Being a student athlete is hard work: not only are they students with class, homework and tests like everyone else, but they also have 15+ hours of practice each week and travel for games. Gena Lenti, a 2016 graduate of DePaul, remembers those days well, and what an effort it took to balance athletics, school and work. And for Lenti, part of the juggling act was preparing to take the MCAT, as well. Lenti took a moment out of her busy day to answer a few questions.
Q. What did you major in at DePaul, and when did you graduate?
A. I graduated this past June with a degree in health science along with minors in biology, applied psychology and environmental studies.
Q. Which sport did you play?
A. I played softball all four years at DePaul, and also had a little stint with women’s basketball my freshman year, because quite a few of their players were injured.
Q. What helps you balance sports and school?
A. A lot of time management, organization and prioritization. You really learn to take advantage of every spare moment you have (you could always catch me on the fan cam at the men’s basketball games taking notes…) as well as how to be very adaptable. Often times, we had to take tests or do homework while traveling, and had to be really communicative with our classmates and professors. It really helps that there are so many other athletes in the same field of study, because we could collaborate when it came to notes and homework.
Q. What did your schedule look like during your senior year at DePaul?
A. I was a TA for organic chemistry seven to nine hours a week, I volunteered at a primary care clinic five hours a week and Lurie Children’s three hours a week, and I helped out on a research project for about four hours every one to two weeks. When I had time, I worked in Dr. Southern’s chemistry lab. Finally, I was captain of my team and VP of the Captain’s Council. This was on top of 20 to 25 hours a week of softball. My days were packed from 6 am to 10 pm every day, but I met so many great people and had so many great experiences along the way.
Q. What made you choose DePaul?
A. My dad is the softball coach, so I was pretty much coming here since birth. My parents always told me and my sisters we could go somewhere else, but I’ve been watching my dad’s team since I was a kid and it really became a dream of mine to play for him.
Q. You scored well on the MCAT. How did you find time to prepare?
A. I really took advantage of the six week break DePaul has between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. After that, I knew I had to focus, since I was only going to have six weeks to study when others often study for six months, so I brought my books with me wherever I went. I even forced myself to take a seven-hour practice exam while my team was at my apartment for a team-bonding night. I would say all of the things I learned about focus and determination as a student athlete really paid off for the MCAT!
Q. What does Athletics do to emphasize DePaul’s mission?
A. I think people would be surprised to hear how involved the athletes are around campus. The Athletic department goes out of its way to emphasize service outside athletics and outside the DePaul community. And I cannot emphasize enough how great staff in Athletics are and the care and concern they showed for us every day: they made me strive to be as caring and inclusive to everyone I encountered as well!
Q. What are three fun facts about you?
A. I absolutely love to sing! Although, that’s not to say I have the best voice in the world. I always tell people, I would have dropped both sports and medicine if someone told me I could star on Broadway.
I come from a long legacy of DePaul softball players. My aunt, mom, cousin and my sister all played softball at DePaul!
This year, I will be working at Rehab Institute of Chicago in their inpatient pediatrics unit.
Thanks for spending some time with us, Gena, and good luck in medical school!