In The Locker Room with Nichole Geist, Women’s Basketball Player

When College junior women’s basketball player Nichole Geist isn’t with her team, she’s in the library making graphs, memorizing scientific terms, and studying her textbooks as a Neuroscience and Biology double-major. The Sterling Heights, MI, native also keeps herself busy by helping out with the Student Athletic Advisory Committee and playing with the cats in Ginko Gallery. This summer she organized a lung cancer fundraiser, helping raise $3,000.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.


What drew you to Oberlin?

I actually had a really good prospie experience, and I’ve always been a huge fan of basketball. I’ve loved basketball since I was a freshman in high school. I really liked the way Oberlin’s campus was set up and how tight-knit it was.

This summer you raised $3,000 at a lung cancer awareness event you spearheaded. What drove you to do this?

It stemmed from me tearing my ACL. What happened was, I had torn my ACL, and within that same month I got a call from my mom that my godmother had stage IV lung cancer. So that put things in perspective. Like “I’m going to recover, but there’s no guarantee that [she’ll] recover.” Also, during that same time, someone who was really important to me in my life was going through a similar situation with his grandpa. That also played a role, like, “Hey, I should probably do something for this organization.” I did some research on good lung cancer organizations, and at first I was just going to donate money, but I figured, why not do something different so I [could] incorporate goals that I have for myself, like getting back to running and getting back to doing things that I could do before my ACL? But that year it didn’t work out because ACL rehab is really hard. So I ended up planning it for this past summer, and it was a super cool experience. We had a great turnout; we raised over $3,000.

I also ended up doing this push-up thing where I did a push-up for every dollar someone donated, and they ended up donating $2,000. So it was crazy! It was a super cool experience, and I loved every minute of it.

What are some setbacks you’ve experienced as a student-athlete?

I would definitely say my knee has been my biggest setback. When I tore my ACL [my first year], that was my first big injury, so it was very much a shock. I, for one, really struggled with the recovery just because I rely on exercise as an outlet, and when I didn’t have that it was really hard for me to adjust. Eventually though, once I got through the first three months, everything after that was pretty smooth sailing. I also struggle with focusing during practice a little bit, but also with the ACL it helped me focus on practice and [watching] the plays.

What about fitness do you love so much?

Like I said, it’s an outlet. I love the runner’s high that you get after a really good workout. I was really into lifting this past summer, getting back from my knee stuff. I was never super strong before surgery, which probably plays a role in why I tore my ACL. So I made a pact to myself [that] I will never let that happen again, so I really hit leg day hard.

How is the team looking this year?

Honestly, I think that we’re young this year, but there’s a lot of potential and a lot of experience to be gained. Once we learn the roles that everybody plays, I think we’re going to do really well. I’m confident in that, as long as we avoid injury.

What are you planning to do after graduation?

My goal is to go to [Physicians Assistant] school. I’m actually going to a PA school info and interview session this week. It’s actually one of the schools that I would like to look at, [so] it’s super exciting. I got my EMT certification this summer, so I can work after graduation to get the [hands-on patient care] hours.