She's Not Kidding

Nina Kidd Playing Soccer.JPG

Nina Kidd doesn't kid around.

"In 8th grade, I sent myself to boarding school," she said.

Kidd doesn't know where she got the idea from, maybe the then-popular Nikelodeon show Zooey 101. She picked out a school online, proposed the idea to her parents, and they agreed. The next year, she moved herself from Baltimore to Claremont, California and began a new life.

Kidd started playing competitive soccer when she was 7 years old. By the time she was in high school, soccer took up all of her free-time and some of her studying time.

"I would be playing for three teams at once," Kidd said. "I would have the school team, and I was also playing for the high school team, and then I was playing for a club team and also a premier team."

The school limited time off-campus to six hours per week, but between the three different teams -- each with a two and a half hour practice, games and some form of commute -- Kidd certainly wasn't abiding by that rule. She couldn't have a car on campus, so she had to ask friends to drive her.

Toward the end of high school, girls on the team began competing for recruitment for college teams. Nina was recruited by Sewanee, where her older sister attends. When she went to visit, it wasn't what she expected.

"I met the coach and everything, and I was like 'Oh crap, I don't want to go there," Kidd remembered.

It wasn't just that she didn't like the school's location (atop a mountain in Tennessee, far from city life), Kidd realized that she was burnt out from playing soccer. She didn't love the game enough to justify the busy schedule and pressure of success.

"I wanted to go to college without having to deal with all of that," she said.

 After high school, she stopped playing the sport she'd been consumed with since childhood. She doesn't miss it; she knows what kind of life she wants.

Now a sophomore, Kidd is glad she chose a campus in the middle of the city -- she didn't want to be in a bubble like she was before. She's always been extremely independent, the way her parents raised her: she's bought her own flights tickets since she was fourteen or fifteen. SMU fits her self-reliant spirit.

"When I came to visit, I was like, 'Ah, this is the one'," she said.

She's not kidding.