Matt Fayers talks us through the first week i campus

What to expect in your first week as a student-athlete


Oklahoma State has a developed somewhat of a conveyor belt of British talent over recent years. Matthew Fayers is currently entering his Junior year there and has taken time out to help trackboundUSA peek behind the curtain of what life is really like when you first hit campus. Our recollections of the months leading up to this event are now a little hazy. For us (John & Steven), it’s now 7 years since, so here’s Matthew’s better recollection of arguably the most exciting week of your time in the US.


What to expect the first week in the States?

So you’ve packed your bags and are ready to fly out to the USA to compete in the NCAA. The first week can be very daunting as everything will be new to you. Here is what you can expect in your first week in the States!

When you arrive at your university the first task will probably be moving in. If you are a freshmen you will likely be in dorms. Some universities have sections just for runners. Your dorm can range from having your own room and en suite bathroom, to sharing a room with another person. If you are not an incoming freshmen then you are likely have sorted out accommodation in an apartment/house, many of which are off campus. The dorms are pretty bare, so you will need to buy items such as hangers, bedding, and toiletries. This will require a trip to Walmart, which has everything you will need from food to electronics. After you have got everything you need and have moved in, it is a great time to meet your other teammates, if you have not met them already.

The next step will require you to enrol. This will involve many trips to the international student office. You will need all your documentation to show to the staff. If you are not the only international student athlete incoming, then I would recommend going as a group. After going through the documentation process you will go and get your student I.D and have your picture taken. Following this you actually enrol and meet with your advisor. Here you will chose your classes for the upcoming term.


Typical dorm room


OSU Campus

On the athletic side you will have to have a medical examination. This involves you meeting with your athletic trainer and team doctor. Medical examinations also involve an eyesight test, concussion test and getting blood work done. Sometimes you will get a precautionary x-ray if you have a serious injury or history of injuries. To get your blood work done you will go to the health centre and will have to register with the centre.  Regulations prevent you taking part in practice until you have been officially cleared medically.


‘Nike Christmas’ – Other brands are available

Aside from all the clearance stuff you will have a team meeting. This gives you an opportunity to get to know the coaches and your teammates. The coaches will likely recap the past season and outline the objectives for the upcoming season. Then it is everyone’s favourite part, collecting the kit for the season. This is definitely one of the highlights of the first week and is referred to as ‘Nike Christmas’ at my university. Usually after we receive our new gear we have a team dinner which is another opportunity to meet and interact with the team.

If you are running cross country then you get to have your first workout with the team. At OSU, this is usually a steady four mile tempo, with the aim being to finish all together. Coaches will accommodate current fitness so do not worry about the first workout.


Early Season Tempo

Finally another of the highlights of the first week, is camp. During camp you will run and bond with your teammates. It is a great way to get to know your teammates as you are with them 24/7 for 3-5 days. Activities aside from running at camp include other sports, like basketball, volleyball and table tennis.  Other activities can include Skeet Shooting and outdoor activities along with any games you or your teammates decide on. At our camp we play a lot of cards. Camp is definitely the best way to get to know your teammates quickly.

Editor’s note: Camps usually take place in-state, in a rural retreat with availability of grass surfaces, trails and no distractions. This will be the coach’s first impression of you, both as an athlete and a student. Take it easy, stick with the group and don’t grandstand on your first week.



After all this, the season will soon begin, as will classes and you’ll be wondering how the time went by so quick!

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