A Graduation Story - Setting & Achieving Goals

An education is something no one can take away from San Jose State University women's water polo player Alyssa Friesen who made personal strides in the pool and in the classroom during her four years as a student-athlete.

"It has taken me four years to get to this point and I can't even believe I'm a college graduate, that really means a lot to me," said Friesen who is a three-time San Jose State Scholar-Athlete Award recipient. "Going out into the workforce with a college degree makes you credible and marketable and that is really important to me.

The Fresno, Calif. native entered college undeclared, but found a major that utilized her strengths in writing and public speaking.

"Coming into college I didn't know what I wanted to do so I took classes in different areas during my first two years," Friesen added. "I really liked writing and speaking and after taking my first communications class, everything just clicked."

For the communications studies major that also minored in child development, everything also clicked in the pool.

"My goal this year was to work as hard as I could and give it all I could," stated Friesen. "My central focus was to be more of an asset to the team, whether that's offensively or defensively, or even just a team leader in the social aspect. Anything to bring more to my team was my goal."

Defeating Hawaii during this year's Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) women's water polo tournament was Friesen's highlight of her water polo career at San Jose State. The Spartans entered the quarterfinal round on April 29 as the sixth seed and would face #3-seed Hawaii.

"Our team believed we could win and nobody else did," said Friesen. "When we actually beat Hawaii and played that great of a game, all four years of hard work came together."

Friesen hopes to take her applied skills she learned as a student-athlete to use in getting an internship over the summer in public relations. She also may enroll back into school to obtain a teaching credential to further her career.

"An education is something no one can take away from me. I'm just really glad I got to experience being both a student and an athlete," stated Friesen, the May 2011 college graduate.

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