Transfer Student: MCLA was the Right Choice
It was a difficult decision for Rachel Quackenbush '16 of Hoosick Falls, N.Y., to transfer from Siena College in the middle of her first semester there, but an "amazing" academic experience and the opportunity to pitch for the Trailblazers on the softball team made MCLA the right choice.
"I am definitely happy with the decision I made because I have developed some great friendships while at MCLA," Quackenbush said.
"When I made the decision to leave Siena College (in Loudonville, N.Y.) I knew that a lot of people would be watching me to see if I could get myself together and play again," she continued. "I worked hard at every practice. I wanted to help out the team in any way I could because I knew the goal was to make the MASCAC tournament. I knew that I had to prove myself to everyone. That was my ultimate goal this season."
Quackenbush not only wrapped up the season by pitching in the championship game, she was one of two Trailblazers named to the All MASCAC Softball Team as a first team selection. She also was recognized as a MASCAC "Co-Rookie of the Year."
Going into the season, the women were projected to place seventh for the season. "So when we made it to the championship game, everyone was so excited. I don't think anyone slept the night before. To have a winning season in my first year of college athletics was huge. I definitely will never forget it," Quackenbush explained.
Despite losing the final game, "It was one of the greatest experiences I have ever been a part of," she said. "The girls and I worked hard to get to that point and played very well. I have played in very big games in my softball career but I think that was one of the most rewarding since I was able to do it with such an amazing group of people."
"It's a small school, close to home, and came with a lot less pressure than Division One Siena did," she explained. As a resident of Hoosick Falls, N.Y., Quackenbush also took advantage of MCLA's Advantage New York (ANY) tuition reduction program, which saves her about $8,500 each year.
A psychology major, Quackenbush is most interested in how the brain transmits messages to the body to create a reaction, and understanding why people do the things they do. She aspires to become a psychologist who works with athletes to help them prepare mentally for the big games, and to deal with any emotional issues they might have.
"Student-athletes deal with different problems than an ordinary student would, plus the athletics psychologist understands the way an athlete thinks and is better able to help them," she explained. "I see myself in this role because I am very into athletics. I come from an athletic family and I love the atmosphere of the game!"
A commuter student, Quackenbush has friends who live on campus, so she often hangs out in their rooms between classes. "The social life at MCLA is good. Everyone is friendly! I find that I, too, am friendlier now that I know people are willing to sit and talk, even though they do not know you."
At MCLA, Quackenbush finds the professors caring and willing to take time out to help her with any issue she might have. "The classroom sizes are perfect, and everyone can interact," she added. "The people really do care, and the staff is excellent about working with student-athletes to help them juggle both school and sports."