Prof(ILL)es Series: Sarah Warren
This is post 3 of 3 in my Prof(ILL)es Series. If you are interested in learning more about why I’m doing this, check out my introduction piece. Click here if you missed last week’s Prof(ILL)e with Paul Ceneac.
You can learn a lot from athletics. There’s a reason why many dedicate their lives to participating, covering, and building businesses around the idea of competition and sport. This is certainly the case for Sarah Warren. Growing up in a motivated, athletic family, Sarah excelled in sports such as speed skating (where she was a Junior U.S. National Team member) and soccer. A talented student as well, Sarah had plenty of options to consider when it came to where she was going to go to college (she mentions the University of Chicago as an early frontrunner). However, when the University of Illinois called to offer a spot on the women’s varsity soccer team it was, in Sarah’s words, “an opportunity [she] couldn’t pass up.”
These days, Sarah is able to reflect as a senior class captain on the time and effort she’s dedicated to both the team and this university.
She’s most proud of her work with the soccer team, both on and off the field. “The connections you make on the team is an opportunity not many get to experience, but it’s one of those that completely changes your life forever.” The soccer experience seems to be a unique one for Sarah: “It’s just one of those things where you’re either all in or not in at all, and when you’re all in you create these bonds and experiences that not only shape your time here but shape your time in the future.”
Not only has Sarah been able to build important bonds, but develop important skills like leadership and time management through the sport.
Regarding leadership, she said “I’ve always been the loudest in the room, but being able to lead people has not always come easily to me.” Leadership is often very personal, and takes time to develop your own effective style. Sarah continued, “I’ve always known how I can be led and what motivates me, but that’s not always the same as the person next to me or the person in front of me…learning what I can do to get everyone motivated and on the same page is something I’ve definitely grown and matured into, not only in sports but in everything in life.”
Sarah remains extremely involved on campus outside of soccer, too. Sarah is a part of multiple engineering honors societies, vice president for the Illinois Sports Business Conference, a research assistant on campus, and spends many hours on community service and philanthropy. With such a diverse and challenging schedule, Sarah’s insights on time management can be valuable to any college student.
“I’ve always really been busy, before even coming to school…it’s always been one of those things where you kind of have to fit things in. It’s just timing, and definitely something you mature into in college. Freshman year I would get six hours of sleep a night, tops, but I wouldn’t say it was necessarily all the work and responsibilities I had. It was just not planning.”
Since her freshman year, Sarah learned to utilize the time management resources available in order to allow her to do more meaningful work. In addition, through this more meticulous organizing, she’s been able to find more time to develop meaningful relationships with her friends.
“It would say that it’s a necessary [component]. When I am booking time out that’s something that always needs to be there because we are in college and you need to build and foster these relationships…those are the memories you’re going to remember.”
An aside: one of the key takeaways I’ve noticed through this series is the importance of finding meaningful personal time and time with friends. It’s been the one thing that’s been universal so far.
Professionally, Sarah cites her work with the Illinois Sports Business Conference as a major influence, as it gives her access to those in the field she’s interested in. She’s passionate about remaining in athletics as a professional, particularly on the medical side getting involved in orthopedics. For Sarah, changing the outlook of someone’s career is sometimes akin to changing someone’s life. She would know, because look at what sports has given her.
Finally, it should come as no surprise that Sarah’s biggest piece of advice to students is to remain involved. It’s incredibly important to put yourself out there and get ready to make mistakes. To any aspiring student-athlete or busy person in general, Sarah serves as a model for balance and focus at the collegiate level. Talk soon.