Feature Friday: Elisa Scudder
Hello and welcome back to Feature Friday! This week, I'm eager to highlight Elisa Scudder, former volleyball standout at Dartmouth College. I had the pleasure of coaching Elisa for 2 years at Dartmouth, and can attest that she is a fantastic human. Elisa was a highly decorated player during her time at Dartmouth, earning the Coaches' Award in 2010, Team MVP in 2013 and 2014., and was voted a captain in 2013 as well. She continues to hold the records for most blocks in a career, single game, and single season. Finally, Elisa was voted Academic All-Ivy in 2012, and was a First Team All-Ivy selection in 2013. Elisa majored in Political Science and Government, and was a member of Kappa Delta Epsilon Sorority as well. She is currently attending the Tuck School of Business working towards her MBA. Here's what she has to say about her college athletic experiences!
GamePlan: If you could sum up your college athletic experience in one word, what would it be? Elisa: Transformative
GamePlan: What is a lesson you learned while playing college athletics?
Elisa: While there are so many factors (in sports, and life) that you cannot control, you can always control you mindset and mental toughness. If you can master those, you can get through almost anything.
GamePlan: What is one of the hardest moments you had to get through while playing college sports, and how did you get through it?
Elisa: After my junior season, I was dealing with pretty serious chronic injuries and big personnel change on the team. Despite only having one season left, I felt like quitting. I really struggled to remember why I was playing, why I was sacrificing so much to be an athlete. During our spring season, I spent a lot of time reflecting about the impact volleyball, Dartmouth, and my teammates had on my life. I took the time to remember why I loved playing this sport and what I wanted to give back to my team. Refocusing on the larger picture of the program and building relationships made my senior season more incredible than I could have imagined. I really leaned on my teammates to help keep me committed and remind me daily why our team was so special, which they did in spades.
GamePlan: What is one of the hardest moments you had to get through while going through the recruiting process?
Elisa: My biggest struggle during recruiting was balancing picking the right school over the easy school. It's easy to get caught up in wanting a full ride, or going to a competitive sports program, especially when you're 16 or 17. It's harder to focus in on what is really important - the education you are going to get and where that will that take you in 10, 15, 20 years. Balancing advice from coaches, who tend to lean towards pushing competitive athletic programs, can be difficult.
GamePlan: What is your favorite memory from playing college sports?
Elisa: My absolute favorite memory was my sophomore season, our season ending game. The team that year was particularly close, from the seniors to the freshman, and it was a very emotional senior night. Yale had already won the Ivy Title the night before, but we still had the opportunity to play them Saturday. The game went to five sets, with Dartmouth winning 15-13. Not only was it an incredible athletic game, but it was really a meaningful way to leave a very close team.
GamePlan: I remember this match well :)
GamePlan: What advice do you have for student-athletes who are trying to play at the collegiate level?
Elisa: Find the school you would attend even if you couldn't play a sport there. You never know what is going to happen in four years, but if you focus on finding a place that fits you and what you want, you'll always be happy there.
GamePlan: Again, preach!
GamePlan: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything? If so, what would you do differently?
Elisa: I would not change anything. I believe any regrets I have over my time at Dartmouth and as an athlete were part of the growing up process, and would have occurred in any setting.
GamePlan: What are you up to now?
Elisa: I am currently getting an MBA at The Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth. Prior to Tuck I was working at Wayfair in Boston in logistics and new market expansions. At Tuck I'm doing just about anything offered - from playing hockey and learning to golf to volunteering consulting hours to local businesses. Most exciting, I'm getting to travel a ton. I've been to Croatia, Cuba and Columbia!
GamePlan: What role did athletics play in helping you get to where you are now?
Elisa: Athletics instilled in me a sense of discipline and resilience. Especially in college, you learn quickly to push yourself through difficult tasks and how to bounce back from a bad game/match/practice, etc. Knowing how to keep a calm head and grind out work to get something done was so crucial during my grad school application process. Beyond that, the teamwork and leadership skills athletics taught me have been invaluable in a professional setting.
Another amazing perspective from a former college athlete. For those of you looking to pursue being a college athlete, take this insight to heart! it is incredibly important to find a school that you will be happy at if sports are no longer part of the equation. Just as Elisa mentioned, it's also imperative you think about the value your education can bring you for your future. What are your long-term goals? Think about that when you're looking at schools! Thank you, Elisa- tune in next time!