Claire Mackenzie volleyball headshotMy time on the women's volleyball team was the most amazing experience of my life. I learned a lot from my five years of going to school, balancing class, exams, volleyball practice and games on the weekend. I had to learn how to be good at time management while having time for leisure activities outside of school and volleyball. Over the years, it got easier and easier to balance my time and it became first nature to me. I always managed to get work done and put in time in the weight room, while also eating the right food to stay in shape.

One thing I learned as a varsity athlete that will follow me for the rest of my life is that dedication and believing in myself will go a long way. I focused so much in the weight room, in practice, with food, organizing school and my job. I made sure I also did the little things such as stretch everyday, roll out everyday and see my physiotherapist and acupuncturist. Those things went a long way in my experience with volleyball. I was so dedicated and I wanted to win, and I believed in myself and the team. We went to the final four, which I never expected within my years at school. In the beginning, it was hard to believe in myself — but once you do, you can do anything you want.

The thing that made my experience on the Waterloo team was being with the girls everyday on the court. I have been with some of these girls for five years, and they have been my family. I wouldn't be where I am today without them, and our friendship will never be forgotten. We have been through everything together and had each other’s backs every step of the way in our university career. They will always be my family. 

Claire Mackenzie is a graduating student in Recreation and Leisure Studies. In March, she was awarded the Marsden Trophy as female athlete of the year after a standout season with the women’s volleyball team. Mackenzie capped off an illustrious five-year career, winning OUA bronze on home court after leading her team to a program’s best, 17-2 regular season record.