Balancing on the Beam at Kent State University
Kyndall Gilbert is a junior Honors College student studying biology and pre-medicine at Kent State University. Along with completing her school work and preparing for medical
Performing as a student-athlete requires time, dedication, and responsibility. Between school and gymnastics, Kyndall is also involved in a bible study group and choreographs her team’s floor routines, as well as the floor routines at a local gymnastics gym. Though she has a busy schedule, Kyndall has been able to make friends with other student-athletes who have similar responsibilities and schedules. “It’s nice having a community of other athletes,” Kyndall said. “You get pretty close with not just your team but some other athletes as well.” She is appreciative that there are so many other student-athletes on campus who share a high level of commitment to their sport.
As a student who has been competing in gymnastics longer than she has been going to school, Kyndall is no stranger to balancing her time between her studies and her sport. When planning out her courses for the semester, Kyndall must organize her classes around her gymnastics schedule. With Honors College priority early registration, as well as student-athlete priority scheduling, these benefits allow for first priority in regard to course selection and availability.
As the academic year begins, Kyndall establishes her routine for the semester. “I am a very avid planner. I plan my days down to the hour every single day.” Upon receiving all her syllabi, Kyndall says that she immediately puts all due dates and exams in her planner. Then, each week, she plans out the next week’s schedule, writing down when she plans to do specific assignments. Her mindset throughout the school year: “Taking it one day at a time.”
Aside from planning her daily schedule, Kyndall has implemented another practice that helps her manage her time. “Because I know I am traveling more in the spring, I almost always make my fall semester much harder than my spring semester,” she said. The gymnastics season takes place in the spring, so completing tons of classwork on the bus while traveling is not ideal. Kyndall strategizes to take more credit hours in the fall compared to the spring semester while also avoiding classes that take place on Fridays. Because many competitions take place on weekends, Fridays serve as the main day for traveling to and from events. By avoiding Friday classes altogether, Kyndall eliminates the stress of missing a Friday class due to travel for a competition.
As a student-athlete in the Honors College, Kyndall handles a more challenging course load. She says, though, that joining the Honors College was a no-brainer. “Since adding the extra load of Honors, not only am I getting a deeper understanding of the things I’m learning, but also when I do finally take gymnastics out [after graduation], I think that it will be a lot easier for me to manage my time.” And while Honors courses help teach her valuable skills, they also introduce her to more classmates. As a STEM student, Kyndall is mostly in science classes; however, most of her Honors classes are more arts and humanities-based. “It’s helped me get a completely different perspective of people who go to Kent State,” she said.
Before committing to a college, Kyndall knew that she wanted to attend an out-of-state university. In high school, she attended Kent State’s gymnastics camp. “I absolutely fell in love with the campus, loved the coaches, and even a lot of the girls who I went to camp with are on the team now, so I got to meet people I was going to be competing with,” she recounted fondly. Shortly after her camp experience, Kyndall toured the campus: “When I went on my official visit, I was like, ‘This is where I want to be.’”
Kyndall plans on attending medical school after graduating from Kent State. As of right now, she is unsure of which school she will attend but hopes to coach gymnastics and continue choreographing floor routines during that time. She also has two extra years of gymnastics eligibility due to an injury one year and the COVID-19 pandemic the other year. In this unique situation, Kyndall will be able to compete in gymnastics for two years while in medical school.
Though she is starting to plan for the future, Kyndall reflected on some of the memories she has already made as a Kent State gymnast. She recounted the anticipation and excitement of finding out her team had won the regular season MAC championship last spring 2022. She also revealed the great takeaways of being a student-athlete: mental toughness and working with a team. “Gymnastics before college is very individual… in college, just like most other college sports, it’s very much team-centric. You win as a team, you almost never compete by yourself or try to win by yourself.”
To follow Kyndall and the Kent State Gymnastics team, please visit the Kent State Gymnastics website.
For more information about the Kent State Honors College, please visit the Honors College website.
PHOTO CAPTION 1: Honors College student Kyndall Gilbert poses for a gymnastics photo.
PHOTO CAPTION 2: Kyndall Gilbert poses in her warm-up jacket.
Media Contact: Stephanie Moskal, email@example.com, 330-672-2312