What were some key reasons you decided to attend Guilford?

I decided to attend Guilford because I knew I would get what I wanted out of my college experience, to play volleyball and get a great education. I was also drawn to the small class sizes and the family atmosphere that Guilford provided. I knew at Guilford I would be more than a number and I wanted to feel embraced by my college community.

What were some factors that helped you realize the success you enjoyed as a student at Guilford?

Guilford is such a unique college experience that I did not appreciate until I attended a big university and became that unidentifiable number that I had tried so hard to avoid. The faculty at Guilford is willing to go the extra mile. With the small class sizes, I was able to build long-lasting friendships with my professors and employers. They always had enough time or were willing to make it in order to help. Guilford fostered my learning in a new way and when I went Duke, I was more than prepared for my next challenge. I was confident in myself, the education I received, and the people who believed in me. I could also crank out a paper faster than any of my classmates!

What were some factors that helped you realize the success you enjoyed as an athlete at Guilford?

My coaches and teammates were a big part of realizing my success. Coach Gann became a big part of my support system at Guilford. She was always willing to spend the time to listen but was also there to push me past my own limitations. My teammates also were another big piece of my support system and to this day, I remain close with some of them. No matter where life has taken us, we still manage to be a part of one another’s lives. There’s a special bond when you share blood, sweat, tears, and concussions with a group of girls. College athletics is truly a special experience. With my teammates and coaches help, I was not only able to improve as an athlete, but also as a student, teammate, leader, and friend.

What have you been up to since you left Guilford?

Since I left Guilford, I have attended nursing school at Duke University. While there, I got to see the greatest rivalry in sports as a Cameron Crazie. I finished nursing school this May and have taken a job with UNC Healthcare as a critical care nurse. This July I married my childhood sweetheart and we relocated to Chapel Hill.

How has Guilford prepared you for where you are today?

While I was at Guilford I learned how to manage my time and find time for things that mattered most to me with an extremely busy schedule. This helped me balance the stress of nursing school, studying, clinicals, and planning a wedding while at Duke. Now, it helps me balance my career and personal life. I believe it’s key to find the right balance in life and not letting anything become all-consuming.

 What about your experience as a Guilford student-athlete has helped you the most?

Being a collegiate student-athlete taught me how to be resilient. Collegiate athletics is mentally and physically challenging. You constantly have to perform at a higher level or you will be replaced. Not only are you expected to perform on the court, but also in the classroom. However, a significant amount of your time is committed to practice, lifting, meetings, and traveling, unlike other college students. You have to find the balance to be a good student, athlete, daughter, friend, and coworker. Being an athlete taught me that life isn’t always going to go your way, but you must be willing to put in the effort to prepare for all of your opportunities. This has reigned true for me with every curveball life has thrown at me since graduating from Guilford.       

What do you miss most about Guilford?

From Guilford, I most miss the people. Guilford has a sense of community and equality amongst faculty, staff, and students’ that makes it feel special. Guilford is its own special bubble and offers an experience that no other college could. Rarely, could I walk across campus without running into someone I knew. At Guilford, I always felt like I was a part of something greater than just me and that my contributions mattered.  Still, to this day, I make connections with other Guilford alumni and we instantly share a bond that no one else understands.

What are your future plans?

Right now, I am focused on being the best nurse I can be and gaining as much knowledge from those around me. I love my job and being a part of UNC Healthcare. I think it’s the best place I could have started my career. In the future, my ultimate goal would be to receive my Doctorate of Nursing Practice. In the meantime, I’m just trying to take it all in, enjoy the experience, and figure out the impact I want to have on nursing.

What is one thing a high school student-athlete considering college needs to know?

For those considering it, I would hope they know it is a huge time commitment and more will always be expected of you. However, it is one of the most rewarding experiences. Very few athletes get the chance to play at the collegiate level, embrace it. All of the early morning workouts and late night road trips are worth it. Find the beauty in the challenges you face and expect more of yourself. Enjoy being an athlete, but don’t forget to be a part of the greater community. Guilford as a whole can offer so much more. Find yourself and your voice in a place that challenges everything you have ever known. Guilford’s seven core values- equality, stewardship, justice, community, diversity, excellence, and integrity still ring true in every aspect of my life and how I approach people. Those characteristics don’t go unnoticed by others.

Identify and describe one or two of your favorite moments or experiences while at Guilford.

Serendipity was always one of my favorite parts of every year because it brought together all athletes and non-athletes for a weekend. We all just enjoyed being Guilford students together. It is such a neat celebration that is unique to Guilford. Of course one of my other favorite moments was anytime we beat Greensboro!

-Meredith Dunzweiler '13