Today's Student-Athlete profile features women's tennis player Rachel Flame (Blue Bell, Pa./Wissahickon). Rachel had an immediate impact on the prgoram, moving into the top flight for both singles and doubles in her rookie season. Since the pandemic canceled in-person classes she has been keeping with her family, playing tennis and spending time in the kitchen. The family has also had its hands full with a new rescue cat named Diesel. Rachel sent a photo of her with another one of her cats, BJ, who she says is not a big fan of the paparazzi. The intense glare confirms BJ does not like being photographed.
Rachel talks about her choice to come to Dickinson and her experiences this semester.
What made you come to Dickinson?
I came to Dickinson for so many reasons, but it was my recruit overnight with the team that made me feel an overwhelming sense of home. I loved the girls on the team, the professors I met, and the sense of community both on campus and with the town of Carlisle. I just knew it was where I wanted to be!
What have you enjoyed most about being a Dickinson Red Devil?
I love being a Dickinson Red Devil! I really like the girls and guys on the tennis team, and the way they make me laugh, both in person and in our group chats. But being a Red Devil isn't only limited to tennis. It's getting to personally know my professors, enjoying my classes, and becoming involved in Dickinson, whether through being a Biology Teaching Assistant and Biology Mentor, helping with Admissions and being a member of Kappa Alpha Theta.
Are there any interesting stories or experiences you have had during the pandemic?
During my time at home, my family decided to welcome another rescue cat, Diesel. We thought we were adopting a sweet, quiet and calm kitty…little did we know he would be incredibly vocal and want to play – ALL the time. So now, every night, my parents and I "argue" over whose turn it is to play with the cat!
What are you doing to keep busy?
My Biochem classes are keeping me quite busy; however, if I am not working or playing tennis, I can usually be found in the kitchen. I love to cook and bake, so I have been trying a bunch of new low carb recipes! I especially love Asian food, so I have taught myself how to make poke bowls, summer rolls, spring rolls, Szechuan string beans and more. While desserts can be tricky, my favorite is an, "Oreo" cheesecake (I have to make the Oreo myself). In addition, my family is trying to get outside for day trips while the weather is still warm.
What kinds of things are you doing to train and stay in shape?
Luckily, tennis is a socially distanced sport, so I have been training a good amount. I joined a USTA (United States Tennis Association) mixed doubles league. My teammates are all former college players, so it's a high level of competition. Meeting new people and while competing has been amazing. On other days, I run, use our elliptical machine, do core workouts as well as other body weight resistance exercises.
What do you miss most about not being at school/on campus?
Not being around my friends is probably the thing is miss most about Dickinson. My friends count on me for my annual dorm room "hot chocolate bar", with all the toppings! I really miss meeting my friends for lunch or dinner in the Dining Hall, or our meals in town at Panera, Pizza Grille, and Issei! I also miss the ability to meet with my professors in-person, getting to know them on a more personal level.
How have you adjusted to remote learning? Has it been easy or difficult? If difficult why?
I have adjusted to remote learning very well. I find keeping on a schedule with classes and homework keeps me organized. My Biochem professors have been great with making themselves available, and I have actually been chatting with my Metabolism professor before each class. I find the professors are making classes engaging; however, Zoom fatigue is quite real!
Are there any advantages you have experienced?
While I would love to be on campus, there are definitely some advantages to remaining at home. I think it's really important to remain positive during this time. I am actually really enjoying the extra time I get to spend with my family, sleeping in my own bed, and snuggling with my two cats. I have had some time to do things that I would not have had time or the ability to do at school, like cooking and even carving pumpkins for Halloween! It's also "not so bad" to eat home cooked food and have my laundry done by mom!
What advice do you have for incoming students (or other students in general) about remote learning and/or how you are training?
I believe that keeping to a schedule really helps adjust to school and helps to make sure that everything gets done well and is submitted on time. I also feel that it's important to get offline. It's important to relax and socialize with other people, away from the computer screen. Also, making sure that you are taking care of yourself – sleep is incredibly important. Training for your sport is more of a personal matter and should be more about quality than quantity. What works for one person may not work for another. I find that a lot of daily stretching, body weight bearing exercise, footwork drills, and playing tennis keep me in the best shape physically and mentally.
Have you/How have you been able to keep in contact with your classmates/friends/teammates during this time away from campus?
Staying in contact with friends does take some effort but is definitely worth it. I have started routinely having virtual lunch dates with my friends, and even have Zoom/Facetime "girl's nights". My KAT big sister and I speak each week before our weekly sorority meeting. While there may be times there is not too much to catch up on, there is always a lot of laughter!!
Why are you Dickinson Proud? Why do you think more generations of student-athletes should come to Dickinson?
I am Dickinson Proud because being a student athlete at Dickinson has allowed me to do more than solely be part of a tennis team…Dickinson encourages its athletes to pursue other interests and engage in other activities. Upon my 2022 graduation at Dickinson, I will know that I not only received an incredibly well-rounded education, but that I was able to be in a sorority and participate in other groups and activities as well. The feeling that you are part of a tight-knit community is what I have found to truly unique to Dickinson. It began when the moment I stepped onto campus, and continues today.