Indiana freshman Megan Pipkens has a `can do' attitude. From being the first player from Holt, Michigan to be named Miss Soccer to starting as a freshman on the IU soccer squad, there is little that gets in Megan's way.
"Every time I step out onto the field, I know I have to prove myself in order to succeed in the goals that I want," says Megan. "Otherwise, I just don't think I'd feel like I'd be accomplishing what I want and what I can do."
Megan was named Michigan's Miss Soccer in 2003, an honor that came as quite a surprise. She won the title representing Holt High School in central Michigan. According to Megan, the honor is usually given to players from schools in larger cities, such as the suburbs of Detroit.
Megan earned a start in her very first game as a Hoosier, and scored her first goal in the fifth game of the season when IU downed Butler, 3-0. She has gone on to start 13 of 15 games so far this season. She admits to being a little nervous at first, but it didn't take long for the young defender to find her confidence.
"Now I know I can do it and now I have so many more goals and things to prove to myself," she says. "That was the first step I needed to take, but now I have a lot more things in mind."
Megan was reluctant to share her goals, but added that something like being named the Big Ten Freshman of the Year would be "pretty cool."
Perhaps a spot on the U.S. Olympic soccer team would be another goal. Megan has been a part of the Olympic Development Team (ODP) for several years, so representing her country wouldn't be out of the question. In January, she participated in an ODP Interregional event in Chula Vista, California at the Olympic Training Center. Megan felt she thrived at the ODP event because it was a different environment than high school or college soccer.
"I learned a lot about myself," she said. "You really have to strive to prove yourself."
Her experiences on the field at the Olympic Training Center and success in high school helped prepare Megan for the transition into collegiate soccer. But playing at a high level also gave Megan the skills she would need to be a successful student-athlete at Indiana.
In high school, Megan was involved in many different activities, such as Student Council, Students Against Drunk Driving, Environmental Club, and band, as well as serving a captain for both her high school soccer and gymnastics squads. These activities were in addition to driving an hour to soccer practice every day. The result was the development of excellent time-management skills that prepared her for the smooth transition into college.
"I had to learn ways to do things then, so I'm used to organizing my time," she explains. Sometimes, her social life takes a hit as a result of time management, but it's not a big deal to Megan. "When people are going out, I'm okay with staying in," she says.
Megan has the talent, skills, and work habits, on and off the field that will take her far at Indiana and beyond. But ultimately, her college experience won't be measured by a box score or grade report.
"You know how people say they don't ever want to leave college? I want that feeling when I leave," she says. "I want to be able to have so many friends that I'm going to be able to stay connected with all over the country."
With her determination and can-do attitude, Megan will be able to succeed in many endeavors at Indiana. She has some valuable advice for those who also wish to dream big.
"My advice is to strive big and that anybody can do anything they want to."