Wearing Two Uniforms: The Life of Sarah Robinson
October 23, 2014
SAINT MARY OF THE WOODS, Ind. - Commitment. This is what defines Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College senior Sarah Robinson. Robinson is a member of the SMWC soccer team and maintains one of the highest GPA’s on the team. It’s clear she has made a commitment to being a student-athlete and stellar representative of the SMWC community, but her definition of commitment goes deeper than that.
Between the practices, the studying, and the overall hustle and bustle of being a college senior, Robinson has committed herself to the Kentucky National Guard. That’s right; the senior midfielder not only represents SMWC, but the United States of America and her home state of Kentucky.
The decision to join the National Guard was one that she made even before deciding to join the Pomeroys. The Shelbyville, Ky., native enlisted in 2011 when she was just a junior in high school. The following summer before her senior year, the 17 year old dropped everything and headed to basic training in Fort Sill, Oklahoma.
Following that summer in Oklahoma, she graduated early from high school and headed off to Advanced Individual Training (AIT) in May of 2012, where she was trained as a chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) specialist.
In high school, she walked into classrooms and all she had to fear were pop quizzes. In AIT, she walked into live nerve agent chambers and worked in hazmat where she encountered things much more dangerous than any pop quiz. “In AIT, I worked with several chemicals and practiced several situations that were extremely dangerous,” said Sarah.
The commitment it takes to say goodbye to half of your senior year of high school can be understood by few, but the commitment it takes to leave home and train is something understood by even less. But, for Sarah it is life; it’s what her family has always done. Many of her family members have served the United States in various branches of the military. “It runs in the family. However, I am the first woman in my family to join any form of military service,” replied Sarah, when asked how she got involved with joining the National Guard. “It was something I just wanted to do.”
“I’d find all of my dad’s old army gear when I was little and thought it was really cool. I contribute my joining to my father,” stated Sarah.
After AIT, Sarah took on the challenge of becoming a student-athlete at SMWC. She arrived on campus in August after getting back from AIT. The Pomeroys had already been practicing, but Sarah jumped right in because for her there is no hesitation, as she has proved time and time again.
In high school, Sarah began getting college looks as a sophomore before tearing her ACL and missing her junior season. Without hesitation, Sarah came back her senior year and competed. She then didn’t hesitate to join the guard, she didn’t hesitate when she graduated high school early and left everything and everyone she knew for training, and again she didn’t hesitate as a freshman soccer player joining the team weeks after practice had gotten underway and bonds had already been forming.
The first couple of weeks were challenging, as she was a newbie and her teammates had already been together for several weeks. It got easier though once she settled in, and she found that her connection to the military was not only accepted, but embraced and celebrated here at The Woods. “Here (at SMWC) I have received so much support from the faculty, staff, and my classmates. Everyone is very understanding of my commitments and is constantly thanking me,” mentioned Sarah.
As Sarah began to thrive at SMWC, she couldn’t help but credit her training. “In college, being a student-athlete forces you to juggle a lot of things, but I think my training helped prepare me for it. It gave me the discipline needed to be successful.”
While the guard has helped her at SMWC, the Pomeroys have also helped her in the guard. Being a young college student has helped her bring a unique perspective to her training and platoon. “Being at SMWC has opened my eyes to many new perspectives and ways of solving problems, which allows me to bring a lot to my platoon,” added Sarah.
The relationship has worked wonderfully for both the Pomeroys and Sarah. SMWC gained a quality student-athlete, and Sarah has been able to live the life of commitment that she wants, something that she feels she wouldn’t get at other schools. “I am so grateful for Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College. I can’t image being anywhere else. Everyone has been tremendous as I have had to balance my many responsibilities with school, athletics, and the National Guard.”
The commitment is real. Sarah has had to miss matches, practices, and classes due to her training responsibilities, yet she has never wavered on her decision to juggle the many things that she currently does.
In the blink of an eye, the 17 year old who went off for military training and eventually joined the SMWC soccer team, is now almost halfway through her final year of college. Impressively, Sarah is graduating a year early in this coming May of 2015. That’s right, not only has she juggled her many responsibilities with much success, but she has done so on a level much higher than most would expect. After just three years, Sarah as accumulated enough credits to leave with an SMWC degree in May. “It has taken a great deal of balancing, that’s for sure, but it has been a great experience. I am so grateful for all the support I have received from the Saint Mary-of-the-Woods community,” expressed Sarah.
The elementary education major has a desire to be a teacher, but she has not discounted looking into other military options. She has mentioned looking into becoming a full time member of the National Guard. She still has three and half years on her current contract and two years as an active reserve. Sarah acknowledges that the threat of being deployed is something that she thinks about but is prepared for.
In May, after three years of excelling on the soccer pitch and in the classroom, Sarah will not only be a member of the National Guard, but a proud SMWC alumna.
SMWC Athletics thanks Sarah for her commitment to the National Guard and to Pomeroy Athletics.
- Pomeroys Fall to St. Catharine, 5-0
- Reliving August 31, 2013 with Danelle Readinger
- 3 Pomeroys Finish in top 25 at Illinois College Invite
- Pomeroys Battle to 0-0 Draw
- Pomeroys Record Best Individual Times at Louisville Classic
The United States Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA) is a national organization that exists to provide quality athletic competition on a regional and national level. The USCAA focuses specifically on smaller institutions of higher learning and their student-athletes. The association believes that all athletes and programs deserve the same national opportunities as larger institutions. SMWC is an organization that can provide those opportunities.
SMWC's teams are known as the "Pomeroys." Their name was chosen in memory of alumna and faculty member Sister Mary Joseph Pomeroy, a Sister of Providence, who was a great advocate of athletics and physical fitness. The name "Pomeroy" is not so much a thing, but a spirit of athletic excellence and sportsmanship.