Being a college athlete isn’t easy. The demands of workouts, practices and competitions can conflict with carrying a full load of classes. Trying to succeed in the classroom while playing two sports is even more difficult.
To recognize its student-athletes who excel in both areas, the National Junior College Athletic Association annually names an All-Academic Team. The 2018-19 honorees included Amanda Green, a recent graduate of Tompkins Cortland Community College and 2017 graduate of Lansing High School. It’s the second straight season she has been so honored.
“Year in and year out, NJCAA student-athletes continue to set a new standard both on the field and in the classroom,” NJCAA President and CEO Christopher Parker said in a press release announcing the 2018-19 honorees. “The 2018-19 academic year was no different as student-athletes raised the bar once again to reiterate the importance of academics throughout the NJCAA. As an association, we take tremendous pride in knowing that our student-athletes put their best foot forward each day to become well-rounded members of their team, their campus, and their communities.”
A photography major, Green graduated from TC3 with a GPA of 3.9. She also played two years on the volleyball and softball teams, serving as captain of the volleyball team in 2018. Taking on the dual challenges of sports and school in college was never a question for Green, who played volleyball and softball for Lansing from middle school on, in addition to competing in indoor track and field as a senior.
“I didn’t know anything different,” she said. “I always played sports, so it seemed natural to keep doing so in college.”
While she enjoys discussing her athletic career, Green gets especially excited when talking about her academic endeavors at TC3.
“It was so much different than what I expected,” she said. “I studied with Harry Littell for all four semesters, and he pushed us hard, but
I enjoyed every moment. … We started with 35 millimeter film, which I had never experienced before, and it was so exciting to see the difference in using film versus digital.”
Green studied digital photography and twin-lens reflex cameras, which she thoroughly enjoyed, she said. It harkens back to a love of photography that started when she was in her early teens.
“I got tired of the camera in my iPhone and I bugged my parents until they got me a basic pop-up camera,” she said. “I loved using that, and everything grew from there.”
Green has even started her own photography business while also working full-time in a medical office.
“I wasn’t into continuing with school, and I wanted to stay home to help my parents, who are sick, instead of going off somewhere else,” she said. “I’m starting off through word of mouth with some of my friends and old co-workers at LakeWatch Inn in Lansing. My specialty is portraits and event photography, like weddings, maternity pictures and senior pictures. My favorite thing is capturing big moments in people’s lives so they can look back on them later.”
The move into the working world means that Green’s competitive athletic career has come to an end. As volleyball players finish their preparations for the upcoming fall season, Green is noticing its absence.
“I’m already feeling sad about not playing anymore,” she said. “I’ve been playing for eight years, or even more, so it will be kind of bittersweet this fall. I’ve always seen myself as a student-athlete so it will be a big adjustment.”
Two years ago, Green was adjusting to making the jump from high school to college athletics. After going to school with basically the same group of people since kindergarten, she was going to a school with people from all over the state and facing opponents from all over the country.
“At Lansing, I not only knew everybody in my school, but I knew most of the people on the teams we played,” Green says. “I knew how they played and their strategies because I had seen them so many times.”
But in college, she said, everyone was new, and everything was different.
“I felt like a small fish in a big pond,” she said. “It made me anxious at first, but I knew I just had to deal with it and keep going. Once I stopped thinking about it, it got easier to move on.”
Green said balancing the demands of academics and athletics wasn’t always easy, but it wasn’t complicated either.
“Any free time I had between classes or before or after practice, I would spend doing homework or studying,” she said. “Practice was a time to relieve some stress and then I would get back to doing school work. I did have some time off after volleyball, which was nice since that included finals. Then came the break for the holidays, so I never felt overwhelmed.”
What has been a little overwhelming, in a good way, has been the recognition Green has received while at TC3.
“I found out about this year’s all-academic award on Facebook, and I remember thinking, ‘This is crazy,’ especially since I was playing two sports,” she said. “For whatever reason, I didn’t get recognized as much in high school as I have at TC3. They’ve recognized me not only for my volleyball and softball, but also for academics.”
Green said she is thankful for everything that has led her to where she is today.
“I really enjoyed my time at TC3,” she continues. “I am proud to say I was able to play two sports and earn these academic honors, and I’m proud to say I did it as a Panther.”
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