Working in a lab is no easy job (all-consuming in fact), but our extraordinary research assistants prove to us every year that, with passion, you can manage to be an exceptional scientist as well as an incredible dancer, photographer, musician or soccer player.
I met with Lizzie George, a 4th-year psychology major, who is a member of Northeastern Women’s Soccer Team as well as a CORE Lab research assistant. I wanted to get a grasp on how she keeps a balance on two very important sides of her life. Here is the interview:
What are the demands and challenges you face in your busy schedule?
“One huge struggle is time management. I have practices every single day for two hours, adding the travel time it makes it three hours in total per day. Having classes, homework, soccer practice, and preparing for the GRE it can get pretty difficult to do everything. I had to realize how to work around it.”
Do you have to make any sacrifices to be both a soccer player and researcher?
“The main thing that I can think of is that I wanted to add a sociology minor to my degree but soccer practices wouldn’t allow me. Our practices are from 2pm to 4pm so we have to take morning classes, and two of the required classes are only offered in the afternoon, so I cannot fulfill it. So yeah, not all classes are offered in the morning.”
How do you deal with time management?
“My priority is school first no matter what. My team knows it, and my coach knows it. If we need tutoring sessions, we are allowed to miss practice to go get tutoring or a meeting with a professor. It is definitely hard to balance playing on the soccer field and being present in the moment but also knowing ‘I have three assignments due tomorrow,’ or ‘I have to do four readings by Monday!’ That can get challenging sometimes, but I have learned to do this. I’ve played soccer since I was five years old, and even in high school it was still competitive.
“One thing that helps is that I live with soccer players, and we live on the same schedule. We all do practice at the same time, and we also do our homework at the same time. I am very organized. An important thing is taking advantage of 15 minutes when you have a break. So if I have a 15-minute break, I will use it to do homework. Also, being proactive: downloading all the readings beforehand so that you can read on the bus or on the plane. It is those little details that keep me organized.
“Another thing is not getting overwhelmed, just relaxing and saying ‘it’s going to be ok.’ Also, working with your professors is important. Dr. Coley is a perfect example. I work with him by telling him ‘this is how much time I can work in the lab with one credit,’ and he has been very supportive. However, I always know that I have to get my work done. I’ll stay up late if I have to.”