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The Finish Line: Anna Ptasinski

May 15, 2018

"I came to Lafayette as Joey's little sister. I am leaving here as a confident individual prepared with a strong foundation. I know I did the right things to set me up for success in the future."

By Anna Ptasinski '18, Lafayette Women's Basketball

 The Finish Line

  The Finish Line, a special section of The Real Deal, is a series of first-person stories written by recently graduated student-athletes, reflecting on their Lafayette experience.

While this series may be called “The Finish Line,” and marks the end of my basketball career at Lafayette, it really feels like the starting line.

I am about to embark on a new journey, and a foundation built through athletics will help me on that path. My experiences have made an impression that will provide me with valuable lessons for the years to come.

Though Kirby will not feel quite like home as it has for the last four years, Lafayette will forever be a part of me.

At the start of move-in day my freshman year, my mom gifted me the popular book, Oh, The Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss. It brought tears to my eyes as I was set to embark on an unfamiliar journey called college.

As I read the story now, I realize that, although it’s viewed as a children’s book, it is much more relevant to the real world than I ever could have expected. It talks about the trials and tribulations we will all face, even when we do not always want them. It talks about the successes and joys we will achieve. Most of all, it talks about the journey of life.

Something that sticks out to me is that the first word of Seuss’ tale is “Congratulations,” which seems very fitting for all of us student-athletes at Lafayette. A lot of hard work has allowed us to be here. It is an honor to have the opportunity to study at a high-level institution and compete in Division I athletics while becoming a part of the loving Lafayette community.

However, just being at Lafayette was not enough.

Part of being an athlete is to compete and to thrive, not just survive.

As I reflect back, I realize I came to Lafayette as Joey’s little sister. I was shy and wide-eyed as I walked about campus somewhat timid.

I am leaving here as a confident individual that is prepared with a strong foundation. I know I did the right things to set me up for success in the future.

I would not be the person I am without the overwhelming support I have received. Lafayette and the entire community has helped shape me.

I have made it a goal to show gratitude in daily life, so I would like to thank all the people that have been a part of my Lafayette career.

From the facilities operations staff members that wave and say hello as I walk around on campus to the amazing Biology professors who have fueled my passion to learn, I have encountered countless people who have helped brighten my days. I have made friends that are incredibly inspiring from ages 6 to 86.


For more first-person accounts from Lafayette student-athletes, check out the Finish Line stories in The Real Deal.

For full coverage of this weekend's graduation ceremonies, visit the Commencement home page.

One of my favorite quotes comes from Mia Hamm.

“Somewhere behind the athlete you've become and the hours of practice and the coaches who have pushed you is a little girl who fell in love with the game and never looked for her.”

I have this saying on my wall, and I often look at it. I remember the days I was a little girl and longed to be a college basketball player. I looked up to my role models, including my big brother Joey and tried to emulate them.

Watching young girls love basketball and play with their whole hearts helps ignite my own love of the game – one that I do not think will ever go away even when things seemed tough.

Adversity is an inherent part of being an athlete.

The challenges and obstacles are part of what makes playing the game great. Many of my hardships could never be expected.

I never hoped to have multiple orthopedic surgeons during my career nor did I expect having three head coaches and having to make those transitions. Though the lessons I learned were not ones that were always easy, I am better for it.

Through my own experiences as a patient, I have learned empathy that I can show my own patients one day, as I plan on pursuing medicine and surgery.

As I prepare for my next journey, I often get asked why I played basketball or what I learned from my experiences.

Basketball and my four years at Lafayette have taught me an incredible amount, but I think at the end of the day, it boils down to five things:

1. Never settle
2. Be a leader
3. Make an impact
4. Be resilient
5. Enjoy the process.

Though I am proud of what I have accomplished on the court, in the classroom and in the multitude of extracurriculars I am involved in, I always want to improve. Hard work never stops, and I can always push myself to be that much better than I was the day before.

Moreover, I want to be a leader in all aspects of life. I will no longer be a leader on the court, but rather, I will have to lead my life in an exemplary way with high character. I have learned that sometimes sacrifice is necessary, but it is important to be honest with myself to be most effective.

I hope I leave Lafayette slightly better than how I found it. Whether it is picking up trash after practice or being part of the legacy of the Class of 2018, I hope to have brought some positivity to the Lafayette community.

I have watched the power of resiliency in myself and am proud of what I have accomplished regardless of the difficulties. I now know that scar tissue is stronger than normal tissue, both literally and figuratively.

Most importantly, I learned to enjoy the process and to make the most of my opportunity. I am happy that I poured my heart into Lafayette athletics.

Overall, I think I have accomplished plenty. I am proud to have worn Lafayette over my heart on my jersey. I never could have imagined how formative my athletic career has been. I know I am a better person who is ready to go out in the world because of my Lafayette basketball experience, and for that, I am truly grateful.

As I get set to move out this week, I look at that Dr. Seuss book that my mom gave to me at the start of this experience.

It brought tears to me then and it does again now as I aim to embark on an unfamiliar journey called life.