Alumni Spotlight: Jessica Schulman '12, Women's Soccer

Jessica Schulman current head shot and action shot of her in soccer uniform

Alumni Spotlights are Q&A's with former Brandeis student-athletes, across a myriad of disciplines, as they reflect on their Brandeis experience and how it has shaped their lives today. Read more spotlight features here

Name: Jessica Schulman '12
Job Title: Senior Assistant Director of Admissions
Institution: Brandeis University

Jessica Schulman '12 played women's soccer at Brandeis for four years. She started at defender in two of her four seasons and served as a team captain as a senior after studying abroad in Istanbul, Turkey, as a junior. Schulman helped the Judges to two ECAC tournament berths, including one title, and the first NCAA tournament win in the program's history in 2010. 
Originally from the Redwood City in Northern California, Schulman graduated from Brandeis in 2012 with a BA in anthropology and a minor in education studies. She received her Masters in higher education administration from Suffolk University and has been a part of the Brandeis admissions staff since 2016. 

In her free time, Schulman likes to run, rock climb, ski, and travel. She is also excited to see her former teammate, Mary Shimko '14, make her head coaching debut for Brandeis women's soccer next fall!

Describe your overall experience as a student-athlete. What does it mean to you now/what did it mean to you while you were an undergraduate?

Being a student-athlete at Brandeis made my collegiate experience so unbelievably rewarding. Like most incoming first-year student-athletes, I was nervous arriving on campus for preseason. It can be intimidating; you might have imposter syndrome. However, I soon learned that being a student-athlete means that you come to Brandeis immediately with an established community. And as cliché as it sounds, your team is your family. Through cold and rainy practices and winning games in penalty kicks, my team will forever share those experiences and bonds. The student-athlete experience at Brandeis is irreplaceable because of those connections. Student-athletes at Brandeis work so hard: in the classroom, on the field, in their jobs and internships, all while trying to maintain a social life. Time and time again, the student-athlete is experience always comes out as a highlight of my overall college experience. I love that I now get to represent the University in my job and chat with prospective student-athletes about what it means to be a member of the Judges community.

How did your time as a student and student-athlete at Brandeis prepare you for your career and life after college?

Being a Brandeis student-athlete taught me a few essential lessons that have prepared me for life beyond college. 1. Time management is key. When practices, film sessions, team meetings, and long weekend trips conflicted and overlapped with important projects and exams for classes, knowing how to navigate those instances was key to success. 2. Thinking about the bigger picture. Sometimes, you’re going to have to do things to better the team. If this means letting the first-years play ahead of you, so be it! Having the team win as a whole is more important than you individually doing well. 3. Embracing failure. Sometimes we lost games we should have won. Sometimes I wasn't happy with my performance on the field. But those are just opportunities to learn from and improve upon for the next time- just like not getting a job or making a mistake on a project. Use failure as your motivation.

Do you have any advice for current or future Brandeis Student-Athletes?

1. Embrace rest days- we live in a culture that is driven by productivity. It is so important to recharge, both mentally and physically!
2. Savor every moment- Not everyone has this unique opportunity to compete in the sport they love. Four years goes by so fast!

Do you still keep in touch with any of your former Brandeis teammates?

Yes! Ali Theodore, Mimi Theodore, Fran (Shin) Davia, and Luke Teece (Men's Soccer) are all from the Class of 2012 and are still my closest friends from Brandeis! We've traveled together, lived together, attended each other's weddings, and frequently stay in touch reminiscing about UAA road trips and the copious amounts of food we used to consume during team dinners.

What personal or professional accomplishment(s) are you most proud of since you graduated?

Since graduating, I have run four marathons! The Boston Marathon in 2017 was by far my favorite - the energy in Boston that day was so electrifying and I got to see so many of my friends and family along the course. When I was a student-athlete, I definitely dreaded running, but it turns out that I love it! 

This interview was lightly edited for clarity.