From the baseball diamond to the chemistry lab, Josh McNeil is learning to keep a lot of balls in the air. The catcher with the Prairie Baseball Academy and second-year science student says connecting with teammates and classmates is key.
There are times in university when you’re going to need help from other people. Find a group with similar interests to you where you can bond over classwork, and specifically, bond over struggle — you can lean on each other.
Why did you choose ULethbridge?
I was really committed to playing baseball at the college/university level and had a couple of offers down south that would give me academic scholarships. But ultimately, they didn’t offer the same flexibility we have here in Lethbridge, especially with the Prairie Baseball Academy (PBA), where I could play college baseball and still work towards a science degree.
Did you know what you wanted to study?
I went to a couple of career fairs and got the idea that I wanted to do something in the medical field, like anesthesiology or pharmacy. I was thinking of chemistry or pre-med. I stuck with chemistry because if I got into med school and decided it was not what I wanted, I would have other options. I’ve often thought about doubling up with biochemistry.
What advice would you give those beginning their journey at ULethbridge?
I’d tell them to take the Early Start Experience (LBED 1500 - The First-Year Experience: Mapping our Communities). It helped me find everything on campus, helped to prepare me for my first semester and helped me make some new friends before school really started. There were a lot of great activities, and I got an in-depth tour of the Science Commons, which was awesome.
My favourite thing about ESE was the scavenger hunt. It was just super cool. It helped me learn where everything is at the university, all the important stuff, the dean's offices, the library and many other resources.
How do you balance athletics with the demands of a university education?
It’s tough. Playing with the PBA is a lot of hard work. It requires a significant commitment. On top of that, you have school, and you also have responsibilities at home. You have to use your time effectively.