Dream Big: Never Say Never
Jan. 18, 2006
For the average student-athlete, balancing athletics with academics can at times be extremely complicated and frustrating. The schedule for the average student-athlete consists of conditioning, class, practice, weight training, and a lengthy travel schedule.
At some point, almost every student-athlete will wonder if it is really worth it.
For Indiana senior soccer player and Academic All-Big Ten selection Robin Barker, it is worth the challenges when it comes to balancing athletics with academics. Barker is pursuing her nursing degree and working in a local hospital.
Not only has she set the standard for the younger teammates who look up to her for advice, but she has made a lot of doubters into believers.
Currently, IU has two other student-athletes that have ambitions very similar to Barker's.
Barker recalls three years ago when she arrived to the Bloomington campus as a freshman. "When I came to IU, the academic advisors told me that I would not be able to study nursing and compete in athletics, because I would not have time for my clinicals and make time for practice."
Barker was convinced that nursing and health care is something she has always dreamed of doing from the time she was a high school student. In Barker's opinion, to get to college and accept `no' for an answer and be turned away was unacceptable and not about to happen.
"I'll give it a shot and see what happens" said Barker. She is driven by the challenging and intensive atmosphere that she experiences when playing soccer. "I love a challenge. It makes things more fun."
She credits her drive and competitiveness to her two older brothers and sisters. "My two older brothers did a really great job of helping me get stronger. It was also nice having two sisters to play sports against."
Competitive drive runs in the Barker family. One of her oldest brothers is a successful lawyer and both of her sisters work in international business, having the opportunity to travel all around the world.
Before practice, Barker goes to her clinical where she serves as an assistant to the registered nurse and works with patients in the pediatric intensive care unit at Riley Children's Hospital. She immediately heads over to practice after her shift and has to attend mandatory weight training at the conclusion of practice.
"On the soccer field you can be as tough and aggressive as you want, but in nursing you have to be more caring." This is perhaps one of the hardest things she will have to overcome in her new profession, but she is up for the challenge.
Her last game to suit up in Crimson and Cream came on October, 27 where the Hoosiers faced rival Purdue in a heated battle. "It was such a great game. Our team played the best we ever played. We had never beat Purdue, and we ended up tying them 1-1."
Now that her playing days are over she has the future to look forward to and that future looks to be very promising for the pediatric nurse.
"I never accepted `no' for an answer. I want to prove people wrong and show them that you can do what you want."