Multitasking, skipping sleep, sacrificing your social life, making sure you’re at the top of your game at all times: Sounds like the life of a doctor or nurse, right?
Maybe so, but it’s also an apt description of the life of a typical UC student-athlete—including many who have health-related majors or attend classes on the medical campus. And with fall sports coming at the start of the school year, life can get especially hectic.
"It was hard to get used to, but I think I’ve got it down pretty much now,” says Julie Guenther, a senior in the College of Nursing who has played three seasons for the volleyball team. "You can’t always be like the regular college student and go out whenever you want. There are some nights when you have to stay in and just be disciplined.”
The rosters for UC’s fall sports, including football, volleyball, soccer and cross-country, are sprinkled with players who list such health-related majors as nursing, physical therapy, health promotion and education and pre-pharmacy. And while passion for sports is a given in the case of student-athletes, passion for their field of study can be just as strong.
"It goes back to high school for me,” says Sam Klosterman, a junior on the men’s soccer team and a biomedical sciences major in the College of Allied Health Sciences. "I got a pretty bad tendon strain in a game and started going to physical therapy. The woman I worked with was great and filled me in on what she did, and from that moment I really wanted to do that.
"Also, at the same time I had been working with an organization in my hometown (Belleville, Ill.) that has camps for mentally challenged children. And seeing those kids, some of them in wheelchairs, I thought that maybe I could go into some area with rehabilitation for the challenged.
"It all came together, and I haven’t turned back since.”
As a senior in the College of Nursing, Guenther has been through several clinical rotations and particularly enjoyed pediatrics at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and the medical surgical unit at UC Health University Hospital. (She also had an unintended encounter with orthopedics when she tore her Achilles tendon during a preseason fitness test; she’ll sit this season out and decide on her athletic future later.)
One of Guenther’s teammates, incoming freshman Tara Lines, is a pre-pharmacy student and faces a fall quarter schedule that includes such classes as biology and anatomy and physiology. If all goes according to plan, she’ll begin the four-year PharmD curriculum at the James L. Winkle College of Pharmacy in two years.
"I really like chemistry, and I have a cousin who’s a pharmacist, so I think it will be really good for me,” she says.
Collegiate sports, of course, represent a major time commitment— practices and games can typically total about 20 hours a week—but Guenther and Klosterman note that they are given every chance to succeed in the classroom as well as in athletic competition. Both made the 2009-10 Big East All-Academic Teamin their respective sports.)
"We have study tables that are open six days a week pretty much all day long until 9 at night,” says Klosterman. "We were required to do at least eight hours a week my freshman year, and that really kept me focused on school.”
"We’re allowed to schedule classes early and work around our practice time,” notes Guenther, who has experienced numerous 12-hour (and more) days as a nursing student with clinical rotations starting at 6:30 a.m. and practice from 3 to 6 p.m.
And sure, games can be loud—but so can college life in general. "I’m living in a dorm with three other girls,” says Lines. "At least if it gets loud, I can go to the library.”