If there’s one word to describe Shalyn Pryor, it’s speedy. Both on the soccer field and off, Pryor wastes no time in pursuing what she wants, and college was no exception. By the end of Pryor’s first visit to Jackson State University in August, she was already committed for soccer, but her hustle didn’t end there. In December 2021, Pryor graduated from ETHS and began preparing for her first semester at Jackson State University in January.
“Me coming early [when the soccer team] has the spring season, where you just train and then you have some friendly games, [has] helped me specifically because managing [Division I] and college level academics was definitely going to be a struggle for me,” Pryor explains. “I’ve always kind of struggled academically—my strong suit is my sport, not my school—so coming [to college] now when we’re not traveling every week … [has helped me] get used to the workload a lot easier while also getting the training down and getting used to playing at this level.”
Pryor shares that she struggled to adjust to college life initially, but after about a month, she felt much more acclimated, and soccer played a large role in helping her feel connected to the campus.
“I haven’t had to go through the process of making new friends since I moved to Evanston in fifth grade. It was such a realization [that] I don’t know everyone. Having the team, they’re like built-in friends, so having that helped a lot.”
Since the time she was four, soccer has served as a vehicle for Pryor to establish meaningful friendships.
“Some of my closest friends are teammates that I’m not even teammates with anymore,” Pryor shares.
Although she has already experienced a taste of her life at college, Pryor will return to Evanston for the formal high school graduation ceremony where she will get to walk the stage with everyone else and commemorate her high school experience, and of course, you can’t forget about prom.
“Having to leave [the people you grew up with] early is kind of sad,” Pryor notes. “So that’s why I’m really excited that I’m still going to prom and graduation, so I can still have a last hurrah.”