Julia Dunning – West Plains, Missouri / Norfolk, Virginia

Julia Dunning

Julia Dunning
West Plains, Missouri / Norfolk, Virginia

My journey to playing college volleyball all started when I was a small 16 yr old playing in Australia at the national tournament. It started when Sandra approached me and told me she could help me get to the US and help me in my volleyball career. Two years after that I was in the United States.

Playing college athletics was one of the most life changing experiences I’ve ever had. When I first moved to the United States I moved to West Plains, MO to attend Missouri State University – West Plains, which was nothing like I had ever experienced. I experienced living in a community where everyone knew everyone and where all the people that lived there rallied behind the team as we battled it out on the court.

It was a really weird feeling at first – I honestly felt famous! Not only that but the professors at my junior college were always so supportive. It was truly one big family. Transferring during the pandemic was really difficult. I had to leave at a moment’s notice and didn’t get the graduation or goodbyes that I wanted to get. However, after being at home for a while and transferring to Old Dominion University I knew that I was ready to take it on.

Moving to a new NCAA D1 program was unbelievable and a really beautiful thing considering we could build something together as a team. The thing I loved the most about my experiences at both MSU-WP and ODU was that studies were always emphasized.

Balancing life as a student-athlete is always difficult but when you have coaches and support staff who want you to succeed in both areas then it gets a whole lot easier – still difficult, but easier. But the best part about my experience, other than playing the sport I love while getting an education, was that I could interact with so many different people and learn things about myself and about the world. Being a student-athlete has allowed me to expand on my growth as a person but also allowed me to meet so many people and learn more about things which I previously wouldn’t have given a second thought. I will truly miss being a part of collegiate athletics and all the wonderful things it brought me!

Julia 🙂