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Transformation Tuesday with Track & Field Senior Paige Lumley

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Final Paige Lumley Transformation Tuesday.jpg

How have you grown as an athlete during your time at Pitt?
Lumley: Pitt has not only helped me grow as a student, but also as an athlete during the past five years. Participating on the track team and representing both the Pitt block and script has really shaped me into the person I am today. My events, the heptathlon and triple jump, directly correlate to everyday life; totaling 8 events, I have learned to manage a lot going on at once. Competing in the heptathlon has taught me more about life than I ever thought possible! Between the long, physically, and mentally draining practices, I have discovered peace in the satisfaction of overcoming what I previously thought was impossible. At meets I get to go out there and let all the hard work pay off. If it wasn't for this crazy multi life with constant practice of my time management, I would not have been as successful in earning my Bachelors in Science in Civil and Environmental Engineering while participating in such a tough program. My role as an athlete here at the University of Pittsburgh has trickled into so many other areas of my life and without the structure, discipline, failures, or lessons learned, I would not be me.

What has been your biggest accomplishment?
Lumley: Pitt has granted me the opportunity to accomplish a lot in such a short amount of time. One of my biggest accomplishments involved taking on the role of President of our Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (S.A.A.C.) and all the experiences that came with it. Through S.A.A.C. I was able to attend a handful of ACC S.A.A.C. conference trips where I networked with other athletes and bounced a variety of ideas on how to shape the vision of how S.A.A.C. can help our athletes at Pitt. Thoughts of having an ESPYs-type event through the athletic department have lingered around for multiple years and I wanted to finally make it happen. With persistence and planning, the 2015-2016 S.A.A.C. was able to make that dream a reality. Last year marked the inaugural Panther Gala awards show and I'm beyond thrilled I have been able to leave such an impactful pawprint for years to come.

Favorite moment - a moment you'll never forget?
Lumley: Without a doubt, one of the coolest Pitt memories I will treasure forever was walking on Heinz Field with the rest of the 2015-2016 Homecoming court and taking in everything around me as I took home the title of 2015 Pitt Homecoming Queen. This would have never been possible without the help of my huge team and all their campaigning around campus. The experience prior to the crowning was amazing because I learned a lot about managing an election/ team and made some amazing memories and friends along the way.

Biggest surprise of your athletic career?
Lumley: Hearing my Achilles tendon snap was not on my agenda during my athletic career here at Pitt. At the end of my junior year with a few weeks left in our outdoor season, I took a tumble on the Ohio State's long jump runway after the loudest pop came from my body. I am a strong believer everything happens for a reason; that unfortunate surprise transformed into a 2-year growth period and opened many doors. I used my senior year redshirt as I rehabbed my way back to health and bettered my patience level in the process. I learned a lot about myself and a lot about others, too. Another surprise almost as big as the first was my determination to get back to the point where I can represent Pitt one last time out on the track, and in order to do that, I had to leave fear behind. It was very empowering to overcome such a huge obstacle and I will use the lessons learned for years to come.

Main goal heading into final season (or final year)?
Lumley: There are only a few weeks left in my final year of track and field. Talk about a mix of emotions! After overcoming such a huge injury and being granted the chance to compete for one last season, I have taken on every practice and meet with such a different mindset. My coaches have helped nurture me back physically and mentally; everything I do, I do with passion. As we are approaching championship season, I'm going to continue leaving everything on the track! When I actually realized such a huge part of my life is finally coming to an end, every single opportunity becomes a gift.

How have you managed to be a successful student and D1 athlete?
Lumley: In order to survive the D1 athlete lifestyle while still being the 'student part' of student-athlete, sacrifices have to be made. Most online "how-to balance your life" visuals show a triangle with headings: enough sleep, good grades, social life. In reality, as a D1 athlete, you need at least an octagon to split up and balance your time between all of the important areas... enough sleep, good grades, social life, proper nutrition, practice, lift, rehab/treatment, spirituality, relaxation, laundry, extracurriculars etc. The huge transition from high school to FR year of college had absolutely everything to do with this new and improved definition of the word balance. I can say with confidence that my time management skills are quite impressive and I will 100% use these acquired skills in my future careers.

Best advice you were given or any advice you must give to future student-athletes?
Lumley: Best advice I can give: get involved! College does not last forever... truth be told those 4-5 years fly by. Make sure you take advantage of everything Pitt has to offer both through athletics and not. You would be amazed how many activities the university has for "non-athlete students". Make friends outside of teams or from classes and truly let yourself enjoy these years where people discover who they are. By submersing yourself in communities around campus whether that be a church or art club, you are one step closer to becoming that well-rounded person Pitt is giving you the opportunity to be. Don't forget about the athletic department or your teammates though... some of my closest friends are from both the track team and other sports teams.

Has Pitt Life Skills played a role during your time here? Explain...
Lumley: Has Pitt Life Skills played a role during my time here... is that even a question?! I knew this extra factor was the one-up Pitt had on other universities I was considering. Ever since the Life in a Fishbowl program as a freshman, I was hooked on this development system. The dozens of programs I have attended over the years whether it was financial, self-defense, etiquette or leadership based, are main components of my growth as an individual. Pitt Life Skills has without a doubt done a fantastic job making us their priority and I can vouch that I am very well-rounded from all the exposure. The opportunities and open doors Life Skills has made possible is another reason why I have been impacted so positively. Networking with and through them have helped me tremendously and have even granted me the chance to do things such as present in front of the University of Pittsburgh's Board of Trustees. On a side note, I have formed amazing relationships with everyone in the office and I know I could turn to them for anything school, sport or outside related.

Favorite part about being a Pitt student-athlete?
Lumley: Being a Pitt student-athlete during these years of such change and transition has been quite the adventure. Through my S.A.A.C. membership (including involvement at ACC S.A.A.C. conference meetings), I've had a chance for my voice to be heard about different situations where us student-athletes could actually make a difference. Watching Pitt switch from block to script as part of the strategic planning initiative following our jump from the Big East conference to the ACC has been so, so neat. I love the amount of responsibility we are given as athletes here at Pitt and the respect as part of one of the power 5 conferences! Hail to Pitt!

Are you involved with any off-campus activities?
Lumley: As a graduated Civil and Environmental Engineer from my past 4 years in undergrad, I have eased up on the extra circular activities (such as ASCE, ESW, SWE) I had involved myself with since the start of grad school this past fall. I am currently working towards my MBA (Masters in Business Association) and have put a lot of focus into track for this last go-round of eligibility. S.A.A.C. was still an integral part of this past year and I'm so glad to have been part of it for all 5 years. I am also an active member in a small group through the church I attend and have loved going to AIA (Athletes in Action) bible study nights.

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