by Kyawt Thiri Nyunt
Athletics are important components of the college experience. In the United States, college sports are a very popular type of entertainment that many people enjoy. But what is it like to be a college athlete? Three student-athletes from Dominican University of California agreed to discuss their experiences.
Student-athlete Amanda Lee is a sophomore occupational therapy major from Daly City, near San Francisco. She started playing volleyball when she was 5th grade. At first she wasn’t allowed by her parents to play on a club team because of other extracurricular activities, such as Chinese lessons and Karate. However, they eventually relented and she started to play on a club team during 6th grade. Since then she never stopped and has played on the DU volleyball team since 2013. Despite her busy schedule with volleyball, she is pursuing her dream to help people as an occupational therapist. Since occupational therapy is a very intense, 5-year program, Lee says it is quite challenging to balance it all.
During game seasons, she has practice every single day starting at 6am in addition to travelling for the games and attending training sessions. Lee attributes the training she received during high school to help her manage her time well and find balance between academics and athletics. "It is important to not stress too much, relax and have some alone time," Lee said. Lee also likes to take art classes as to relax. Although Lee loves volleyball, she says that she doesn’t want to pursue Volleyball professionally after college. Instead, she is focused on a career as an occupational therapist.
Alexander Herrera, a sophomore communications major with a psychology minor, is working towards a different dream than Lee. Herrera is from Redwood City, south of San Francisco where he grew up with a father who loves soccer. As a result, Herrera was constantly exposed to the sport and now plays an active role on Dominican's soccer team as a defender. This summer, Herrera's athletics career sparked when he won the Norcal State Cup and Regional Academy League for U17 boys with Juventus 94 Premier. Herrera also works part-time for DU’s Athletics and Recreational Sports department. Although he is always busy with academics, athletics, and work, Herrera likes to pursue other hobbies such as filmmaking and editing. Time management is also the key to success for Herrera. With a very strong passion for soccer, Herrera wants to become a professional soccer player. "Being a college athlete ensures me that I'm one step closer to achieving my ultimate goal. Statistically, my chances are slim but that’s not going to stop me," says Herrera.
Like Herrera and Lee, Jessy Marshall, a junior Business major and Leadership minor from San Jose also agrees that balance is very important to succeed as a student athlete. "It was really hard finding a balance. I knew I wanted to be a student athlete but student obviously had to come first," Marshall said. Coming to Dominican has helped Marshall find a balance to become both a good student and a good athlete. Apart from being a student-athlete, Marshall is a social media director of Institute of Leadership Studies (ILS), social media director of Penguin Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (PSAAC), and a resident advisor who is admired by her residents. To maintain balance between all of her ambitions, Marshall schedules every single activity she has to do from school, work, and athletic schedule to hanging out with friends. Despite the differences in how they came to be college athletes, the universal feeling is that balance is key, both on the field and off.