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Educate Through Sports: Jessie Willey
As a Presidental Fellow and student-athlete, Jessie Willey has learned the ins and outs of successfully balancing classes, field hockey, and extracurriculars. By being routine oriented and having a strong work ethic, the biology major and chemistry minor quickly made her mark at Washington College.
“I like to take the first two weeks of the semester to plan the best time to do homework, team lifts, tutoring sessions and study tables, and some free time with my team too,” she said. “Being involved in a lot of different things on campus helps me not focus too much on one thing. Balance is so important in life and I love that I am able to integrate that into my college experience.”
This attitude earned Willey the “Phi Beta Kappa First-Year Award for Excellence” after her excellence with her studies. “For such a society to recognize my hard work throughout my first year at Washington College is a very rewarding and almost surreal experience,” Willey reflected.
Willey’s formula to success includes a mix of focus, hard work, and goal-setting techniques. By setting a few goals for herself in all areas of life, she feels that she has been able to achieve her academic goals while being an impactful teammate. “Motivation, focus, and confidence are the biggest keys for me,” she said.
Along with her positive traits, she has learned the value of using available resources from the college and her team to help guide her through each semester.
“There are so many resources on this campus to assist students in reaching their potential, from the incredible professors and dedicated coaches to all the support staff and student workers,” she said. “The community at Washington College is designed for success and I think I really just took advantage of that. I developed relationships with all my professors that helped me unlock that next level of interest and success in my classes.”
When Willey isn’t practicing, lifting weights, studying, or hanging out with friends, she is helping her fellow students. Since last year, she has served as a Peer Tutor in the Office of Academic Skills where she leads one-on-one sessions as well as group study sessions. In her job, she is able to surround herself with other students looking to achieve their own personal goals, an environment she has embraced.
“It is incredible to know I’m in an environment surrounded by the best and brightest students and some of the most hardworking and resilient athletes,” she said. “There are so many incredible students here.”
The field hockey team has made Willey’s experience something special.
“Being on the field hockey team here is everything to me,” she said. “To be surrounded every day, all day by such an incredible group of girls is one of the coolest experiences I have ever had and a decision I am so glad I made.”
Her teammates work hard to not only make themselves better, but help others around them. “We are so focused on the success of the girl next to us, instead of the success of ourselves,” she said.
Head Coach Annie Kietzman has coached Willey for one full season and is amazed by the impact she has had on everyone around her.
“Jessie is a very hard worker that holds herself to a high standard both on the field and in the classroom,” Kietzman said. “She is an excellent teammate and is always willing to step up when we need someone and to try new things at practice. She is very focused and committed to her own development but also incredibly supportive of her teammates and the team’s goals.”
During breaks, Willey has worked on the cardiac recovery unit at Peninsula Regional Medical Center, where has learned the value of hands-on experience. With her early opportunity, she has been able to pinpoint things she liked and didn’t as she looks towards her future.
She isn’t positive what she wants to do yet, but knows she wants to incorporate her problem-solving ability while being able to help others. Pharmacy school has been in consideration, but for now Willey is focused on enjoying the experience at Washington College.
“Washington College has provided me with a top-notch experience in two of the most important aspects of my life,” she said.