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Day in the Life: Athlete at Vassar College

Name: Sophia Bailey

Year in School: Sophomore

Major(s): English and Sociology

Years Playing Rugby: 2

Position in Rugby: Scrumhalf

Why did you choose your school?

To put it simply, Vassar has everything I was looking for in a school. I knew I wanted to be in the

Northeast area, as well as at a smaller school. I loved that it was historically women because I

thought it added a layer of history to the campus. In terms of school, Vassar has an open-curriculum

that allows liberal arts students to broaden their interests and pursue their passions in varied

subjects. When I visited, I loved the campus, and the community seemed so welcoming – I knew I

would enjoy it here. After I had been somewhat decided on applying early decision to Vassar, I

learned of the rugby team, and my decision was cemented in stone.

What was your process of being recruited?

My recruitment story was a bit unlike many of my fellow teammates. Unfortunately, because of our

club's nature, the rugby team isn’t allowed to recruit high school players unless they express interest.

For myself, I learned of the rugby team (somewhat accidentally) and sent my coach (Tony Brown) an

email of interest! I had always done sports growing up and knew I wanted to continue my athletic

journey, but knew I wanted to try something different. That led me to the rugby program! I saw the

team’s previous success (reigning National Champions!) and knew it was something I wanted to be

a part of. I emailed Tony before I had even been accepted into Vassar, and the rest is history.

What are your favorite parts about being a member of the rugby program?

At the risk of sounding incredibly cliche, my favorite part of the team is easily my fellow teammates. I

have never known such a kind, caring, inclusive, and humorous group of people. I feel incredibly

lucky to not only play rugby, but to exist next to them. In a rugby setting, they are strong, skilled,

protective, and adaptable. I know that I can depend on them on and off the field. But as individuals,

as well as rugby players, they show me how good people can be. From a sports perspective, rugby

is one of the most fun sports I have ever had the pleasure of playing. I love the high energy, I love

the game, and I love to tackle (who doesn’t!). And it doesn’t hurt to win a National Championship

every once in a while.

What are your favorite parts about being a student at your school?

My favorite part about being a Vassar student is the range of people and subjects I’m introduced to.

Though the school is small, it’s filled with people of widely varying backgrounds, hobbies, and

interests. As a Vassar student, I feel like I gain access to a multitude of worlds! The academic

flexibility we get as students allow me to research my own particular areas of interest (diverse

literature!), and because of that flexibility, my classes are filled with people from all different majors

and correlates (minors), connecting me to more people.

How do you balance schoolwork and rugby?

The Vassar academic workload can be a lot to manage during the rugby season. I try to section my

time wisely so that I can devote all of my energy to school when I need to, and the same with rugby.

I like to be 100% present in what I’m doing, so I do my best to make sure I stick to a school/rugby

balance schedule!

What does a typical day and/or week look like for you?

My typical in-season day consists largely of class, rugby, and outside time for other work, meals,

and activities. I typically have two classes a day, though that varies from student to student. I try to

have lunch with friends as a break in the middle of the day, and then I usually dive into some

homework before practice! Practice lasts for 2 hours, and we always get a team dinner after for a bit

more time together! On practice days, my time is usually divided between class and rugby. But on

non-practice days, I try to add in my other activities or time with friends to balance out my schedule! I

often am also working around meetings for my job, or other commitments. But I always find time to

do things just for myself, like read or journal!

What’s the biggest challenge about playing rugby at your school?

The biggest challenge about playing rugby with Vassar is probably the time commitment. Vassar

rugby exists as an in-between entity between a varsity and club sport. So despite technically being

a club, rugby as a sport is treated more professionally. We only practice three times a week, but we

additionally have games (home or away) every weekend. We also often have events scattered

throughout the week or season, and sometimes it feels that rugby is all you do! This is not necessarily a bad thing, however. I love my team and my sport, and am happy to devote the time I do to it! It is just a notable challenge to be aware of.

Besides rugby, what else are you involved in on campus?

Besides rugby, I work on campus as a Student Fellow for one of our residence halls. This is Vassar’s

version of an RA, so I do my best to help a group of new students through the year with whatever

they need, while living in the dorm beside them! I am also involved in Vassar’s MBSA club, or

Multi/Bi-racial Student Association!

Is there anything else you’d like to share with a high school player who is interested in your


I would absolutely recommend sending a note to either our coach or our social media! We can let

you know all of the necessary information for making the decision to commit. But in my incredibly

biased opinion, I think that this team is one of the best ones you’ll find out there. And we would love

to have you!



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