first year of college. He says, “My first year of college taught me how important balance and time management is. Trying to balance school, volleyball, and my own personal life is not very easy at all, so using my free time for important things like schoolwork or other things is important because there’s not a lot of it for a college student athlete.”

The transition from being a high school student athlete to a college student athlete is a huge jump. That being said, it is a great experience. Tristan tells us about the difficulty of the transition from high school to college, while being a student athlete still.

            “The transition is definitely not easy in any aspect. Classes are much more important and you have a lot less time to complete assignments and other things. You are always quickly progressing in the course as a college semester is much shorter than a high school semester, and the classes are generally more difficult as you need to use proper formatting and need to be very in depth with your work. College sports are a whole different world than high school. Highschool sports teams can rely on talent alone to win games, where as in college, teams can not win on talent alone. The team that shows up with the bigger desire to win and willingness to work hard will win 90% of the time. Teams are never guaranteed wins and usually never come easy. Every player on a team has a role in college, where as in high school some players may not see court or feel they have an impact. Bench players can always make an impact by coming into games in certain situations, or just hyping up the team in hopes of getting the win”

-Tristan Moon


Tristan said he very much enjoyed his first year and will be continuing onto his second year as a GPRC Wolf. He says, “I really enjoyed my first year, I had a great group of teammates which ultimately made my first year of college a lot of fun. We spent a lot of our free time together having fun and or just chilling out.” College athletes spend most of their time together and they begin to become a family which makes college that much more fun!

After asking Tristan if he had any advice for a future college athlete, he says:

“Cherish your free time and use it wisely. There isn’t always a lot of time when you aren’t doing team related activities or school related work, so make your free time count. Spend time with friends or family, go on a road trip if there’s time, or just relax and spend time to yourself!”

-Tristan Moon


   Although the first year away from home can be hard, Ally says she has learned many things from it.

            “My first year of being a student athlete mainly taught me how to time manage better and how to be on a budget. This new situation has shown me how there isn’t time to slack. At all times, I must work my hardest, whether it is for class, practice, a game, or homework. I had to learn how to manage my labs, my workouts, my practices, my classes, my homework and even my meal-prepping. It also showed me that when you have time for a nap, you take a nap.”

-Ally Pilgrim

Being away from home also meant that Ally would be moving away from her friends and family. This being said she states, “I don’t know where I would have been without my basketball family at Lakeland. It was awesome because as soon as I got there, I already had a huge group of friends who I now consider family!” College is a great opportunity for people to meet others from all over the world as well. Ally states, “I am so grateful for the opportunity to meet so many amazing people. Our school has people from Canada to Australia to Honduras and more! Without this college experience, I would never have met some of my closest friends!”

Ally explains that her transition from high school to college was harder than she thought. She says that you are forced to become independent and are forced to time manage which may be hard for some. Ally thought the hardest part of being a student athlete would be the higher level of sport. “It is not as easy as it was in high school. School is a lot harder and so is the basketball. Everyone has a role to play on the team and if you’re not fulfilling it, you’re not playing. It is definitely a challenge but once you get settled in and get comfortable it is the most exciting and fun game that you’ll play! It took me a while to get comfortable but I know my role on the team and am very comfortable playing!” Although her first year has been completed, Ally will continue learning and playing at Lakeland College. Her advice is as follows.

“My advice would be to never give up. Moving out on your own is especially hard but it does get better and it gives you lessons, memories, and experiences that you will never forget. Another piece of advice I have for someone who is wanting to be a student athlete in college, is never slow down. Get your homework and studying done in advance and work hard all the time in practice. College is different from high school. In college, you must fight for play time on the court and sometimes that won’t be enough yet but if you keep pushing, it will be.  So never give up and never slow down. And always use your time wisely!”

-Ally Pilgrim

These two will now continue their journey as college athletes in this coming 2017-2018 Alberta College Athletic Conference (ACAC) season and we wish them the best.

Picture credits to Carolyn Goetjen-Pilgrim.

Share this post