Four years ago, Cailin McCullion decided to make some changes.
McCullion switched her major and transferred to a new school. She also decided to return to the volleyball court.
After attending the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia and majoring in pharmacy her freshman year, McCullion transferred to Misericordia University and switched her major to physical therapy.
The switch also offered the Marian Catholic graduate an opportunity to get back on the volleyball court.
McCullion's changes not only set the pathway for a successful future, but it also allowed her to relive a past love.
"I knew Misericordia had a reputable physical therapy program, so I made the move and never looked back," McCullion said. "Meanwhile, I didn't play volleyball at USP, but that year off was all I needed to show me that I didn't want to be done playing yet.
"I have been playing volleyball year round from a young age, so by that point I was used to maintaining a balance between athletics and academics."
Prior to graduating over the weekend with a bachelor of science in health care management, McCullion balanced both the academics and athletics at MU with ease.
Not only did McCullion maintain an outstanding 3.98 Grade Point Average in the classroom, but she became one of Misericordia's all-time great volleyball players.
"When Cailin contacted me over the summer after finishing her freshman year at USP and told me she was transferring here, I did not know what to expect after her sitting out one season," said Misericordia coach Jen Yuhas said. "Luckily though, her skills and knowledge were not lost and she made a tremendous impact. From the first day that Cailin stepped onto the court, I could tell that she was going to leave a mark in Misericordia University history.
"Her volleyball skills and knowledge of the game were incredible. Even as a freshman, Cailin was taking charge on the court and helping her teammates in practice to improve their game. Cailin's athletic talent was showcased in her first game as a freshman and seen in every game played until her last game in her senior season during the MAC Semifinals."
McCullion's outstanding career brought a wealth of awards.
The Nesquehoning native was named to the CoSIDA Capital One Academic All-America team. A fourth-year student in Misericordia's physical therapy doctoral program, McCullion was selected to the Capital One Division III Third Team. She maintained a 3.98 GPA.
McCullion led Misericordia with 318 kills (3.00/game), which ranked fourth in the Freedom Conference, and digs with 331. She also was second on the team in hitting percentage (.267).
She leaves the program as Misericordia's all-time leader in kills (1,062) and became the first player in school history to reach 1,000 for her career. She also ranks first in career games played (395), third in career digs (1,273) and sixth in career hitting percentage (.258).
"It hasn't really hit me yet that I will no longer be stepping foot on the court with the rest of my teammates next year," McCullion said. "I've been playing volleyball year round since I was 10 years old, so this is going to be a huge adjustment. But, in terms of the First Team All-Conference and CoSIDA District 4 Academic All-District team selections, I am honored to achieve such recognition.
"I've dedicated a considerable amount of time and energy to the sport, and it is nice to be recognized in this manner. It was a great way to end my career."
The 2007 TIMES NEWS Girls' Volleyball Player of the Year said her individual awards and recognition were only possible because of the outstanding support she had around her..
"Looking back on my time as a Cougar, it's gratifying to know that I was able to contribute to the success we have had over the years," McCullion said. "I went into every game looking to help our team win and giving 110 percent in the process. When it comes down to it, though, it was a team effort you need a pass to get a set, and you need a set to get a kill.
"It is a bitter sweet ending to my collegiate career, that's for sure. I never really paid much attention to my own stats, so I was actually kind of surprised when I realized I could potentially reach 1,000 kills. My teammates were the ones who pointed it out to me and they were so supportive along the way."
While McCullion has no other choice but to put her days as a Cougar behind her, her coach believes no one will forget about her any time soon.
"Cailin has thought about her team so much over that past four years, that I am confident that the ladies returning next season will use what they learned from her and continue to the same style of play and work ethic," Yuhas said.