Established 1874.

The Oberlin Review

Established 1874.

The Oberlin Review

Established 1874.

The Oberlin Review

In The Locker Room with Maya Blevins, Dual-Sport Athlete and Adventurer

Photo courtesy of Amanda Phillips
Blevins poses for media day.

Maya Blevins is a fourth-year majoring in Psychology and Environmental Studies. She is working in two labs this semester, one for each major, with Professor of Psychology and Environmental Studies Cindy Frantz and Assistant Professor of Psychology Christine S. Wu. Blevins is also a Peer Advising Leader, Public Relations Officer of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee, and a member of both the women’s soccer and lacrosse teams. 

Blevins has been a part of the women’s soccer leadership committee for the past two years, which consists of six other members. When Head Women’s Soccer Coach Taylor Houck joined the team, Houck turned the captain system to a leadership committee system. The committee’s main goals are to uphold team values, which represent the phrase “OC Love”; lead by example; and provide support for teammates. They also help energize the team, keeping them focused on excelling in conference play and making the North Coast Atlantic Conference tournament.

“It has worked so well for our team,” Blevins said. “I feel like having all the leaders who are in the leadership group with different strengths and personalities really works well, and is able to bond the team in really great ways. I’m so grateful to have the other leaders. With captains, it can be only one or two people [leading], and I think it’s great that we have a large group of leadership.”

Though Blevins is currently injured, she is confident in the team’s abilities this season. She is also thankful for those who have stepped up in her absence and helped to replace the presence of former team leader Camille Franklin, OC ʼ23. 

“Genuinely, I’ve been so impressed by all my teammates so far,” Blevins said. “I think we look really good. This is honestly the best team since I got here… we only lost one person last year and brought on three new players. The transition and playing together this year has been really seamless. The new players fit right into our team, and I’m really, really excited for this season. I am confident [that] with this team we can not only make it to the tournament, but win the whole thing!”

Aside from soccer, Blevins walked onto the lacrosse team her first year and has been part of the team since. People ask her a lot about the similarities and differences between soccer and lacrosse. She claims that the fitness and strategy of both sports have a lot of overlap and the differences mostly come from the personalities from the team, which she is appreciative of. 

“I’m so lucky that I get 40 automatic family members within my teammates, and it’s kind of fun to see how those dynamics play out with the different people on my team,” she said. 

One difficult decision Blevins had to make was to give up her third lacrosse season in order to go abroad to Auckland, New Zealand, where she lived for seven months. Her teammates were supportive and understanding of her decision, which she is extremely grateful for. Blevins would watch all the livestreams of the team’s games, even with the 16-hour time difference.  

While abroad, her university offered unique classes, including a Pacific Studies course that she took along with an introduction to photography course. Blevins was a big fan of New Zealand’s food, such as their cheese and garlic scones, butter chicken pot pie, and coffee — since dairy is the country’s largest export. 

“I have always wanted to go to New Zealand since I was really little,” she said. “Growing up, I went to an overnight summer camp for two weeks every year. I had a lot of Kiwi counselors and they were always so fun and so nice. So ever since I was little, I think I had a good impression as I got older. I really loved New Zealand’s response to COVID-19, their connection with nature, and their relationship with their environment — that really pulled me in. Then, of course, I’m a Lord of the Rings fan.”

The Lord of the Rings trilogy was filmed in the North and South Islands of New Zealand. When asked about her favorite character, she immediately responded with Legolas.

While abroad, Blevins had the opportunity to participate in outdoor thrills. This includes riding the Nevis Swing — the world’s largest swing — upside down. The swing hangs over a canyon and has a 300-meter arc. Her spring break included traveling around New Zealand and living out of a car for two and a half weeks with friends. She also traveled to Australia and hit Sydney, Cairns, Brisbane, and the Gold Coast. While in Australia, she had the chance to scuba dive in the Great Barrier Reef. 

Most importantly, studying abroad changed Blevins’ understanding of the world and different cultures. 

“It can kind of be a cliché to say after studying abroad, but I am convinced that my global perspective of the world has completely shifted,” Blevins said. “It’s one thing to learn about and completely another thing to go and live there and really immerse yourself in somewhere new. To see how other people see the world … is so valuable.”

Living alone for more than half a year can be a big step as a college student. However, Blevins felt that she grew from taking care of herself and being on her own in a new place. 

“I totally feel like I have newfound confidence in myself that I could go and live somewhere new, create my own support system, and build my own schedule,” she said. “Traveling takes a lot of planning. I haven’t been able to do so much self-organized traveling.”

To keep active, Blevins joined Auckland Central United, a club soccer team in the city that plays matches against other local club teams. Since lacrosse isn’t as big in New Zealand, her lacrosse playing was limited only to practices. One of Blevins’ highlights was playing in the interfaculty futsal tournament at her university abroad, in which teams consisted of students from each school division. Her team, the Science Spartans, won the tournament, dominating the finals 3-1. As a soccer fan, Blevins also witnessed two World Cup games, one between New Zealand and Norway, and the other between Vietnam and the United States. 

Being back at Oberlin, Blevins is excited for this upcoming year. 

“I’m looking forward to making the most out of my [fourth-year], really trying to stay present in the moment, and enjoy the company of all the good people I’ve met here,” Blevins said.

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