Onika Angus

Did you feel prepared as both a student and an athlete when you got to school in the US?

No. There was a lot of "learning on the fly" when I first went to the United States. I did not have a lot of information on the SAT, ACT or other tests. One thing that can really make or break your experience is your coach and your program. My program was in flux, including some coaching changes, during my college career. This instability definitely impacted my experience, which was something that I hadn't even considered looking into.

What was a challenge that you encountered in your first year that set you up for later success? Do you have a favourite challenge that you overcame?

When I first entered college, some of my promised scholarship money and books were delayed. This challenge forced me to work harder and be very careful with my funds. It gave me an early understanding that being on scholarship is not easy and that you needed to be as self-sufficient as possible and have some backup funding in place just in case. As a result, I was able to get some work as a tutor on campus, which was very helpful to have on my resume when applying to professional school. I also learned to talk with my professor about the issue and work it through them, which was an invaluable skill.

Who is the coach that you quote the most (doesn’t have to be a coach that you played for)? What is an example of something they said that has stuck with you?: 

I've always been a fan of the Notre Dame sign, "Play like a Champion Today". Championships require you to give your best, every single day.

What’s one mistake you made during the recruitment process?

I definitely didn't do enough research and relied too heavily on what I was told by others. Coaches don't always have the most current and up to date information, especially in Canada where they are somewhat outside of the NCAA process. It's up to you to supplement and verify the information you receive to the best of your ability. Moreover, it's up to you as the student, or the family of the student, to ensure you understand all the potential costs and expenses associated with the NCAA recruitment and athletic career.

What did participating in collegiate athletics make you better at? What habits have stuck with you?

While it's still not my forte, participating in college athletics improved my time management skills; however, I think the most important skill that stuck with me was resiliency. Being a college athlete isn't easy. It tests you both mentally and physically and you have to learn to pick yourself up a lot. For me, like for many others, it was the first time that I was dealing with things not being as easy or coming as naturally as they had before. The growth and development that occur when facing really difficult challenges are invaluable.

What approaches helped you stay on top of athletics and academics with a demanding competition schedule? 

Forcing myself to stick with a study schedule was an important way to stay on top of academics with the demanding schedule. Also, recognizing the value of a good GPA to your athletic career is a good way to motivate yourself.