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York College soccer captain hopes to join new team after graduation

Headshot of Jo Nicholson

Joliet “Jo” MacColl Nicholson ’20 admits that she’s always been a bit of a perfectionist. In the fall of her sophomore year, the pressure she put on herself to perform finally boiled over.

She was a member of the York College of Pennsylvania women’s soccer team, but struggled to earn playing time. She endured a difficult relationship. Burnt out and frustrated, she called her mom at two in the morning to vent about everything that was happening.

After listening for some time, her mother told her to enjoy the moment and not to take things too seriously. Most importantly, she said, find things that bring you joy.

“Throughout my life, I’ve always had amazing women—my mother, my sisters, professors at school—in my life who gave me beautiful words of inspiration when I needed it most,” Jo says. “I knew I was going through a hard time. I had to rebuild myself and rethink what I needed to do.”

'What kept me grounded’

As long as she can remember, music played an integral part in Jo’s life. She performed in choir and theatre groups and relished the chance to be in the spotlight. It served as more than a hobby; it became an outlet for when times grew tough.

When she started at York College, she put her love of music aside to focus on her Sociology degree and soccer. After the phone call with her mother, she knew she needed to revive her passion for music.

“It was something I needed to do because I missed it so much,” Jo says. “It’s what kept me grounded.”

In spring 2018, Jo joined York College’s production of The Addams Family as a stagehand. Even though her presence wasn’t on stage, she thrived on the opportunity to be part of the team.

“Everyone from the professors to the crew were so welcoming to me,” Jo says. “These people love their craft, and there’s a thrill when you can watch the moving parts flow together so well.”

Building a better future

In the years since her difficult sophomore semester, things have turned around for Jo.

Her grades improved and she rediscovered her passion for music. She sang the national anthem at several sporting events, and her renewed love of music led her to pursue a minor in Music Industry.

Jo saw her playing time on the soccer field increase. Unexpectedly, she says, she became a soccer captain in her senior year.

Through her time at York College, she’s seen the value of being a part of a team, both on and off the pitch. She wants to use that team experience after graduation.

Jo has begun pursuing community development internships in the York area with the goal of performing empathy interviews and focus groups—getting at the root of people’s issues.

“I want to be part of a team that can help people and keep humanity growing in the right direction,” she says. “With the right culture and cohesion, a good team can come together on an amazing project to help society thrive.”

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