I am a Mathematics major with Hispanic Studies and Coaching minors from Woodinville, WA. I chose PLU for a multitude of reasons. Both of my parents came here, as did my older sister, so I was wary to follow in everybody else’s footsteps. However, when I came on my visit, I was not “Rachel’s sister”; everyone treated me as an individual and I knew that I could make PLU my own experience. I met with faculty during my visit and they were very engaging and interested in me and what I wanted to do with my future. The softball coach, Erin Van Nostrand, had me come out and watch practice and get to know the program. All of these people investing themselves in my future, before I even became a student, really let me know that PLU was a place where I could be challenged to grow as a person, but supported by a great community and experience college success.
As a college student-athlete, I have learned so many skills that I will take with me in the future. First and foremost are time management skills. There is not a lot of downtime between class, workouts, practice, homework, jobs, and hanging out with friends, but through planning ahead and staying on top of your schedule it all fits in with a few moments to spare. I have also learned about hard work and dedication paying off. Making changes is not always comfortable, but as a freshman, I bought into the softball program and worked hard to become a First Team All-American my junior year. I have also learned the importance of communication. From the expectations on the field, to making sure that everything that needs to happen gets done, open and clear communication is a necessity. Aside from all of the life lessons that I will take with me, the best part about being a student-athlete is the camaraderie with my teammates and coaches. More than teammates, the other players on the softball team are my best friends. Through practice, conditioning, and team bonding we come together as one and that makes us better both on and off the field. The coaches obviously want to make us better softball players, but they also are dedicated to making us the best people that we can be in the world upon graduation.
In the classroom, I have enjoyed a wide variety of classes, typical of a liberal arts education. The professors are all passionate about their subjects and because of that, students become passionate as well. The math department has a diverse faculty, unified by each professor’s passion for math. Whether a student is struggling with the material, wants to further explore at topic, or just stops by to say hi, the professors have open doors to be of whatever assistance possible. I have enjoyed professors challenging me in the classroom to do more with the material and make the most of my time here at PLU. The Hispanic studies department covers a range of topics, countries, and time periods, giving students the opportunity to get the best knowledge of the language, culture, and history possible. The Movement Studies department has a coaching minor with a curriculum that covers everything needed to be a coach with classes like Nutrition, Applied Training and Conditioning, Sport Psychology and even a practicum (going out and coaching). Professors are experts who have not only teach and know the material, but also lived it through their own experiences coaching. Students come away knowing the most current information about being a coach, prepared to go out into the field of coaching, with on-the-job experience.