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Florida Tech Panther Scholar-Athlete Spotlight honors volleyball player Lilian Muszynski

Cajuste studies computer science

Being an athletic scholarship student at Florida Tech requires an incredible amount of hard work and dedication to excel both in the classroom and on the field. We caught up with Panther volleyball player Lilian Muszynski, a third-year sports management student, for this edition of Scholar-Athlete Spotlight. (Image from Florida Tech)

BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – Being an athletic scholarship student at Florida Tech requires an incredible amount of hard work and dedication to excel both in the classroom and on the field. We caught up with Panther volleyball player Lilian Muszynski, a third-year sports management student, for this edition of Scholar-Athlete Spotlight.

The Pickerington, Ohio native has recorded 332 kills, 115 block assists, 47 block solos and 38 digs in three seasons with the Crimson and Gray.

Muszynski was named to the Sunshine State Conference Commissioner’s and Florida Tech Athletic Director’s Honor Rolls after her first two seasons.

We talked to Lilian about how she juggles everything and what she wants to do with her degree.

Tell us about your major, why you chose it and what you want to do with it.

I am currently entering my final year of college and will be pursuing a degree in sports management.

I grew up playing sports and my older brother grew up playing sports too, so I watched a lot of his games and was often involved in different competitions, whether it was on a swim team or playing volleyball.

Our parents always encouraged us to try all kinds of sports, so it was always a big part of my life and I knew I wanted to do something in the sports industry, but I wasn’t sure what exactly I wanted to do.

I knew I didn’t want to play after my college career, but I thought sports management would be a good way for me to stay in the sports industry and still get a business degree and pursue my passion for sports. I think my goal is to hopefully work for a professional sports team here next year since I graduate in December. I’m looking forward to finding an internship this summer and hopefully working for a professional sports team.

■ Volleyball season starts almost immediately after students return from the summer. How do you make sure you keep up with your studies when you return to your sport after the break?

We’re lucky because we get to move in a few weeks earlier than everyone else, so we can get a little bit more used to our schedule. I have time to set up my room, figure out what it’s going to be like with new roommates and things like that, so that’s a positive.

It also helps because I’ve taken summer courses every year since my freshman year to prepare, so I kind of stuck with the school mentality and never really stopped, so it’s been pretty good to just stay consistent on the path forward.

It’s also nice because we’ll have the preseason behind us. We have two training sessions every day for a week and a half until school starts, so I’m getting a bit used to sticking to the schedule.

It’s nice to be busy all the time and you get used to having something to do all the time and when you add homework and things like that to the mix, it makes the transition to playing and traveling at the beginning of the school year easy.

■ Is there a teammate or fellow athlete with whom you have become a learning partner?

All of us in business school, whether it’s someone younger than me or someone a little older, we often talk to each other and say, “Hey, did you have that professor?” or “Hey, did you take that class?”

What have you been doing?’ We all work together in that regard, and that’s not just the guys on the volleyball team, but other athletes as well. We all work together as a big group and we’re really good at collaborating by sending information or saying, ‘Hey, do you want to do a group project together?’ So in that sense, everyone in the athletic department, all of us business kids, work together on different projects, schoolwork, assignments to get through our busy, crazy schedules.

■ What do you need to make the most of your study time? Do you have a playlist or do you need to be alone in a room?

When we’re out and about and have a specific time to study (which is usually one of the days when we’re staying in a hotel), I put on a good playlist or have a TV show on in the background and have some kind of noise on to help me focus. Then I sit down and start working and try to break that down into small chunks.

So if I’m working for 30 minutes, I’ll take 10 minutes for myself and reset my brain a little bit. When I’m at home, I’ll put a movie on in the background and just let it play on the TV.

It’s something I’ve seen several times and don’t really bother with, but it keeps me focused and keeps me moving forward with a process. I also try to spend as little time on a task as possible so I don’t get overly distracted when I’m doing multiple tasks in a row.

■ How did your time as a college athlete prepare you for what you do now, and are there lessons you learned on the field that you can apply to your studies?

Oh, of course. I think sports prepare me for everything in life. I mean, there have been struggles, hardships, we’ve had ups and downs, there are things you can only accomplish when you’re with a group of teammates who push you to be a better person.

I think the fact that our coaches are always striving to get the best out of us and our teammates make sure that we commit ourselves to staying at that high level has really helped me understand how to work together in a team, how to work under pressure and how to manage my time really well.

Our schedules are basically set 24 hours a day, right down to the times we sleep. I find this really good because it helps me understand how to focus and motivate myself, work through tasks, set goals and so on. All of these things, along with working as a team and setting individual goals for myself, have all somehow played a role in what makes an athlete stronger and better and what will help me succeed in the future working world.

■ What advice would you give to an athlete coming to Florida Tech who is interested in sports management?

If you want to go into sports management, I think you should love sports, you should love what you do, and you should enjoy being part of an organization where people compete and strive to be their best and that inspires you to want to be your best.

I think if you love the drive of being in a high-level atmosphere that’s constantly changing and moving, and where things are at an absolute high when you could just win a national championship, or at an absolute low when the season could go 0-27 or whatever it may be, you have to know how to adjust to that.

If you like that pressure and high intensity, you will love sports management and enjoy working with different groups of people, whether it’s in marketing, media, operations or whatever you like, all of that can play a big role in your career in sports management.

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