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When she was 12 years old, Danielle Smith had one goal—to play college softball.
Several years and many games later, Smith has accomplished her goal, as she is a member of the Transylvania College softball team.
"It's funny how your perspective on things change. When I was little, I could not wait to grow up and play in the "big times," but now what I would not give to be back on my pony league team again," said Smith, a daughter of Rodney and Bamba Smith, of Sherman.
After a successful career at Grant County High School, Smith chose Transylvania College and despite several interesting moments, it has been a great experience, she said.
Those interesting moments include investing in a lanyard after she thought she lost her room key, and adapting to college.
"My freshman year was much more difficult than my sophomore year. Even though you take introductory classes your freshman year, those classes are meant to weed out prospective majors," she said.
One of the biggest adjustments was how much different a college class schedule is from high school.
"The work load from high school to college is drastically different. I would study about an hour a night during high school for all my classes, then when I got here, I would have to study three to four hours for one class. It was a definitely a huge difference," Smith said.
Another adjustment was living away from home for the first time.
"I only live 45 minutes away, and I went home every weekend. It was and is nice to get a good meal in before another long week begins. I did my miss my family throughout the week. It is funny how it's the little things that make you sad, although I got to know the girls on my hall well and wouldn't have traded the experience for anything," Smith said.
One area that did not feature any major adjustments was softball.
Smith, a sophomore, currently has a .167 batting average and has played in 21 games as a catcher. Smith said the experience of playing at the next level has been "humbling"
"When I come home and go to my sister's games, people ask me how school is, but also how softball is and they use me as an example for their children by saying, "If you work hard, you could play ball in college like Danielle." It's humbling also to be someone's role-model. For a little 9-year-old to come up to me while I am umpiring and ask me what I position I play and if I like playing ball in college, I think it gives them hope to know that if I can, they can play at the next level, too," Smith said.
Another difference was the transition from high school softball to college softball.
"The biggest difference is the time. In high school, you practiced weekdays for one to two hours. In college, you practice three to four hours a practice, with one to two hours of individual hitting, lifting, conditioning, fielding individually. These aren't all at one time, but scattered throughout the day," Smith said.