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Senior Jayna Hartig (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) is working toward earning her graduate degree as she wraps up her final season as a Cavalier. UVa’s next contest is a home game vs. Wake Forest on Thursday (Feb. 3). Tip-off at John Paul Jones Arena is scheduled for 7 p.m.

Question: How meaningful of an accomplishment was it for you to earn your undergraduate degree in exercise physiology?
Hartig: It’s a really crazy feeling to know that I already have a degree. I just feel really proud that I was able to do that and get it in four years, especially with basketball and everything. I can’t describe how proud I am of myself. It’s really cool to have a degree under my belt-no matter what happens from here on out, I’m already a graduate.

Question: How is the graduate program different from the undergraduate course load?
Hartig: The grad program is a lot different than undergraduate classes. It’s a lot less about memorizing and spitting it back on a test in class. It’s more about taking the test home, applying what you know, and pulling from different sources. It’s a lot of real-life application.

Question: What discipline will your eventual master’s degree be in at the University?
Hartig: I’ll have a master’s in exercise physiology.

Question: What do you hope to do with your degrees from UVa?
Hartig: Eventually I’m going to go back to school for something. I still have to decide what that something is. There are a couple different routes I have in mind-I just have to pick one.

Question: Could you be Dr. Hartig someday?
Hartig: Potentially. I wouldn’t get my Ph.D. in exercise physiology. I’d probably apply to medical school to try to be a doctor. I think what I would more likely do is go to physical therapist school or physician’s assistant school, or maybe try to be a nurse practitioner or something like that.

Question: As a native of Colorado, what has it been like coming east for school? Do you see yourself returning to the Colorado area after graduation?
Hartig: It’s been a great experience being out here on the East Coast. I’d never known anything different before I moved out here, but my whole family is in Colorado and I love it out there. I just love the lifestyle and the type of people. It’s very different-not better or worse-but it’s just what I like. I’ll probably gravitate back there and hopefully get a job out there.

Question: What originally drew you to go Virginia for college?
Hartig: I really wanted to get out of Colorado and get out of my comfort zone. I wanted to be my own person and kind of figure out what I wanted and whether I wanted to live somewhere else in the country. I have family out here on the East Coast, and I always loved coming to visit them. On top of that, UVa has a wonderful basketball team-it’s a great program. It’s a top-tier school, which is really important to me also.

Question: Speaking of Colorado, your sister, Kelly, returned to your home state for college after playing at UVa for two seasons. Can you give an update of how she is doing?
Hartig: She plays for Colorado State. They’ve had a good year, but she’s been kind of injury-plagued so it’s not the comeback season we were all hoping for. She’s keeping a positive attitude, and she’s a great leader on that team.

Question: Super Bowl Sunday is this weekend. Do you have any rooting interest?
Hartig: A lot of people we know are pulling for the Packers, so I keep trying to convince Chelsea [Shine] to do a 180 with me and get some Steelers gear and then look up a bunch of information about the Steelers so we’re like instant Steelers’ experts just to kind of throw a wrench in everything. But I’m not sure she’s going to go with me on this one.

Question: Chelsea is from Pennsylvania-does that mean she is a Steelers fan or an Eagles fan?
Hartig: Eagles.

Question: Can you talk about the team’s road trip to North Carolina and Clemson?
Hartig: Obviously it was a tough weekend for us, and it didn’t come out like we wanted it to in either of the games. It was especially hard losing to Clemson the way we did, coming out flat in the beginning and then playing really well and shooting really well. I think we’ve overcome a lot of adversity so now it’s trying to take what we’ve learned in these last couple of games and applying it to future games. It’s crunch time for us now. We really need to pick it up and apply everything that we’re learning.

Question: As a veteran on the team, you have played Wake Forest several times before. What do you expect them to bring to the table Thursday?
Hartig: I remember last year when we played them that they were kind of relentless. We didn’t have our best game against them last year, but they just kept hammering down on us and eventually came out with the win. They’re just a very persistent team, and they’ve got some really good players on their team.

Question: As a fifth-year senior and a captain on the team now, how do you see yourself having evolved over the last four years?
Hartig: I think my first couple of years, it was definitely like being on an emotional rollercoaster all the time. There were ups-and-downs for me playing personally, ups-and-downs with how the team was doing, and ups-and-downs with school and everything. I was just trying to keep my head on straight whereas now, it’s easier to roll with the punches and not let everything affect me so much. You have those moments after games where you get down for a little bit because it’s hard to lose, but then you’ve got to keep on working. The same goes for wins, too. You can ride the high for a little bit, but you can’t let it go to your head. You just have to pick right up and move on again. I just think I’ve become more consistent emotionally.

Question: If you could sum up your experience at UVa in just two words, what would they be?
Hartig: I’ve just learned so much-about myself, about what it means to be a leader. I think it’s been a kind of “self-discovery” experience. It sounds so cliché-like, ‘oh, I’ve been to college and discovered myself’-but it’s really true. You’re never so grounded as when you have to ride these highs and lows and keep confidence in yourself as a person and as a player.

Question: A lot of students take time to travel after they graduate from college. Have you made any plans to go on a trip this spring?
Hartig: Not yet. My friend from home and I have been kind of tossing the idea around that if I don’t have a job when I get back then maybe we’ll go travel around for a bit. But we’ll see. Nothing too far-I think the cross-country trip back home will be enough.

Question: Is there anything else you’d like to convey about yourself?
Hartig: In her Q & A, Simone [Egwu] already told you about our crocheting, didn’t she? I’m working on my second scarf right now. I’m becoming quite the proficient crochet-er.

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