By Sara Vierra 15'
SANTA CLARA, Calif.-- With time ticking toward Summer vacation, seniors find themselves looking forward to graduation, careers, and the ending of the chapter of college life. Senior water polo player, Ali Norris cannot help but hang on to the last few weeks she has as a Bronco because of the amazing experience she has had.
As a student-athlete, Norris knew that she wanted to play water polo at a collegiate level by the end of her junior year in high school. "I wanted to stay in California, and I wanted a college that I would have attended even if I weren't playing water polo. Santa Clara University (SCU) was my last recruiting trip, and by the end of the first day I knew I wanted to attend," said Norris.
Even though she fell in love with the campus and community, Norris was still somewhat hesitant about SCU because of the fact that it was so close to home. As a native of Saratoga, Calif., the SCU campus is only a 20 minute drive from where she grew up. Luckily, the distance worked in her favor.
"I thought being close to home was going to be a downside to Santa Clara," said Norris "But it has been great. My parents were able to come to all of my games and I was able to go home whenever I wanted to. It never felt like I was just 20 minutes from home. The distance ended up being a plus."
Norris has had an outstanding time with the Broncos, and has made life-lasting memories. In water polo specifically, Norris will never forget her final season with her teammates.
"The reason this stands out is because the team played the best water polo we possibly could," said Norris. "You always want to end your season playing your best, and I think we were able to do that. That's why it's so memorable."
Aside from it being her most memorable season, the 2013 season was Norris's most accomplished. Norris was given the opportunity to serve her team as a leader by becoming a team captain. Becoming captain was something that Norris wanted since freshman year, and the work that she put in throughout her membership to the team made this possible.
Overall, Norris has loved her time at Santa Clara. She shared that she could not imagine a better experience, and attributes a great four years to her classmates, teammates, professors and coaches.
After graduation, Norris is hoping to work in public relations or marketing, and even though graduation is merely a few weeks away, Norris said that it hasn't hit her yet, and that she is still in denial. "I'm happily pretending that we are just having a few weeks off from water polo practice," she said.
Through her classes, relationships, and experience at SCU, she has learned the ins and outs of what she refers to as "The Three C's: Competence, Conscience, and Compassion." "Through these, I learned how to work well with classmates, how to work within the Santa Clara community, and to always strive to have your actions positively affect others,"expressed Norris.
It is safe to say that Norris has had a rather eventful and successful college experience at SCU. If you ask her what her biggest take away is-- what will truly be held in high-esteem for the rest of her life, she will tell you "the pride I have graduating as a Bronco."