Meet Our Student Athletes - Jaime Perales - Conquering the Balancing Act
Major: Master of Science in Kinesiology (Exercise Physiology)
Are you a first-generation college student? If so, please share with us why you were inspired to go to college and why you picked UTEP.
I’m a second-generation college student. My father attended Western New Mexico University, where he played football for the Mustangs and received his master’s degree in mathematics. My mother attended El Paso Community College and UTEP and received her associate degree in criminal justice. I was inspired to attend UTEP not only because of being a local product, but also because of its affordability and my interest in the field of health sciences.
How long have you been playing your sport? What sparked your interest in it?
I’ve been playing football since I was six years old. I was inspired to play because of my father, who also played college football and was able to play for the Cincinnati Bengals for a short period of time. While I’d say football runs in the family, I also enjoy playing the sport because of the people I’ve encountered, the places I’ve visited and the opportunity to continue to play a sport that requires me to optimize myself in stressful situations and become a better person.
What do you feel are the greatest challenges in being a student athlete? How have you overcome them?
Some of the greatest challenges that I’ve faced while being a student-athlete are the time management and the commitment I’ve made to myself, football and my education. While I consider the opportunity to receive and focus on my education as being at the forefront of my time and effort, I found it interesting to challenge myself by being a student-athlete and continuing school to receive a higher education. It has been rather difficult to manage all the responsibilities that come with being a student-athlete, but I also believe it helps to demonstrate that you are able to respond and to manage difficult situations and overcome difficulties.
How do you manage your time?
I usually manage my time by having a set calendar of what my appointments look like, with classes and practice as well. While sometimes things don’t go the way that I’ve planned, there usually isn’t any real “hard trouble” where I can’t balance my schedule out.
What kinds of skills have you gained as a student athlete that you will take with you into your future profession?
I would say that discipline and repetition are two of the most important things that I’ve learned while being a student-athlete—from waking up at 5 a.m. for weights, to staying up ‘till midnight studying for finals. The student-athlete lifestyle has showed me a little bit of what life is like outside of campus. Time management and being resourceful goes a long way in making you successful as well as being at the right place at the right time.
What are your professional goals?
One of my main goals right now is to complete the Master of Science Program in Kinesiology and publish my research in a professional, scientific setting. After graduation, I plan to pursue a Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Health Sciences at UTEP and graduate in a field that can help me in a professional program I plan to apply for after graduation. One of my final goals after my time at UTEP is to apply for a career within the U.S. military branches and work in military hospitals around the country and world as a clinical exercise physiologist. While this may take a while for me to complete, I believe the process of being a student-athlete and the lessons I’ve learned can help me down the road when I need to challenge myself to become what I want to be.
For more information about the Master of Science program in Kinesiology, please visit: https://www.utep.edu/chs/kinesiology/academic-programs/graduate/graduate-program.html
*Photo courtesy of the Perales family