Sara Hey, a senior biology major on the University of Dallas softball team, began her softball career when she was too short for basketball. “My first love was basketball, and then I quickly found out that I really wasn’t built for that,” she said.
Influenced by her father, an avid baseball fan, Hey soon fell in love with softball. “It’s a very mental game, and I don’t think most people realize that. There’s a lot of strategizing that goes on on the field about positioning and approaches and it’s something that most people wouldn’t realize unless they knew the game really well,” she explained.
After playing competitively for over a decade, Hey decided the sport was something she needed to continue at the university level.
Hey became a Crusader after quite an unconventional college journey. “I actually took a full gap year during COVID. I also had surgery and I think it made sense for me personally to take a year off to work and recover,” she said.
Transferring twice, first from Belmont, then to Massachusetts, she finally realized that UD was the right fit for her moral and ethical values and the sense of community simply could not be beat. However, the transfer process was not as easy.
Hey said, “I’m not gonna lie, it was really tough. I remember I visited in August and I had to visit with four department heads to talk with them individually. But I’m really grateful and my family’s been supportive throughout the whole process.”
Her best advice for anyone going through the same thing was, “It’s helpful to get input from everybody, but at some point, it’s your decision. Stick to your guns!”
When asked if she ever felt overwhelmed juggling both pre-med requirements and being a college athlete, Hey said: “There have definitely been moments where I felt really overwhelmed and I had no idea how I was going to balance everything [but] I made a commitment to my teammates and I want to be there for them. It was also something that being a senior this year I wanted to see to its natural conclusion.”
As she concludes her college career, Hey reflected on some of her favorite memories with her team like crazy road trips and hitting her first grand slam. The best part about being a Crusader, according to Hey, is the sense of solidarity among all the students both on and off the field. She said being a student athlete at UD is unique, compared to any other college experience.
“I think I’ve got a really good educational basis in both the humanities and sciences here. I want to carry both aspects of that with me as I hopefully proceed on to medical school in treating the whole person, mind, body and spirit,” she said. “I probably would not have learned these things this comprehensively elsewhere.”
Hey also doubles as a certified EMT. Hey said the process of becoming one was pretty rigorous. She explained, “It’s a hyper intensive anatomy and physiology class, with the practical applications of how to treat the patient. Then you can go for your national certification, you have to pass a test and then you have to pass a psychomotor component where you do hands-on skills as if you were treating a patient.”
After graduation, Hey plans to take a gap year to apply for medical school and work as a medical assistant in Boston. Until then, you can find her studying in Braniff or the science labs with a double-shot dirty Chai in hand.