It’s 6:00 on a Monday morning, way too early to be getting up if you’re an ordinary college student. However, Jordan Bostic is no ordinary college student. You see, Jordan is a member of the Aggie volleyball team and even though it’s February and volleyball season is still six months away; her training is already in full swing and she has to be in the weight room by 6:45. She laughs and says, “Some of the girls can roll out of bed at like 6:20 and make it there by 6:45, not me. I’ve got have breakfast before I start my day.”
From 6:45 until around 8:00 every morning, you’ll find Jordan in the weight room working out. “We work out different muscle groups each day. We do a lot of strengthening of our volleyball muscles, specifically shoulders and legs. One day we’ll work upper body, bench presses, one day we’ll work legs and we’ll be doing squats,” she explains. Jordan half grimaces as she adds, “The only constant is abs, we work our abs every day.”
After weight training, she has about a two and half hour break before her first class. Often times she’ll head to Corbett Center with her teammates while they grab some breakfast. From there, she heads off to study hall to prepare for her first class of the day.
Jordan, who’s a sophomore majoring in Journalism/Mass Communications with a Studio Art minor, is just as stellar off the court as she is on the court. She was among the many student-athletes honored last week during halftime of the men’s basketball game for having a 3.0 or higher GPA. Last semester Jordan far exceeded the 3.0 minimum, earning a 4.0.
One of the journalism classes she’s taking this semester, Intermediate Print Reporting, requires her to read five newspapers online each day, which she then discusses in class. I asked her which papers she usually reads, she responded, “Well, the Sun-News for one.” Of course! Silly question on my part. Jordan, who is also a big sports fan, laments about the size of the sports section in the local paper as I nod in agreement. Originally from Florida, Jordan reminisces about the sports section in the Tampa paper “The sports section in that paper was THIS big (measuring out roughly a half-inch with her fingers). It would take me all day to read that thing!”
Her journalism class ends at 11:20 and she rushes over to her Figure Drawing class, which is one of the classes she’s taking for her minor. “It’s one of those nude art drawing classes. It’s pretty much everything that you’ve heard about one of those types of classes being, complete with nude models,” she explains to me. “It’s a very long class, it goes from 11:30 in the morning until 2:00 in the afternoon and we have to stand the entire time. To top it off, we have to draw with our arm extended!” she exclaims as she demonstrates the classic “arm extended with pencil in hand” stance. Jordan adds, “After I’ve worked out in the morning, it gets tough. I’m standing there staring at the teacher thinking, lady, you have no idea what I’ve already been through today.”
After her art class, she hurries off to grab some lunch. Since her class runs through lunch and she’s already burned off her breakfast at the morning workout, she’s usually pretty hungry by two in the afternoon.
At 4:00, she heads over for conditioning training. I asked her what her conditioning workouts usually consisted of. She explained, “Conditioning is mostly just sprints, suicides, pro-agility drills, ladders (which are a footwork drill). We have a very good conditioning coach who tailors the workouts to us. Endurance isn’t as big a factor in volleyball because you’re not going to run a couple miles during the match. Quickness is key. We do a lot of speed, quickness and agility drills.”
By the time conditioning workouts are over it’s already 5:00 in the afternoon. You’d figure by that time she’s put in a hard days work and is ready to go home, but there’s no rest for this “supergirl”. After her conditioning training, she’s off to coach a group of 14-year old girls who participate in club volleyball. “I’m a much better coach than Ashley!” she proudly proclaims. Ashley Hardee who is an assistant coach on the NMSU volleyball team, also coaches a club team. He jokingly reminds her that she has the “winningest” team in the league. “My girls haven’t won any matches yet,” Jordan explains, “But they work really hard!” That’s all that matters.
At 7:00, she’s finished coaching the youngsters and she’s ready to head home for some dinner and a relaxing night of homework. Since she’s an exceptional student Jordan does not have mandatory (team) study hours. She explains that study hours are usually reserved for freshmen or players who are having trouble making grades. “With our team we really don’t have to worry about that though; we’re very good about getting our school work done.” Right she is, as her teammates were also among those student-athletes honored for good grades.
In addition to school, volleyball, practice, coaching a team of 14-year olds and maintaining her personal life, Jordan also writes a weekly sports article for the Las Cruces Bulletin. As a writer for the Bulletin, she has to do the same things that every other reporter does. Pick a story to write, track down the people involved, try to schedule interviews around their schedule and hers and then actually sit down and write it. “It usually takes between three and four hours for me to get an article done.” While three or four hours during the week may not sound like much time to you or I, when you have a schedule like Jordan’s, every minute is important.
On Tuesdays and Thursdays, Jordan balances her time between workouts in the morning, classes and an intense hour-long individual practice session in the afternoon. “One common misconception that people have is that when the season’s over, we don’t really do anything else.” That couldn’t be further from the truth. When the season ends, the training for next season begins.
You’re probably thinking to yourself, if she’s this busy now, what’s it like during the season? I had the exact same question, so I asked her about it. “During the season, it’s not much different, except that we have practice every day except game days. Game days are actually more laid back. The team gets to the Pan Am two hours early to go through pre-game, watch tapes, etc.” She added, “Sometimes after the matches our team will have a post-game meal with the boosters, or coach will talk with us about the match. Since the nights when we play matches are taken up, I have to do my class work during the day.”
That only covers the times when they play home matches. When they’re on the road, it’s even tougher. With many of the places they play, the travel schedule can cause you to miss several days of class. Jordan recalled the most difficult experience she’s had trying to balance athletics and academics thus far. “It was my freshman year (2004) and we had just won the Sun Belt Conference tournament. Our team had been gone for five or six days for the conference tournament, so I missed all those classes. On top of that, I had finals coming up. The team received an invite to the NCAA tournament and Coach was putting us through the hardest practices of the year trying to prepare us for it. Here I was, a freshman, every single class I was taking had a paper or project due and I was so excited about going to the NCAA tournament. It was really hard to concentrate on my schoolwork. We ended up losing in the first round and when we got back, I had finals the next day. It was crazy.”
I marveled at her ability to balance everything that she has going on, her schoolwork, volleyball and of course her personal life. “It’s all time management,” she explains. “Every night before I go to bed, I plan out my next day. I look at my schedule and if I have a couple hours between class and practice, I’ll use that time write one of my papers, do homework or work on a class project.”
If you’ve ever seen Jordan play, you would never guess that she’s only been playing volleyball since the 8th grade, at Franklin High School in El Paso, Texas. “I had never played volleyball before in my life. I played a lot of tennis so when I started playing my volleyball serve was just like my tennis serve. I threw the ball up the air just like you would a tennis ball.” Jordan added, “I got laughed at a lot.” Nobody’s laughing at her now that she’s a star player at one of the country’s premier women’s volleyball programs.
After she graduates, Jordan says she’d like to work in the magazine industry. Her dream job is to work for a sports magazine like Sports Illustrated, doing either page design or writing. If she continues to attack her academics the same way she attacks the volleyball, don’t be surprised when you open the latest issue of Sports Illustrated and see Jordan’s name attached to the byline of a big story.