Q&A with Phoebe Willis
Junior Phoebe Willis and the Virginia field hockey team continue conference play at 1 p.m. Saturday at Wake Forest in Winston-Salem, N.C. Willis, a Fredericksburg, Va., native, recently caught up with VirginiaSports.com to talk about the season, all the things she is involved with at UVa, her career ambitions and her favorite spots on Grounds.
Question: How would you describe the season?
Willis: This year has definitely been a rollercoaster, both for the team and for me personally. Being injured is not what I had planned this summer when I was training. For a lot of the team, we were here this summer training really hard and were excited about the season. Our current stats don’t show the effort, work ethic and talent this team has. I hope in the next few games we can really put it all out there and show everyone we are a lot better than what others give us credit for.
Question: What have you learned from field hockey in your two-plus years at UVa?
Willis: I have learned a lot. I definitely would say the one thing this program has taught me is how to be disciplined – not only on the field but even in getting injured. Michele (Madison) told me, you have to embrace this new role. You have to be the best teammate you can be. I have just learned how to embrace taking stats or getting balls for drills, whatever I can do to help the team the most I can in my current situation. Really learning how to take every situation and make it as positive as you possibly can. I’ve just really grown up.
Question: What other things are you involved with on Grounds?
Willis: I’m involved in the Women’s Leadership Development Program, which is a committee of about 15 women on Grounds. Our committee plans five sessions a year and our main goal is to provide a place for women at UVa looking to meet new contacts and be professionals. I am involved with the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and I have been working with (Life Skills director) Phil Gates on a couple of things. I’m part of the outreach committee on the third year council and am currently planning our community service events for the spring for the class of 2013. Right now I’m also helping with Class Week and that is next week. I’m involved on the Honor Council and I either defend students who have been accused or sometimes I represent the University. As a student-athlete, I’m also on the diversity advisory board for the Honor Council. I am working on creating a honor video that is more student-athlete oriented.
Question: How do you balance all that?
Willis: I love everything I do at this school and every person I have met. I think networking and having connections, just knowing as many people as you can, that is one of the most exciting things I have done at UVa. I love being a student-athlete but UVa has so many things to offer besides athletics. I never want to look back and say that I didn’t take full advantage of being here. But I’ve also learned how to slow down.
Question: What do you like to do for fun?
Willis: I love international food. I am living with my sister, Larkin, this year. She is a second year. We are complete opposites but get a long perfectly. We went and ate some Indian cuisine the other night and got some Thai food and I have a lot of other places to try. I love to eat but I don’t know if that is a hobby. I also really love documentaries. Next Tuesday there is a showing of “Invisible Children” at Nau Hall and it is one of the documentaries I have never seen. UVa has a lot of documentary film festivals so whenever I have time I try to go to those because I just think they are really interesting.
Question: What is your major? What are your future career ambitions?
Willis: I am a history major and will be taking an LSAT course over J-Term when I don’t have a million things going on. I will take the LSAT in February and am hoping to get into a top-10 law school. After I go to law school I want to work in a big D.C. or Philly law firm doing contact or commercial law, maybe some pro-bono civil rights law.
Question: What has been your favorite class at UVa?
Willis: I love all my classes. I took History of Women in America 1865-Present and found that fascinating. We did in-depth studies on a lot of women’s rights moments that I think get overshadowed by the Civil Rights Movement. But probably my most favorite class has been History of Genocide and I’m currently in that one. I am just learning about things that I have never heard of before and all the human rights violations that are still currently going on. That’s just something I am personally interested in. In the spring I am branching out a little bit and only taking one history class!
Question: What is your favorite spot on Grounds?
Willis: It’s a toss up. I love studying at the music library and not a lot of people know about that place. The Lawn is gorgeous during every season and the tradition of all the people who have walked it is just tremendous. I would love to live there one day!