Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be a student-athlete? This week, we talked to UNL sophomore Husker volleyball middle-blocker Bekka Allick. Bekka shares her experiences as a D1 athlete and gives advice to those aspiring to be in her shoes one day.
What advice would you give to aspiring athletes?
Learn to do the hard things and enjoy them. The basics and fundamentals are often overlooked because they feel tedious, but it’s what will make you a better athlete.
Don’t be afraid to take risks and step outside your comfort zone.
What was the recruiting process like?
Everyone’s recruiting process is different. My mom would record videos of me at scrimmages and games and then upload them to Hudle so we could send them to coaches.
One thing I learned was to make sure you’re writing individualized messages to each coach. Don’t just copy and paste and replace the name and school because they can tell. Make sure they know that you are genuinely interested in their program.
Be loud! Volleyball is a loud sport, so it’s hard to get noticed if you’re a quieter person. Your skills must speak for themselves. Put yourself out there.
How has being an athlete affected your college experience?
It’s taught me to appreciate my free time for sure. Volleyball has been my whole life throughout high school, so college has given me the opportunity to explore some of my other hobbies and interests.
As a college athlete, it feels like our sport is our job, especially for those who are on scholarship. It’s important to manage your time well so you can keep your grades up as well as pursue other things that make you happy.
What were some other factors you considered when choosing UNL over other schools?
A lot of my friends from middle and high school are all here so even with as big of a school as it is, I feel like I’ve run into everyone I’ve ever known here. I really like the community, it’s great to meet new people and have new experiences but also have that sense of familiarity.
Husker fans go hard for their athletes, which is something not a lot of other schools have. I am also very intense, so I admire that about our fans.
What does a typical week look like in your life?
A typical week for me looks like the same day on repeat. My day starts with a morning lift in the rec center, then I go to my tutor who helps me with the class I have later that day which is super helpful. After class, I’ll usually eat something. I eat every 4 hours because that’s what we do on game days. I used to eat whenever it was convenient, but I really like how this plan is working for me. After that, I’ll relax by either taking a nap, watching YouTube or Netflix, or meditating. I’ll start getting ready for practice about an hour before by listening to some music and doing some prehab workouts. Once you get into college athletics, you’ll learn how much your body really is connected, so it’s important to take care of it. After practice, I’ll go home and have some dinner, then pretty much just do homework and go to bed.
How is your schoolwork affected by your busy schedule?
Some weeks are harder than others. The hours go by so fast leading up to an exam that it feels like there’s never enough time. It can get overwhelming very quickly, so putting yourself in a space where you can get your stuff done and staying organized is key.
I do everything in my power to not miss class. Even though my professors all go out of the book, they throw things in a lecture that end up on the test that you need to be there for. It’s inevitable to miss class due to travel sometimes, but I do my best to attend every class.
What does the preparation for games look like for you?
The biggest thing for me is putting my phone away. I’ll listen to my music on my phone, but I’ll put it on “do not disturb.” It’s so important to be present an hour or two before the game, it can give you leverage and peace of mind. Playing for Husker Nation is already exhilarating enough, I want to be as present and focused as possible.
We do a lot of meditation before practice as well. We’ve started incorporating mindfulness into our routines which is so great. We are always working on our bodies and skills, but we also need to work on our minds and mental state.
What is your favorite and least favorite thing about being a college athlete?
My favorite thing is food! I’m such a foodie. We have access to a training table in the athletic cafeteria where we are provided with many options. We are so spoiled; everything is catered so specifically to our needs. In general, the community is great. Everyone knows the struggles of being an athlete, so no one blames you for canceling plans or wanting alone time because you need to get your mind right for a game or your body hurts.
The thing I like least would probably be the lack of free time. I wish I had more time to explore my hobbies and interests outside of Volleyball.
Do you feel pressure to do well from classmates and the community?
It’s a mixture of both external and internal pressure. On days when I have less drive due to just being tired or stressed from school, I find motivation and push from the community. The outside voices can be helpful when you channel them right.
What is your vision after college?
The biggest thing I want to do after college is to work as a contractor or own a carpentry business. I love the idea of flipping houses, especially in communities where they might need help to afford a remodel.
By Sydney Burdick