Here is VolleyballRecruits.net's Part 3 of Get to Know a College Program! Periodically, we are going to share with you interviews with college vballers, who are here to tell you how they chose their program and what it's like to be a part of their college team.
Our third player is Jackie Nissen, a member of the University of Michigan volleyball team. She chatted with us about what it's like to be a Wolverine and the path that took her there. Nissen was a top recruit of the 2007 recruiting class. Unfortunately, she had a collegiate career plagued with injuries and suffered a career ending injury. Due to her commitment to the team, she finished out her collegiate experience as a student assistant for the team. Here's what she had to say!
On the Recruiting Process
In what ways did you make yourself accessible to coaches?
The main way I made myself accessible to coaches was by filling out questionnaires and calling them as I became interested. I know when recruiting really started up for me was when I got business cards at Nationals and I contacted those coaches as soon as I got the chance. It was a great way to get to know the personality of the program and to schedule a visit.
When did you go on campus visits? And what other schools did you visit?
I went on a few visits during my sophomore year of high school and a lot during the summer between sophomore and junior year of high school. I pretty much stuck to visiting Big 10 schools and then took a trip out to a school out east and down south. I was pretty confident I wanted to play in the Big 10, though.
What separated your school from the rest of your top choices?
I wanted to go to the place that I could play the highest level of volleyball while getting a high quality education. Something else that was really important to me was going to a school where athletics were a big part of the school’s tradition. That is what I loved about Michigan… no matter which sporting event it was, it was always a really fun and competitive atmosphere. I also ideally didn’t want to go too far from home so that my parents could make it to as many matches as possible.
On Being a Student-Athlete
What were some things that you discovered about your school once you began attending that you think it would be important for recruits to know?
Something that is great about Michigan’s campus is that it is not too spread out, especially for athletes. The freshmen athletes are put in the dorms that are a short walk away from the Diag (where many of the classes are) and about 3 blocks away from the gym. It was really nice having the dorms in a convenient place.
What kind of academic resources are available to student-athletes?
We have a wonderful Athletic Center where the majority of student-athletes study. The top floor is mainly private study rooms for when you really need to have quiet time and study hard. The middle floor is where the academic advisors’ offices are and a nice open area with a fireplace where you can study alone, with a group, or just catch up with friends. The basement is a big computer lab where you can get a lot of work done as well. It is right on the athletic campus so it is very convenient.
What was your travel schedule like?
Michigan is very fortunate when it comes to travel. We practice every day of the week and then leave on Thursday after practice and scouting when we are traveling that weekend. We always do a dinner order and eat it on the bus on the way to the airport. The airport is about 20 minutes away and we travel by charter flight to almost every Big 10 match (other than Michigan State and Ohio State since they are close), and by commercial flights for all the non-conference matches. When we get to the hotel on Thursday night we go to sleep, have breakfast in the morning, and practice. Generally our practices are focused on getting loose and getting used to the gym. We generally have a pregame meal after practice and then all our focus is on the game. After the games we hop back on the plane and fly to wherever the match is the following day. That following day is generally the same routine as the day with the addition of scouting. After the game we go home that night so that we have the full Sunday to recover for the week.
Describe your living options.
All freshmen live in the dorms for one year. You are paired with another female athlete from another team. I honestly am so glad that they do it that way because it really helps you make friends from other teams. After freshmen year you are allowed to live off campus with whoever you want and where ever you want! Ann Arbor has a ton of options and it is really fun having your own place to decorate and make it “home.”
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