In observance of Women’s History Month, The Daily’s sports section is launching its fourth annual series aimed at telling the stories of female athletes, coaches and teams at the University from the perspective of the female sports writers on staff. Sports contributor Noa Green continues the series with this story.
Senior Maya Gompper started college with a very different path in mind than the one she is on now. She originally thought that she would pursue medicine, particularly pediatrics. When it came time to declare a major, though, Gompper questioned whether she was truly drawn to such a career. Eventually, she found that the opportunity to work with children inspired her the most, and, after some consideration, decided to pursue a degree in elementary education.
As a member of Michigan’s field hockey team, Gompper already has the time-consuming commitment of being a student-athlete. This year, on top of field hockey, she added on the challenge of being a student-teacher. In other years, the field hockey season would occur in the fall and student teaching in the spring. However, due to COVID-19, the season was pushed back to the spring, forcing Gompper to maintain a very busy lifestyle.
“Two years ago I didn’t think that I would have to balance these this way, but obviously COVID-19 presents new challenges,” Gompper said.“It takes a lot of being in tune with yourself. I’m up at 5:45 a.m. and then after school, I go straight to practice and come home and plan for the next day and kinda go to bed, so it definitely is a commitment. But I try and think about what I’m doing it for. Obviously field hockey is something I love. I love the people I’m around and I love what I’m doing with it. And school is really for the kids, so it’s kinda like you’re doing it for others.”
Gompper’s commitment to both student teaching and field hockey, while challenging, has taught her many things in both areas of her life. Above all, the aspect of teamwork and collaboration have crossed over between teaching and playing field hockey.
“I think having grown up playing field hockey and being on teams, and then being on a team here has really positioned me to work with others and to really value teamwork over anything. … I love to bring that in the classroom. We like to collaborate on a ton of things as a whole class. The kids really emphasize doing things for each other not just for yourself.”
Student teaching has given Gompper a new perspective on her role and as a teammate, most of which she gives credit to her students for.
“My kids teach me so much about just everything,” Gompper said. “I think I’ve been able to kind of take what I’ve learned about patience and consideration for others and just really raw kindness from them … and carry that into all group settings you’re in and every other aspect of your life and obviously a big group setting of mine is the team.”
Gompper has had a successful field hockey career at Michigan. With two Big Ten conference championships, many athletic academic achievements and earning a crucial role on the field during games, there is a lot that Gompper can take away from her time as a Wolverine. And now, with her unique situation in student teaching as a student-athlete, Gompper can take away something even more valuable than wins and awards from her four years.
“The biggest thing for me that will stick with me forever are the relationships that I’ve made with people over anything,” Gompper said. “You know there are obviously ups and downs as far as wins and losses go but something that sticks with you are the friends you’ve made and the people you’ve met. I’m so grateful to have had these opportunities, and I mean it’s something I’ll never forget.”