KOKOMO, Ind. – After balancing the busy schedule of a college athlete with the demands of a full-time nursing student, Taylor Coram feels prepared to succeed in her nursing career.
“Time management and organization are key to being a good nurse,” she said. “At any given time, you might be juggling five or six different patients, staying up-to-date on their medications and making sure you’re getting your charting done. As a college athlete, there’s a lot of responsibility on you to be sure you’re doing everything you need to be doing to keep up with your athletics and your grades.”
IU Kokomo gave her a unique opportunity, to be both a nursing student and an athlete — first on the cross country and track teams, and then on the soccer team — because coaches and faculty worked with her to make it possible.
“There was a lot of responsibility on me to me sure I was doing everything I needed to do to keep up with my athletics and my grades,” she said. “My coaches were good about understanding that we’re here to get our degrees, and that sometimes athletics have to take a back seat. They’re happy to have us on their teams, because nursing students have to maintain high grade point averages to continue in the program.”
With their support, she is graduating in May with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, and wants to work as an operating room nurse.
As a student athlete, Coram could occasionally miss clinical experiences for big games, but also could stay home from a road game if she needed to be at a clinical experience or take a test.
“Everyone has been really supportive, the coaches and nursing faculty both,” she said. “There were a few points where I stayed and went to my clinical, and other times I missed a clinical because of a game. They let me be the judge of what I needed to do.”
Mandatory study tables as a freshman helped her establish good study habits, and gave her people to emulate, as there were two senior nursing students on her cross country team when she was a freshman.
“I really looked up to both of them to see how they balanced school and sports,” she said. “Now there are several nursing students on the soccer team, and they really look up to me for that.”
Long bus trips for road games also provided time to hit the books.
“It gives you that time to be disciplined and just get it done,” he said. “What else are you doing to do? We’re studying the whole time, using that time on the bus to make sure we’re doing what we need to do to get the grades.”
Being busy kept her from procrastinating.
“Even thought it was stressful at times, I was able to make checklists and make sure I got everything done,” she said. “Staying organized is the biggest thing. I have calendars everywhere, to be sure I stay up with everything.
Coram, from Kokomo, hadn’t planned to play sports at IU Kokomo. She graduated from Kokomo High School as a standout soccer player, before the campus had a women’s soccer team. While interviewing for a scholarship, she met Jason VanAlstine, the cross country coach, who contacted her with an invitation to join his team.
“He said he had a good track record at turning soccer players into runners,” she said. “I’m glad I decided to get involved. I probably would have been lost if I wasn’t in sports, because sports have always been a huge part of my life.”
She enjoyed cross country, and then track when the campus started a team, but was thrilled to be on the first IU Kokomo women’s soccer team her senior year.
“Starting the soccer team was an amazing experience, and I’m glad I did it,” she said. “It was hard to decide, because I had to leave behind teammates I cared about. I love soccer, though, it’s my favorite sport, so I had to take that opportunity to play one more year.”
Indiana University Kokomo celebrates 75 years as north central Indiana’s choice for higher education.