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Chelsie Smith is a senior exercise science major at Olivet College. She graduated from St. Johns High School in 2017 and has since then been spending her time getting involved in sports, clubs and honor societies at Olivet. The beautiful campus and the welcoming people were two of the biggest reasons why she chose Olivet.

Chelsie’s journey to college sports started with her club soccer coach.

“I did not originally plan to play soccer in college, but a coach within my soccer club at the time urged me to at least come visit the campus,” Chelsie said. “After visiting for the first time, it wasn’t long before I started the recruiting process, and I committed to the team. My mind completely changed when I was introduced to the opportunity to play at Olivet and I met the girls who would soon be my teammates. I couldn’t imagine not having soccer in my life. I’ve been a captain of the team since the end of my sophomore season. I’m very fortunate to be able to play in college, and I am lucky to have the strong, smart and inspiring women who I call my teammates.”

Chelsie has had many soccer adventures during her time at Olivet.

“During my first year, our soccer team made it to the MIAA final, which was really unexpected but also really awesome,” Chelsie said. “In order to get there, we had to play in a semifinal game against Adrian where we tied and went into a penalty kick shootout. I was in the lineup at about number six or seven, and as a first-year student, I was terrified that I would have to shoot. Luckily, we didn’t get that far, and we ended up winning the shootout before it got to me. We ended upgoing to the final against Hope. Although I never had to shoot, it was inspiring to see the girls before me step up for our team, and to see our goalkeeper put her all into keeping us in the shootout. I will never forget the feeling of pure adrenaline, and I know now after being on the team for three years that I would do the same for my teammates as the girls who stepped up in the past.”

Aside from soccer, Chelsie has also been involved in other clubs and honor societies. Chelsie served as president of Phi Epsilon Kappa (PEK), Olivet’s Health and Human Performance honor society, after joining as a sophomore.

“As a group, we participated in many events, such as the Fun Run Fundraiser at Fern Persons Elementary, the welcome center tent at Homecoming, PEK’s annual departmental picnic and more,” Chelsie said. “I was very lucky to get to work with a wonderful group of people, and I learned a lot about organizing events, coordinating schedules and leadership during my time as president of the club.”

She has also been a member of Alpha Pi Upsilon (APU), the medical honor society, since her sophomore year. She’s volunteered to sell ribbons for various disease awareness efforts and hopes to get more involved going forward.

In addition, Chelsie is a member of the Global Citizen Honors Program (GCHP).

“I joined this group right when I started attending Olivet College,” Chelsie said. “I actually went to a GCHP event during the summer before I started where we wrote essays in order to compete for scholarships. I have also taken several honors courses, which are modified to require more work or more extensive research in order to satisfy the honors requirement. I hope to graduate with honors next spring by completing the credits required for the honors program.”

She has found a great support system at Olivet to help her toward her goals.

“By far the biggest support I have received at Olivet is that of my professors, especially those from the Health and Human Performance (HHP) Department,” Leah said. “Their love for knowledge, for teaching and for their students is unmatched. They will engage you in conversation about what you’re studying, but they will also talk to you about you; what you have going on, how you’re doing and what your goals, hopes and dreams are. I am very thankful to have met the wonderful professors in our department, and I hope that every Olivet student has the pleasure of meeting and working with them. Without their influence, my education and experiences at Olivet College wouldn’t be the same.

My experience as a Comet has shaped me into the person I am today. I have had many leadership opportunities, which have allowed me to organize, initiate and create events, as well as to work alongside others who share passions similar to my own. At Olivet, I have been able to step out of my comfort zone and to progress as a person. I have also been able to help many others through volunteering, which I am very grateful for.”

Chelsie advises high school students to schedule college visits for every place on their radar. “Being on a school’s campus can help prospective students decide if the environment feels right, and  gathering information about all of his/her potential colleges can help him/her to compare and contrast them and to ultimately make their decision,” she said.

“I would encourage students to attend Olivet College because it has a unique environment. Being a small campus, you know pretty much everyone at the school, and they know you. This also means that your professors know you and that you’re not just a number in a lecture hall of 200+ students. The opportunity to build close relationships at Olivet allows many students to break out of their shells and to more easily transition from high school to college.”

Chelsie has been named to the All-Scholar Performance Team, and she was the recipient of the Debra Tighe Memorial Award and the Joan Johnson Wagner ’45 Alumni Board Scholarship this spring.

“Receiving these honors has meant a lot to me, especially because they all regard things that I am passionate about. My education, my career goals, my community involvement and being a part of a team all mean very much to me, and I am happy to be recognized for my accomplishments.”

Chelsie hopes to pursue her interest in physical therapy as an exercise science major. She aspires to be accepted into a Doctorate of Physical Therapy program for grad school.

“I have been passionate about pursuing this goal for a long time, and I believe that a career as a physical therapist will enable me to help many people,” she concluded.

Learn more about Olivet College by contacting the Office of Admissions at 800-456-7189 or admissions@olivetcollege.edu.

This feature was written by senior Leah Miller, marketing and communications student intern. She is a writing and history double major and a music minor, a field commander of the Marching Comets and a member Alpha Lambda Epsilon Literary Society. After college, she aspires to use her writing to educate people about different cultures and work to normalize embracing differences, potentially in a field related to intercultural relations.

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