Jess Schaben

Jess balances college volleyball with academics

Jess’ college career started when she received a volleyball scholarship for Iowa State University. Since the age of five, Jess loved the sport and knew she wanted to play for a Division 1 team someday. However, when she got to school, she quickly learned there was a big difference between playing for fun, and playing for college.

“It’s a lot more competitive,” she said. “It’s more of a job than extra-curricular. I still love it, but it is a full time commitment.”

Jess and her fellow teammates allocate four hours every day to their volleyball commitment. They spend this time not only practicing, but also doing physical therapy (Jess for her shoulder, which had a torn labrum) and watching the upcoming opposing team play to learn their particular style.

It’s a lot of work, and Jess said balancing her school work with at first proved difficult, but with the help of the upperclassmen on the team and her then fellow freshman, she got through her first year of elementary education.

“Freshman year it was hard to come back from practice and get homework done,” she said. “So we found a quiet place to do it. We have no time during the day. Now, as a sophomore, my class load is harder, but it’s easier to balance since I know what to expect.”

Although Jess wants to play pro following graduation, she also knows her time spent on the Cyclone Volleyball team also helps her plan for her future teaching career.

“I’ve gained a lot of leadership skills as well as learning about being a team member,” she said. “As a teacher I’m going to work with a team so this [volleyball] has helped me learn my role.”

Jess doesn’t know that she’ll play pro, but she wants to give it a shot depending on how her body holds up.

“I plan to play all four years, but we’ll see how my body holds up,” she said. “As of now, I want to try and go pro, but we’ll see what happens in three years.”