Growing up, some of us change our minds over and over again on what we want to do for a career. I for one wanted to be a singer, but here I am an underpaid sports writer working on my masters.
However, there are the rare few that stick to one set goal and succeed in it. For CSUN's Brielle Slepicoff, a biology senior and a member of the women's soccer team, the allure of a dental profession has been the only career path calling her name.
"As long as I can remember I just have been fascinated with teeth. I love going to the dentist and the orthodontist and I can't get enough of it," said Slepicoff, who will be heading to dental school next fall. "I have my third grade year book that says 'what do you want to do when you grow up?' I have down I want to be a dentist."
One thing she has always put first is her education and when she arrived at CSUN to play soccer she told head coach Keith West her studies would have to take a top priority before playing. She was so adamant about her education taking lead over athletics, she told West she wouldn't play her senior season due to the academic rigors.
"Convincing Brielle to play her senior season for the Matadors might just be one of the best recruiting jobs I have ever done," West said. "She's a fantastic student and an even better person. I know Brielle will be successful in whatever she sets her mind to accomplish."
When you take a look at her prowess on the field, it's easy to see why West worked so hard to keep Slepicoff on the roster for the 2011 season.
A standout defender, Slepicoff earned All-Big West First Team honors in 2010 after receiving Honorable Mention accolades the year before. Additionally, Slepicoff became the first field player in school history to earn All-NSCAA West Region Second Team honors. Finally, the awards kept piling up after the season as she also received NSCAA Scholar All-West First Team honors, becoming the first player in school history to receive the award.
"It was nice because I feel that it is hard to be an athlete as well as being a student in school," Slepicoff said. "It's an honor when you are being recognized for your school work in addition to being on the field because it does take a lot of dedication. CSUN has a great biology program. The advisors here have been extremely helpful in telling me what classes to take with the dental schools I am looking at possibly attending."
Following a three-point outburst in a victory over Princeton, Slepicoff now has three goals, seven assists and 13 points in her career. Juggling the hectic schedule of a student-athlete can be difficult, but Slepicoff credits CSUN for making her goal come true and is th
ankful for the help the university has given her.
"It takes a lot of organization and planning especially when we take road trips," said Slepicoff. "I have to think about how much homework I have to get done or whether I have a test. It takes a lot of commitment. I would have been sad if I didn't come back my senior year."
As she prepares to leave the soccer program at Cal State Northridge, Slepicoff credits West and the rest of the coaching staff to help her mature in the four years on the team. With the start of the conference season right around the corner, Slepicoff knows she doesn't have too many games remaining.
"Whether it is the technical aspect of the game or how other teams are attacking us, I can't tell you how much I have learned from them and grateful for this amazing experience," she said.
With the start of the Big West Conference season looming on the horizon, a few wins and a trip to the league and NCAA Tournament would surely put a festive cap on an accomplished career for Slepicoff. If that happens, it shouldn't be too hard to find her on the field. Just look for the smile.