Carleton College's Kathryn Schmidt (Sr./Minnetonka, Minn./Hopkins) was one of this week's highlighted student-athletes in the MIAC Student-Athlete Spotlight. Here is what the Knights' tennis star had to say during her time in the spotlight.
Why did you choose to be a Division III student-athlete?
I knew from the outset of my college search that I wanted a good balance between tennis and academics, with academics coming in first priority and tennis a close second. Even though I had the opportunity to go Division I, I wanted the more intimate and well-rounded liberal arts experience with more emphasis on the individual students and their academic and life pursuits. Division III has offered that great sense of balance between rigorous coursework, a tennis program centered on the goals of the team, and incredible support for your college experience to be what you make of it.
What do you like most about competing in the MIAC?
I think our conference does a good job of emphasizing what college athletics should be about: the drive to compete and competing in an upstanding way.
What has been the greatest part of your collegiate athletic career thus far?
I get excited whenever I see little sparks in my team, from visible improvement in an area of their game or a skill they have been working on to the ways we all bond and support each other. We have made great strides as a team during my college career. While it would be great to have the opportunity to compete with my team in nationals, that would just be icing on the cake and what is most important is how we compete along the way.
What is the greatest lesson you have learned from being a student-athlete? I have to constantly remind myself of the importance of balance because there are so many incredible opportunities in college to get involved in different academic spheres, organizations, volunteer projects, etc. I really enjoy being busy and that helps me manage my time well, but academics and tennis come first and I want to perform every role I do take on well.
How do you hope your combined academic and athletic college experience will help you as you pursue future endeavors?
I have learned so much within a wide range of interests, from social sciences to team chemistry, and from facing the challenges of foreign languages to the adversity of a stroke not working perfectly on match day. It takes a lot of focus and determination to crank out a 25-page research paper, just as it does to pull out a 4-hour long tennis match. And it also takes love and strength to try to be a positive force on your campus, on your team, and whatever environment you find yourself in after college.