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story.lead_photo.caption Photo courtesy of JBU Sports Information John Brown senior Jessica Schultz, No. 5, celebrates with her teammates during a JBU volleyball game last season.

Playing volleyball at John Brown University was the best decision I ever made. I never thought this would be the place that the Lord would bring me to, but I am so glad He did. My past four years have been filled with so much joy, and I am forever grateful for the relationships I built. I would have never expected the ways the Lord blessed me at JBU.

I chose John Brown University because it provided me an opportunity to play the sport I love and earn my nursing degree. It is hard to find a program that allows its student-athletes to major in nursing, and I am grateful for the sacrifices Coach Carver made to allow to me to be a part of this team. It was my life-long dream to play college volleyball and study nursing.

Being a student-athlete is no easy feat. It requires dedication, discipline and hard work, but it was the most rewarding experience. I am thankful for the support and flexibility of my professors, who always spent extra time to make sure I had what I needed to be successful. My time at JBU has equipped me to be a nurse and I am ready to step into my new career and share the love of Christ.

At JBU, I was pushed in all areas of my life: Physically, academically and spiritually. I saw improvement in my abilities on the court and in the classroom, but most importantly, I grew in my walk with the Lord. My relationship with the Lord has always been a priority, but at JBU, I was pushed to examine what I believe and why I believe it. I am forever grateful for the coaches, professors, and faculty that have shaped me into who I am today. I am leaving JBU with a deeper relationship with Christ and a bolder faith.

Looking back, I can't remember what games were won or lost, who we played, or how I performed. Trophies will always sit in cases and collect dust, but the memories and relationships formed with my teammates are what I take with me. JBU volleyball brought me lifelong relationships and I am forever grateful for the memories I made with my team. I will always cherish the time I spent at John Brown and the opportunity I had to represent my university. It was an honor to be a Golden Eagle.

-- Jessica Schultz, a three-time All-Sooner Athletic first team and 2019 NAIA All-America honorable mention selection, will graduate this spring with her nursing degree. She will now begin working in the cardiac unit at Northwest Medical Center in Bentonville, Ark. The opinions expressed are those of the author.

Sports on 05/17/2020

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