Graduation weekend is finally upon us, which means that thousands of fourth years are making the biggest mistake of their lives by allowing themselves to leave the University. But that's another subject for another day. As we think about all of our graduating fourth and fifth years who have dedicated their time at the University to competing for our enjoyment, we wanted to check in with a few of them to get their post-graduate plans. We start our tour with 2012 women's lacrosse team captain Josie Owen.
Named to the 2012 All-ACC team and the 2012 All-ACC Tournament team, Owen has started every game for the past two years. She led the Cavaliers offensively this year, and it wasn't even close, with 77 points on 42 goals and 35 assists. She even had two six-goal games her senior season. For this, and for the intangibles she brought to the field for Virginia Lacrosse, she was named one of 25 Tewaaraton Trophy nominees.
When we touched base with Josie, she told us that for this summer, her priority is to relax with family.
"I am going to visit family in Belgium and Lithuania for two weeks," Josie said, "but besides that I will hopefully spend most of my time at home in Maryland or out in Denver relaxing with family."
Starting in the fall, she'll be attending the University of Denver for a two-year masters program, where she'll be studying strategic communications while also serving as a TA. She is hoping to become involved win Denver's women's lacrosse team, though at this time, she doesn't think that coaching lacrosse will be her career path going forward. She does, however, anticipate still being involved with the sport.
I asked her what her fondest memory of UVA will be when she looks back at her time here, and she admitted that she's "so weirded out right now" that it's happened so fast.
"When I think of my time at UVa I will think most fondly of my teammates and coaches. I know I'm going to miss the little things-- the things I never thought I'd miss. Things like dancing in the locker room before practice-- even before practices that we know are going to be some of the toughest yet. Or walking up to klockner with 27 of my best friends ready for the game but really nervous too. Or horrible but very entertaining bus rides."
But for Josie, her time at Virginia and on the women's lacrosse team meant more than just the wins and losses on the field. For her, it meant friendships that will last forever.
"My time on the field was unbelievable and I will always look back fondly at our big wins and fun games at Klockner. But what we do on the field on game day Is only a fraction of the fond memories I have. I would have never made it through without the support of the people around me. We are 30+ people who spend way too much time together but I'm going to look back fondly at the more subtle, rarely appreciated, little moments that come along with being on such a close knit team."
She also offered advice to the incoming group of players. Something you don't really realize until after it's all said and done.
"It is easy to get caught up in the day to day grind of tough practices, fitness, lifting, and sometimes tough coaches. But it goes by so quickly, so when things are hard remind yourself that you've been working your whole life to get where you are today and to do big things, so appreciate it; don't wish it away. Try to look at the little things that are so great about being on a team and let that motivate you to keep getting better. Before you know it you'll be graduating trying to remember where the heck the time went."
And this applies to any incoming first year, not just those on the lacrosse team.
"Go to class, speak up in discussions and take the time to reach out to your professors even if you aren't struggling in the class. We are lucky enough to have some great faculty at UVa and their stories and advice are both invaluable."
We wish Josie the best of luck at Denver for the next two years. We'll be back with this series on Monday after graduation, where we'll check in with Virginia Football's star kicker, Robert Randolph.