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Pitt Freshmen Student-Athletes attend Life Skills Program, `Life in a Fishbowl'




Sept. 27, 2013

PITTSBURGH-- The Cathy & John Pelusi Family Life Skills Program hosted ‘Life in a Fishbowl’ Monday night at the Petersen Events Center.

“Our ‘Life in a Fishbowl’ event is one of our freshmen transition programs to help talk about what it’s like to adjust to life as a freshmen student-athlete. We talk about what they’re feeling, what they’re excited or nervous about and what some of the misconceptions are about college that they now know aren’t true,” said Life Skills Coordinator and host of the event, Kelly O’Hara. “As a student-athlete, their life is little bit different in college because everyone is looking at them; it’s like they’re the sole fish in a fishbowl. This event helps better prepare them to avoid hard decisions and to let them know that Life Skills exists just for the purpose of supporting them throughout their next four years and beyond.”

 During the presentation, the student-athletes were engaged by texting in answers to various questions about what it’s like to be a freshman and then having their answers pop up on the screen. “We used social media to allow them to text in their answers anonymously, that way we knew some of them would be more honest and forthcoming,” O’Hara commented.

Following the presentation, the freshmen split into smaller groups where they met and were led by an upperclassmen Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) member who was there to answer any questions or ease any fears they might have had regarding being a freshmen student-athlete.

“I thought that the strongest part of the program was when we talked to the older athletes. They had good advice to offer and I trust them because they have lived it and still are currently,” Cross-country student-athlete Ariel Pastore-Sebring said. Women’s basketball student-athlete Chelsea Welch echoed those statements by adding, “I really enjoyed ‘Life in a Fishbowl!’ It was great talking to someone that has been in my shoes about being a student athlete. I also enjoyed meeting new people in the athletic program.”

The small group discussion also gave the SAAC athletes a chance to help out their fellow Panthers. “The event really allowed older student-athletes such as myself an opportunity to help the freshmen learn from my experiences when I came into college. It gave them a better idea of what to expect in the coming years and how to succeed in both school and sports,” explained Jocelyn Lu, senior tennis student-athlete.

The mission of the Cathy & John Pelusi Family Life Skills Program is to develop and prepare student-athletes for success while in college and for life after college, utilizing academic, athletic and community resources.