Former top athlete finds home at Chapman


Tyler Takeda/Madera Tribune File Photo

Former Liberty standout Juliet Olsen takes a shot during a 2014 match. the former LHS Senior Athlete of the Year graduated from Chapman University in 2018 and is also working for the school.

After graduating from Chapman University in 2018, Liberty High School graduate Juliet Olsen loved the school so much that she stayed at the university.

She is currently an admissions counselor at the university, working full time while getting her MBA.

“I really enjoyed my experience so much there, I couldn’t leave,” Olsen said.

Olsen was originally recruited to play soccer at Chapman, but decided on not playing when she entered the university. She was the Liberty High School Senior Athlete of the Year and the first LHS Madera Tribune Sportsmanship Award winner in 2014.

“That was my plan (to play soccer),” she said. “I think, ultimately, I was burnt out. I wanted to experience college outside of soccer. I miss it every single day. I still dream about it on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. I definitely wonder what my college experience would have been like if I did play soccer. All of my closest friends were on the soccer team and I lived with girls on the team. I was still heavily involved. I kind of got to see what it was like to be on the soccer team through their experience. I got involved in a variety of different areas on campus. I joined a sorority, took on internships during my four years. I wouldn’t want to give that up, but I miss soccer a lot.”

Olsen graduated from Chapman in May of 2018, took a month vacation ad began her job in July.

“I went to Hawaii to celebrate and then came back and hit the ground running,” she said. “It’s been really awesome. What I like about the position is there is such a big relational side of it. I’m working directly with high school students, counselors and families. What surprised me is there is a strong business side, as well. Everything is data driven. There’s a lot of strategy to it. I’m getting the best of both worlds. I’m also getting some business experience and being able to have the management aspect of it, as well.”

While at Chapman, Olsen majored in psychology and corporate communication, although that wasn’t her original plan.

“A good portion of my education was going into child care,” she said. “For the last two years of my college experience, I was a preschool teacher. I really loved it and children are my passion. But, when I thought of a career, I wanted something a little more corporate. I saw the position as an admissions counselor and was reading through the job description. It really touched on my inherent strengths. I also appreciated the fact that I get tuition benefits, also. It’s like getting two birds with one stone. I get to have a full-time career that I really love that is super fulfilling. I get to travel two or three months out of the year. I’m also still being able to put myself through grad school. It seems like the right move.”

Since Olsen recently graduated from Chapman, it helped her relate to the students she met. However, she is also noticing that since it’s been two years, she is finding out she is getting outdated.

“I am able to relate to the high school students I am talking to because I am fresh out of the Chapman experience.” she said. “Now that I graduated two years ago, I’m already starting to feel the experience. Before when I was talking to them, I would take about my experience. Now, I think it’s outdated.”

Olsen currently lives in Newport Beach and commutes to Chapman in Orange, which is about 15 miles away.

“It’s my favorite place, ever,” she said. “It’s an awesome place to live, especially for people in their mid-to-late 20’s. I’m feeling very fortunate. With this whole quarantine, I’ve been going home to visit my family more. More than I would if I was working in the office. I’m still connected with the Central Valley, but it’s a whole different lifestyle. It’s been six years.”

Olsen reflects on her days at Liberty and playing soccer. She says she would like to go back to high school

“I truly can’t believe I’ve been out that long.” she said. “I was talking to somebody the other day and told them I would love to go back to high school just for a little bit. I had such a good time. Life was simpler then. And, I could play soccer again. I would go back still, even with everything I have now.”

Olsen doesn’t play soccer anymore. She played on a club team and on an indoor soccer team through her first two years, but hasn’t played since she graduated.

“When I started taking upper division courses, I got super busy with my sorority and I was working with internships so something had to give,” she said. “Since I graduated, I haven’t played. But, I still have that group of friends that played soccer. We’ve talked about getting a team together to play indoor.”

While playing soccer, Olsen’s favorite part of the game was the physical contact. She wasn’t the biggest player on the field and she kept getting knocked down. However, she kept getting back up and getting back into the action.

“When I think about, getting knocked down was my favorite part,” she said. “Just having that physical contact, I missed that. I’m not in formal competition, in any form or fashion. We would have staff summit weeks at our office and we played a volleyball tournament. I don’t know what got into me. The competitiveness is still there. The competitive juices are deeply ingrained.”

Olsen still drives to the Madera Ranchos to visit her family on the holidays and has noticed the past few months that traffic was pretty non-existent, but knows that won’t last too long.

“With everyone indoors, the traffic was easier than ever,” she said.

Although she is integrated into the Chapman environment, Olsen said she will never forget where she came from.

“I think about where I came from all the time,” she said. “I stay loyal to my roots. I’m always rooting for the Central Valley. I loved growing up there and wouldn’t change a thing.”

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