More from The Q&A: Danielle Zanotti
Four years have passed since Danielle Zanotti was honored as our girls scholar-athlete of the year.
I caught up with her last week as we were preparing to celebrate this year’s scholar-athletes. Zanotti, who played basketball and ran track and cross country at Mustang High School, recently completed her basketball career at Kansas State and is one semester from graduating with a degree in psychology.
Jenni Carlson: You know, every year when the scholar-athletes are honored, I think about all of you past winners and how prepared all of you seem for college. Were you ready to go?
Danielle Zanotti: I don’t think I was unprepared, but everybody has to transition from high school to college in sports and in school. It really is a different game. On the court, it’s a lot faster pace, there’s more pressure, expectations are higher, it’s more physical, so you’re transitioning on the court. Then, you come to school. I’ve always enjoyed classes, I’ve always enjoyed reading, but you can get away with not reading a whole lot in high school. In college, it’s just a lot more intense. So to be transitioning in both huge areas of your life, that can be difficult.
JC: Anything you wish you would’ve known then that you know now?
DZ: On the court in high school, you can get away with just maybe being the tallest or the most athletic. Your weaknesses may not be exposed in high school. In college, everything is exposed. Everybody’s athletic. Everybody’s taller and bigger and faster. I wish that I’d had my weaknesses maybe brought to my attention more. I wish that I’d dedicated more time to working on my outside shot. In high school, I was a post player; in college, I was a guard.
JC: You were recently nominated for the Marshall Scholarship, which is like the Rhodes Scholarship. What’s the timeline for the process?
DZ: You have a personal statement. It’s like an essay about your life and how it ties into your academic goals. Basically, I’ve always wanted to work with children with cancer, but now I’ve kind of broadened it to working with children with any type of trauma, whether it be natural disasters or terrorism or sexual assault or cancer. There’s a couple of doctors working over there looking at the cognitive processes behind kids dealing with trauma. I have a couple of study proposals. You also have to have essays for your proposed study at both schools, another essay about why you need to study there, then there’s a very exhaustive interview process. There’s about 200 applicants per region. Then they narrow it down to about 15 to 20 per region. Then they ask you to come to an interview. There’s eight regions. Three (selections) is the minimum. My application is due in September. Now, I’m basically reading the newspaper like a mad woman because current events is a big part of the interview process. Just reading up a lot and working on revising my essay.
JC: One of the things I was going to ask you is what’s next, but it sounds like it’s a little up in the air.
DZ: It is. It’s kind of difficult because I don’t have anything narrowed down, and I’m kind of a type A personality so it kind of bothers me. But I try to think of it as a good thing because I have a couple different options. I have one more semester left until I graduate in psychology, then I’m committed to being a graduate assistant (on the Kansas State women’s basketball team) at least next year. I’ll start a master’s, probably in sports administration because they don’t have a clinical psych program here at K-State. Then, if this GA thing pans out and I can get an assistant coaching position, I’d love to stay at K-State. But I eventually want to get my PhD in clinical psych.
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