Feature Friday: Lauren Dickson
Hello and welcome to the first installment of Feature Friday! This week, the spotlight is on Lauren Dickson. Lauren was a very successful volleyball player and student at the University of Virginia during her undergraduate years, and then competed one more year at the University of Texas while she earned a Masters degree in Professional Accounting. While at UVA, Lauren received All ACC Freshman team honors in 2006, and was an All-ACC Academic team selection in 2006, 2008 and 2009. Here's what Lauren has to say about her experiences!
GamePlan: If you could sum up your college athletic experience in one word, what would it be?
GamePlan: What is a lesson you learned while playing college athletics?
Lauren: How to manage my time efficiently.
GamePlan: What is your favorite memory from playing college sports?
Lauren: The relationships with my teammates.
GamePlan: What is one of the hardest moments you had to get through while playing college sports?
Lauren: Getting injured my 2nd year. It affected me physically, mentally, and emotionally, and was much more impactful than I could have imagined.
GamePlan: What is one of the hardest moments you had to get through while going through the recruiting process?
Lauren: I struggled with having to make a decision that early. It's a lot of information being thrown at you -- trying to differentiate one school from the next and knowing which was the best for me was hard for me. I had narrowed it down to 2 schools and felt like I was 50/50. I still remember my dad giving me a great piece of advice when I just couldn't decide.... "There is no right or wrong decision...choose one and go make it the right decision."
GamePlan: What advice do you have for student-athletes who are trying to play at the collegiate level?
Lauren: Playing collegiately is an amazing opportunity, but it is a huge investment of your time and energy. It feels like a job (and it is in a sense!), but it's important to find the joy in it all: the friendships you make, the competition, the gift of coaching/training, the balance with school and a social life. It's all worth the sacrifice if you love what you do.
GamePlan: What are you up to now?
Lauren: I live in my hometown of Austin, TX and work as a financial analyst at a tech company here. I still spend a lot of time playing volleyball (beach now) and love the people I've met through that! I had the opportunity to live in Mallorca, Spain last year with my boyfriend and loved getting to travel, learn a new language, experience a different culture, and meet new people. I wouldn't trade the experience for the world, but am also grateful to be back home and close to family.
GamePlan: What role did athletics play in helping you get to where you are now?
Lauren: I can't imagine what my life would look like had I never played volleyball, it's ingrained in who I am! It taught me how to be a teammate, the value of hard work, how to overcome challenges, and how to let go of my perfectionism. Even today, it gives me balance and community at a time when it's easy to hyper-focus on work.
Big thanks to Lauren for sharing her experiences! Tune in next week for another highlighted former college athlete.