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Senior Hillary Trebels (Arlington Heights, Ill.) recently checked in with to reflect on four years at UVa, giving back to the community and what she will remember from being in a Cavalier uniform.

Question: What has been your overall experience during your four years at UVa?
Coming to UVa has definitely been a growing up and maturing experience. Coming in as a first-year, I looked up to the older girls to see how they deal with managing class, volleyball and fitting time in for themselves. So I looked up to Lauren Dickson, Marlow Bruneau, Tara Hester and Sydney Hill. They were here before me who I thought had a really good balance and that’s something I try and be an example for the first-years and younger kids.

Question: What is the biggest change you have seen in yourself from your first year to now?
My first year I didn’t have a lot of balance. School is something I’ve always had a lot of emphasis on and I’d almost lock myself in my room and be a hermit. I did super well, but I didn’t take advantage of what UVa had to offer. There’s so much more, like getting to join clubs and meet people in the same career path. So that’s the biggest change, I learned how to balance better.

Question: As a team captain, you lead a lot of community service events for the team, what are some of the most rewarding actions you’ve been a part of?
Something I encourage our girls to do is ACE. It’s run through our athletic academic affairs department, Natalie Fitzgerald, the football academic coordinator runs it. It’s an hour of your time, once a week at an elementary school and we do three things. We help the teachers out, we stress the importance of fitness and health and we emphasize the importance of education. Our team has become more and more involved in it.

Another thing we always do is Shootout for Cancer, our student-athlete mentors Beth and Rachel, are in charge of getting people involved in that. The whole athletic department does that. It’s a way to raise money for kids’ oncology clinics.

Question: Why is it so important to give back to the community?
Charlottesville and the UVa community give us so much, that it’s almost in comprehendible. The medical centers are always there if we get hurt and our doctors are all through UVa, so something Nika (Šimenc) and I did last year was visit the children who were at the hospital. You get so much from the community, I think it’s important to realize that and show our gratitude.

Question: What are your plans for after UVa?
I am working on my master’s in teaching so I’ll stick around next year to finish student teaching and then I’m hoping to teach biology in the DC area. I want to work in a metropolitan area and help push kids to go to college. Also, after the season is done, I’m going to be working with a club program and will be coaching a 16’s team so I’d like to coach at the high school level too.

Question: Coming from a big city like Chicago, what is the biggest difference when coming to a school in a small town like Charlottesville?
I’ve come to appreciate what more rural areas have to offer. I used to think driving past these kinds of places in Illinois and thinking, ‘this is boring,’ but after coming to UVa and Charlottesville, I’ve really come to appreciate the mountains and hiking taking advantage of all the outdoor activities that are available.

Question: Why should a prospective student-athlete come to UVa?
It’s the ultimate balance of academics and athletics and the people I’ve met here will be my lifelong friends.

Question: What will be your favorite memory from your time playing volleyball for Virginia?
There’s a bunch of great memories. When we beat FSU and it was the first time we beat somebody ranked in a long time, so that was a big deal. I remember certain times, like Simone (Asque) had a big kill against Nebraska that’s in our pump-up video, or Tess from our first-year had a nasty kill against BC or Rachel Gray, one time hit a girl in the face. When we would get so excited for each other, those are the times I’ll remember.

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