Written by Sarah Bergstrom, USC blog contributor
USC athletes are more than just champions on the field, court, diamond, and pool, they're champions in the classroom as well. Each week, we will get to know one of these scholarly Trojans a little better in our student-athlete spotlight.
Name: Christine Irvin
Sport: Women's Sand Volleyball
Major: Environmental Studies
Sarah Bergstrom (SB): Eight of your relatives have gone to USC, and you have a lot of successful athletes in your family tree, why did you choose to come here?
Christine Irvin (CI): I always wanted a school with a lot of school spirit, and it's also so nice to be close to home. USC is near my family and near the beach, which is especially important with my sport. A lot of schools haven't started a beach volleyball program yet. When I heard USC did, it seemed like the perfect opportunity. It was one of my top choices already as a college and then also had the sport I wanted to play.
SB: Your sister played sand volleyball last year at USC, did she pass on any wisdom in helping you transition to college and playing a collegiate sport?
CI: I've grown up knowing the commitment of playing a college sport because my dad, my brother, and sister all played. So I'm used to hearing about their busy and hectic schedules. They've all taught me the importance of time management. They are all really passionate about the sport and they've helped me a lot in becoming a college volleyball player.
SB: The transition from high school to college can be difficult for a non-student-athlete, how has your transition been as an athlete?
CI: It's definitely been hard at points just because everything is so busy. But it's also been really enjoyable, having the support of my team and having something to do. I think I would be bored if I wasn't playing volleyball. It can be a lot to juggle but it's definitely worth it.
SB: What do you think is the most important skill in managing volleyball and school?
CI: Positivity and time management. Sometimes when you get frustrated or tired you may not want to go to class, or you may get annoyed at practice. I've found if you're positive about everything it makes it so much easier to manage the business of both.
SB: Where do you want your environmental studies major to take you?
CI: I'm open to a lot of things but I'm not sure yet. I'm really interested in marine biology. I'd also like to work for a company like National Geographic or in the field of ecotourism. Those are all things I would love to do someday.
SB: What has been your favorite part about being a Trojan so far?
CI: I've made great friends through both volleyball and school in general. There's a lot of unity at this school, along with a lot of school spirit, and it's fun to be a part of this big community.
SB: Do you feel like you've had a mix of a "normal" freshman experience as well as an athletic one?
CI: My schedule has definitely been different from a lot of freshman but I have a lot of non-athlete friends from living in the dorm and being in class. I'm also a member of Delta Gamma, so being a part of a sorority has given me that social aspect of college. It's been great to have that friend group in addition to my team.
SB: The Merle Norman Stadium was dedicated this weekend. How nice is it for your team to have a facility on campus?
CI: It is so nice. Not only is it convenient because I live right across the street, but it also saves us two hours every day. I think it's also bringing more attention to our sport. For a semester hardly anyone knew we had a beach volleyball team but now that the stadium is there, people see it, want to know about it, and even want to play there. It's helping get the word out about us. I hope we have a lot of fans, especially when the weather is sunny. It's so convenient and easy for people to come out and watch.
SB: You have a pretty remarkable version of a literal Trojan Family, what does being a part of the Trojan Family mean to you?
CI: Support. You could go up to anyone here and know that they care about you. There is so much support within this community, whether it be in a sorority, on the court, or in a classroom. Everyone is trying to help each other and support each other like a family.
SB: How have you enjoyed being a part of this team? What is the chemistry like?
CI: We have a really good team. Everyone gets along really well and that's important. Since it's team sport however, its the chemistry within the pairs that is more important. We all get along as a unit but it's how two players work together that really matters. I think our team has that paired chemistry. I think it's going to be a successful season.