Mason Spichiger, W'18
Why did you choose Penn?
When I was going through the recruiting process in high school I kept pushing off my visit to Penn because I really didn’t think I wanted to go to a city school. Eventually, I went on the visit to meet the coaches and see the school, and I ended up really enjoying the visit. I loved the campus (even though it’s in the city), I had a lot of fun at lunch with some of the players, and of course the academics are great. I felt like the Ivy League is the perfect combination of academics and athletics, and the athletic community at Penn specifically is very supportive. I also knew the softball team was a group that I could fit into and have fun with.
What does the experience of being a Penn Softball student-athlete mean to you?
I absolutely love being a student athlete at Penn for a few different reasons. First off, I love playing a sport and having goals outside of classes to work towards. I love to lift, running is fine, and I love to play the game of softball. It’s a nice break from the academic life that can be tough here at Penn (even though softball can be a mental challenge as well sometimes). I also really like being part of a larger community outside of just my major or academic clubs I might be a part of. I have been able to meet athletes from other teams, and it is always fun to go watch another team play or just talk about whatever if I run into them in the weight room or somewhere else on campus. Also, I love being on a team. My teammates are some of my best friends and I know they will be some of my best friends for the rest of my life. I love having a team that I know will support me whether it is for a tough workout, a difficult exam, or just because I was having a rough day.
What has been your favorite moment/memory with Penn Softball?
This is a hard question because I have had a lot of fun being a part of Penn Softball. Some of my favorite memories have definitely been during our spring break trip in Florida. I think the best was when one of our vans got stuck in a ditch at the field one day after our games. Our van was stuck, and when everyone was trying to figure out how to get it out, the keys got locked inside with no one else. So we were all stuck outside the van, hungry, and with no keys. It actually turned into a great bonding experience because we were all hanging around together waiting and trying to figure out what to do (we had to call for help).
What has been your favorite class to date and why?
My favorite class was Stat 431-Statistical Inference. I took it in the spring my sophomore year, and it was the second stat class I have taken at Penn. Before taking this class I didn’t really understand what statistics is or care to learn because I just thought it was difficult and boring. However, the professor was fantastic, and this class made me realize statistics/a statistics related field might be something I am interested in as a concentration or as a career.
What does life after Penn look like (where you live, what you will be doing)?
At this point, I am not totally sure. Right now, I am trying to find something I think I would enjoy as a career. As for where I will live, I am from New Jersey and I do like the east coast, but I also would be very open to exploring a new place somewhere else.
What are some lessons that you have learned through athletics at Penn that will stay with you after graduation?
I have learned so much being a college athlete. One of the most valuable lessons I have learned is how to work hard. No athlete, no matter how talented, will ever be able to just show up to the game having done absolutely nothing. Especially combined with the Ivy League academics, I have really had to make sure I am not slacking on any workouts or any schoolwork if I want to be successful. I have also had to learn how to deal with failures. In sports, especially in softball where failing 7/10 times is considered good, a person is not always going to be successful but we still have to learn how to move on and fight harder the next time.
Last year, over 120 Penn Softball alumni, family and friends made a financial contribution to your program to help provide you with things like equipment, training tools, uniforms, travel to away meets, meals on the road, sports medicine and sports performance. What would you say to those who invest in your experience as a Softball student-athlete?
I just want to say thank you so much. I am so fortunate that I have been able to play softball after high school because not everyone has that opportunity. The people that make the financial contributions are the ones that make that opportunity possible. Without you, a lot of athletes probably wouldn’t be able to play, never mind being able to have the great programs and great facilities we have here at Penn.