Photo Credit: Steve Manuel
Natalie Bjorlund, Class of 2022 Major: Biology, Minor: Chemistry PSU Rugby Position: Outside Center / Back 3
Why did you choose your school? I chose Penn State because of its prestigious reputation for both Academics and Rugby.
What was your process of being recruited? I was looking into several schools with rugby programs but Penn State was my first choice. Ellie Fromstein, a senior on the Penn State women’s rugby team, and I played for the same high school, the Hopkins Royals, in Minnesota. Although we never played together, our high school coach, DJ, contacted Ellie and told her I would be a good addition to the Penn State team. Ellie relayed this message to Kate Daley and here I am.
What are your favorite parts about being a member of the rugby program? My favorite parts about being a member of the Penn State rugby team are the strong bonds I have formed with my teammates and the important lessons I have learned from the program I can apply on and off the field, such as mental resilience, communication skills, and lessons in leadership.
What are your favorite parts about being a student at your school? My favorite part about being a student at Penn State is there is never a dull moment. There is always something to do and ways to get involved in the community. There are hundreds of clubs and countless events going on through the week, so everyone is bound to find something they are interested in.
How do you balance schoolwork and rugby? It is very difficult but by no means impossible, you just have to be committed to success. I spend most of my free time in the library doing school work.
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What does a typical day and/or week look like for you? A typical week for me consist of class from 9 am to 4:30 every day except Thursday: I don’t have class Thursday, so I spend the day doing homework and studying for exams. I have practice 4 four times a week and lift twice a week. We usually have a game on Saturday, depending on if the game if home or away the week might also consist of a long bus ride.
What’s the biggest challenge about playing rugby at your school? The hardest thing about playing rugby at my school is being able to balance a full commitment to rugby with a full commitment for the grueling academic program here at Penn State.
Besides rugby, what else are you involved in on campus? I am involved in THON, a massive charity event benefiting children who suffer from cancer. I also work part time jobs on campus when I can to make some money, including participating in studies, and cleaning the art supplies for the studio classes.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with a high school player who is interested in your school? The Penn State Rugby team is an amazing program that I am honored to be a part of. Being a student athlete is a lot of hard work but the life-long connections you make and the valuable lessons you learn make all the 6 am conditionings and the late night study sessions worth it.
Watch this video to learn more about Penn State Rugby.
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