Faculty of Health graduand finds balance between social, academics and sportBy Suzanne Bowness Writer
Trisha Cho is not only a powerhouse on the ice, but an excellent student who embodies leadership and hard work. A varsity hockey player who is graduating this spring with a BA in Recreation and Sport Business and a minor in Event Management, she joins 587 Faculty of Health students at this term’s convocation celebrations. She will return in the fall to begin a master’s in Recreation and Leisure Studies.
Cho has been playing hockey since she was four years old. Starting out in a boys’ league, she joined a girls’ league in grade 8 before being called up to the Provincial Women’s Hockey League, where she played the rest of her high-school career.
Not surprisingly, she was recruited for the Waterloo Warriors, where she has played defence. She is looking forward to continuing with the team when she starts her master’s degree this fall.
While Cho focuses on the camaraderie and teamwork that she’s gained from playing varsity, she also helped her team to the best season in their history and scored an overtime goal to clinch Waterloo’s 13th win of the season.
She was named an Ontario University Athletics West Second-Team All-Star, and her trophy shelf includes the Michael T. Sharratt Award, the Ron May Memorial Award and the Catherine and Feridun Hamdullahpur Athletic Excellence Award.
Cho calls these awards motivational and says she appreciates the support. "It means a lot because I know there are people behind me who believe in my abilities and success."
Yet the real joy for Cho is not so much in awards as playing with her team. "I love team sports because of the culture, friends and social aspect. There’s so much that you can learn from others. All the strengths from other people create a unique team and way of playing on ice," she says.
"People push you, and you’re pushing other people to give it everything you’ve got. When you have the right crew, it’s very motivational."
Despite her athletic lifestyle, Cho still made time for other activities, playing ultimate frisbee in her off-seasons, and participating as a mentor in the Rise Up program, which pairs first-year athletes with senior-year mentors. She’s also worked as a power skating instructor and a server, and she and her roommates even trained a guide dog for the Lions Foundation of Canada.
With degree in hand, Cho is excited for both the continuity of playing with the Warriors, as well as the challenge of her new master’s degree. She is currently assisting Professor Katie Misener as a research assistant on a project called "Active Together" to create a pilot workout program designed for parents to join their kids in recreational sports, rather than standing on the sidelines.
As for the future, Cho’s interest was piqued by a practicum course in venue management, where she worked alongside the Kitchener-Waterloo Titans basketball team. "I’m a people person," says Cho. "I love public service and dealing with people."
Cho encourages others to make sure their school lives are balanced. "Make sure you love what you’re doing, because then you put a lot more effort and heart into it," says Cho.
"What’s really underrated is finding a balance between social, academics and sport, and being able to manage all of that without feeling overwhelmed. Even as a varsity athlete, I try not to take my athletic identity too seriously because that is not only who I am as a person."
She also acknowledges those who helped her achieve groundedness in her own life, including coach Shaun Regan, academic advisor Sara Houston and, like many athletes, the hockey parents who have driven her around all these years.