The Two Lives of Kristina Modica: Division III Student Athlete

 

The Student

Kristina Modica is a twenty year old junior studying Communications Disorders at Emerson College. She currently carries a 3.89 GPA and has made Dean’s List every semester she has been an undergrad. On top of 16 hours of class and another 10 hours of studying and homework per week, she dedicates most early mornings to the non-profit organization, Jumpstart, where she volunteers at elementary schools to help children in lower income communities get more one on one time during the school day. She tries to put as much time into her studies and community outreach as possible to prepare herself to become a Speech Pathologist either at a school with children or to work with adults who have suffered from traumatic brain injuries.

Kristina comes from a New York family of hard workers. She is following in her older sister’s footsteps, who went to a state school for her undergrad and had amazing grades and a variety of extracurricular commitments. Kristina is inspired by her sister’s continuous work ethic who upon graduation, immediately got a job as a music teacher and simultaneously began her masters program at the Teachers College at Columbia University. She just graduated her program after taking classes while working and spending one month each summer in New York City taking classes. “From a professional standpoint, she has had three years to change and strengthen the program at her school. Her commitment and pure love of what she does is so evident to me and I hope one day that I can replicate that in my work. I sometimes help her at events and concerts and her kids adore her and look up to her. They often write her notes of gratitude and tell her how much they love music because of her. I think being able to have a positive impact on people even on such a small scale is so important and is why I chose to go into a helping profession.”

Kristina has been running around Boston for three years now and dedicated all of her energy into everything she is given to do, but this is only one part of Kristina. Between Carmel Mocha Coffees at Dunkin Doughnuts, Kristina is more than just your average college student. Between the blocks on her google calendar for class, community service, studying and sleep, there are hours each day dedicated to her life as a full time athlete.

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The Athlete

Kristina Modica is a twenty year old junior goalie representing Emerson College’s Women’s Lacrosse team. She completed her sophomore season with 9 starts, 71 saves and a 2nd team all- conference title. On top of 12 hours of lacrosse practice, 4 hours of lifting and 2 to 4 games per week, Kristina dedicates what free time she has to work in the fitness center for work study money. She tries to put as much time and energy into her fitness and athleticism to support and keep up with her always improving team. She has been named co-captain this season, and always puts her team and her academics first. As a sophomore with a senior goalie starting, she put every extra effort she could into her fitness and skill and was able to get herself to become starting goalie by the end of the 2016 season. “Earning Second-Team All NEWMAC as a sophomore was something that I never thought of.” She is one of the goalies to look out for in the coming lacrosse season as Springfield’s 1st- Team All NEWMAC has graduated.

Although Kristina still has two years left at Emerson, she already plans for graduate school and is able to keep in check academically and athletically by planning well ahead into the future. “ I would love to coach and teach young kids how to play lacrosse. I think the beginning years are the most important in setting the foundation for the love of the sport, and are when I fell in love with playing.” She has goals and she want to get them done. She knows she wants Emerson for grad school, she knows she want lacrosse in her life post grad, where she wants to work and who she wants to work with. She also knows the capability her team has this year in the NEWMAC Tournament. “My biggest goal is for our team to win NEWMACs. I know this is a hefty goal but I truly believe that we have the talent and commitment to get there.”

The Lions just completed their Fall Ball season losing 9-6 against Bridgewater State while missing two returning starters and welcoming seven new faces to the team. “I saw a lot of good things and a lot of not so good things that can be easily fixed with time and dedication in the coming months.” Kristina is the perfect example of commitment between athletics and academics. If she ha a huge assignment coming up that she need to work on, she might skip a day at the gym, or not stay as long and if we have a big game coming up, she might spend some more time watching film and put off some homework for another day. “Lacrosse has been a part of my life since fourth grade and I can’t even begin to imagine what I would do without it.” Her busy lifestyle keeps her moving fast with a straight schedule so that she can be productive being a full time student and a full time Division III Athlete.

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Division III

When Kristina was asked to give her definition of ‘Division III Athlete,’ she responded with, “I think it’s all about the balance. We are student first and strive for academic excellence in the classroom, while on the field we are athletes playing a highly competitive level of lacrosse.” The NCAA says that sports at the division three level Division III athletics provides a well-rounded collegiate experience that involves a balance of rigorous academics, competitive athletics, and the opportunity to pursue the multitude of other co-curricular and extra-curricular opportunities offered on Division III campuses. Division III playing season and eligibility standards minimize conflicts between athletics and academics, allowing student-athletes to focus on their academic programs and the achievement of a degree. Division III offers an intense and competitive athletics environment for student-athletes who play for the love of the game, without the obligation of an athletics scholarship.”

Kristina dedicated 45-55 hours a week to academics and athletics. Like all Division III student athletes, she depends on grants, scholarship and financial to bring the the always increase college tuition. The division minimizes the conflicts between athletics and academics and keeps student-athletes on a path to graduation through shorter practice and playing seasons, the number of contests, no redshirting and regional competition that reduces time away from academic studies. Student-athletes are integrated on campus and treated like all other members of the general student-body, keeping them focused on being a student first. In a study at Ohio State University, they found that Division III student athletes possessed the most mental toughness out of the three divisions of college athletics because of the physical and mental rigor that they have become used at the college level. Of course there are gives and takes between each division of sports. DI and DII get academic scholarships, but thy normally have a larger fan base and in return the teams make more money and sporting events. DIII athletes tend to graduate with higher GPAs and less debilitating injuries per athletics program. Kristina is only one of thousands of student athletes dedicating all of her time to academic and athletics because she is driven to do what she loves and to be the best she can be at it.

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Citations:

Beauchemin, James. “College Student-Athlete Wellness: An Integrative A Outreach Model.” College Student Journal 48.2 (2014): 268-280.PsycINFO. Web. 24 Oct. 2016.

http://www.ncaa.org/aboutwhat-we-do/academics?division=d3

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