Student athletes live a unique and often overlooked life at Pomona College. Forced to balance homework and playtime, their ability to excel is impressive and worth recognizing. Anika Burrell PO ’13 is currently in her fourth season with the Pomona-Pitzer women’s soccer team as a starting outside defender. Burrell is a Chemistry major who excels in the classroom as well as on the soccer field. Before coming to Pomona, Burrell attended Central Catholic High School in Portland, Oregon, where she graduated as valedictorian of her class.
I recently got the opportunity to sit down with Anika to ask her some questions about life, soccer and her time at Pomona.
TSL: What is the hardest part about being a senior athlete at Pomona College?
Anika Burrell: I think the most challenging part of being a student-athlete is balancing everything. Particularly sleep. On nights before games, sleep is more important than homework, so I have to leave a lot of things not done so that I will be able to have a good game. Before this year, I really had no idea how difficult specifically being a senior at Pomona is. I wake up every morning to go to lab, then class, lunch, then lab again, practice, dinner, lab, homework, repeat.
TSL: When did you start playing soccer? How did it impact your growing up?
AB: I started playing soccer when I was five and it had a huge impact on growing up. I ended up commuting an hour or more from Washington State to go to high school in Portland, OR.
TSL: Why did you choose to play soccer at Pomona?
AB: When I decided to attend Pomona, I knew I had to play soccer. It wasn’t really a question. Why wouldn’t I continue to play the game I love for four more years? It was one of the best decisions I have ever made. My teammates are some of my best friends.
TSL: What are your plans post-graduation?
AB: After graduation I plan to move back home and work at a bakery in Portland, OR for the summer, then move to Santiago, Chile and open a bakery for two years. Depending on how things work out, I will then apply to graduate school for biochemistry.
TSL: Why a bakery? What is it that you like about baking?
AB: I absolutely love baking desserts. I used to sit on the kitchen counter while my dad made cookies and ‘helped’ him by test tasting the batter. No, I love it because it is such an easy way to make people happy. Plus, it is an excuse to stop worrying about school and tests and how you played in the last game and what you are going to do with your life and just relax.
TSL: Anything else the student body might like to know about you?
AB: Well, Wednesday is my favorite day of the week, because that is the day when I get to go into battle on the field with my teammates before spending a magical hour at PUB letting go of the stress of being a student at Pomona.