In this episode of The Dialog Podcast we talk with Aprille Deus, a George Brown women’s basketball player, who shares what it’s like to be a student athlete and why it’s important to follow your passion
Hosted and produced by Manseeb Khan
Theme Music: Barbarian by: Pierlo
Manseeb Khan: AND we are recording, hey what’s going on everybody Manseeb Khan here from your student newspaper The Dialog and today we’re here with probably the best basketball player, I’ve ever met in my entire life we’re here with Aprille she is a women’s basketball vet here at George Brown a fellow Husky Aprille how are you doing today?
Aprille Deus: Good how are you?
MK: I’m doing good I’m excited, I get to meet my basketball idol today so you know?
AD: Aw man, but how come I didn’t get voted in the NBA All Star game?
MK: You’re going to have to talk to Kevin Hart about that, I have nothing, Kevin Hart and Drake, and those are the two coach’s so I can’t really do anything about that.
AD: Okay I’ll have to talk to Drizzy over there,
MK: Yeah you’re going to have to hit up Drizzy, definitely have to hit up Drizzy
MK: My biggest question will be what’s it like to be a student athlete?
AD: It’s definitely not the easiest thing, when you’re going through school. I mean I already have a degree under my belt, before coming to George Brown, so it was a lot more strenuous then it is now. I played out in Acadia for three years, I finished school early actually, and then I saved two years of eligibility but my time at Acadia actually was pretty much living 2 full time jobs and then some on top of that. so to come to George Brown where you know you have a little bit more leniency being a student athlete and not having to practice as much gave me A lot more time on my hands but I also find time to fill it up with other things, in a nutshell with the particular program that I’m in finishing up a post grad certificate it wasn’t as crazy but it definitely I think it would give anyone a run for their money. Who thought they can do both.
MK: Where did you learn how to time manage? Was it solely from basketball? Where there other aspects in life?
AD: The key thing for me actually growing up was work ethic and seeing, I mean I didn’t come from much it. I wasn’t until probably the last couple of years that things started to turn around for my family. So growing up young and knowing what your situation is and know what you have to do in order to get to where you want to go and to survive.
There comes a price and for me I didn’t get to do all the regular things that kids did. I started off with in piano , did soccer and I transitioned into basketball , still did music and you get into high school and for athletes looking to play past high school on a scholarship, you know you’re working in the gym, you’re grinding, you have to pick one .
So realistically and you know how we had that conversation where everyone wants to be a rapper, blah blah blah. Not hating on anyone that want to be. For me it was more realistic to pursue a more of an athletic background. Even with that, I had to put music to the side I kept in touch with it. It was very much instinctual for me to pick up a guitar or play the piano.
I think especially after going through university and that being the most strenuous part of my life growing up being able to use my friends as resources, they all knew I had a thousand and one things going on. So someone will message me saying hey did you do that assignment, I’m like oh my god I haven’t and that was a growing pain from first year to second year. Second year was the worst and it always the hardest transition because that’s when you are in the thick of things and your starting to learn more of what it is you went to school for, so the work load gets heavier but then you just have to find the will to survive.
For me what drives me is that if want to do x,y and z and I want to be the best at it and I want to be recognized as being one of the youngest and one of the most ahead people. You’re going find a way to do it, right and stay afloat.
Practically I mean I just recently started to use my iPhone calendar. There a brilliant written planner called Passion Planner it was a kick starter project. It’s actually in my bag right now and literally the day starts from 6 am and it ends at 11 in my calendar then its split up into personal and work errands and there is inspirational quotes to keep me going. What’s my week focus? What’s my month focus? There are daily reviews and monthly reviews.
So I think looking at it holistically a big part of it in my mind I contribute to always making sure that I do what I want to do. You’ll find time to do everything that you want to do if you are doing whatever makes your heart sing. Or whatever makes you happy.
MK: Yeah you make time for whatever you want to make. So I guess touching back, making time for your friend’s right. So I guess what you are trying to say is that very important, you might have indirectly said it but it’s very important to have not only a have a team in the court but it’s important to have a team outside the court as well.
Be it your key group of friends that make sure you are on top of everything, to make sure that you’re planning everything out. They are keeping you accountable like okay cool we understand that you want to be the best basketball player in the world for me it would be like comedy I want to be the funniest guy in the world. okay cool how are we going do that it’s cute that we are talking about this in a bar but like no what’s the plan, what’s the mind map like your passion planner and taking it from there right ?
AD: Yeah it’s funny you say that because, when we talked about this before in the last year or two maybe even three with the new people in my life I’ve been more exposed to the whole idea of mental health and emotional health and it’s so important to surround yourself with people, who understand your goals and what those goals mean to you and that will come with maturity, that would come with the journey ahead so. You got to surround yourself with people that know and that you care about something.
MK: I know this goes out for a lot successful not only just entrepreneurs, comedians but athletes as well, you are the 5 or 6 people you hang around with. You briefly talked about how this year, or just recently you just started looking into mental health, and everything I’m just wondering how big of a factor is that?
Especially being a student athlete, not only do you have the regular school stresses, but it’s doubled because you have to make sure you hit practices, you have to make sure you are planning literally your life 3, 4 months ahead to make sure you are running on schedule. I guess how important would mediation or like yoga or any just extrovertedness how is that important and how does that play a role to your success?
AD: So this might be a little bias, well actually this is going to be completely bias, just I’ve only ever been active growing up and my initial degree is in kinesiology, and I specialized in strength and conditioning. I was exposed to Olympic lifting early in my playing career in Acadia and then obviously that carried through where I went into a competition this past summer and I keep doing those things. I know the science behind why physical fitness or why exercise is really important but to touch more on the mental health side I find that for me I prioritize physical fitness and my workouts outside of basketball, school and work. That’s because that’s my time and it allows me to listen to what I have to listen to and feel what I need to feel and exert whatever energy that I need to let go off when I lift my weights and for some people your fitness time could be yoga, your fitness time Pilates. Your fitness time could be a run I think it’s just important that people just start to do these things because there are so many positives that come with exercise and working out has an ability to unlock everything you need to unlock. So I think everyone needs to just start working out.
MK: how important is it to have other cathartic factors in your life? So like you said music right, I’m pretty much just asking how important is music in your life? Before we started you said how music is in your genes, like how your whole family is musically inclined naturally right. How important for student athletes and students in general is to have an outlet outside of your thing that you do?
AD: You know what I’m first generation Canadian in my family, and today’s what the 25th so happy birthday Alicia Keys, Alicia is the only reason I got into piano, whatever you see and whatever you are exposed to is what you tend to gravitate towards. I just always saw my dad singing, and when my mom was cooking or when my aunt was cooking they were singing. I’ve just recently go into whole idea of the universe right ,so you give the universe certain types of energy and it will give you back whatever it believes it need to reciprocate to you. So for me it’s just music as never left, and it’s always been there, and it’s always something that I’ve wanted to do, not by any means where I hope make a smash hit and get on to YouTube.
For me it keeps me sane, art has always been my thing. I had to compromise with my parents in order to go on a basketball scholarship, I had to go into some sort of health field. Which is great because fitness made sense to me, it was the other half me but I was so longing to do something in the arts. Like a traditional Asian family it’s not a viable option right? Like it’s rare if you get a mom or dad that’s like yeah go do you’re thing. But now they are seeing the shift, because I’ve been able to create the life, or the foundation I want. So I’m taking the necessary steps to go where ever it is I want to go, but I believe that you need to have that 1 or 2 or 3 things that are your things. That you do for yourself that is mandatory. If you set Friday nights for you and Netflix from 6-bedtime that should be your time. If someone’s like “hey do you want to hang out on Friday night at like 8?” “Naw sorry that’s my time” or you can just be like no I have plans. That’s one of those things I picked up at university, for the kind of life that I have to be virtually working 80 hours, with a combination of doing actual work, school, training, basketball training and games. I need something to pull me back, to like who I am.
MK: What would be the advice that you would give students?
AD: Well the one piece would be do whatever it is what you want to do, when you really think long term, whether you live in a household where your parents dictated every decision you’ve made. My thing is envision a life without your parents, envision a life without your parents, if they weren’t in the equation what would you be doing? Would you say you are 100% happy doing exactly what It is that you are doing right now and what you are going do tomorrow? For me I’m like HELL NO, like I love kinesiology, I love science , I love anatomy , I love strength and conditioning but that’s for more like my back pocket. So my ultimate goal is in 20 years well now it is 19. So write all my goals down and I my biggest goals on my screens like my phone and computer and my goal is to be a NBA coach maybe the 6th or 7th female NBA coach in the league. and I’m giving myself 20 years to do it so my 2037 this is hard pressed goal, obviously I know that things will happen but I have gone out and told my parents ” listen I literally know everyone I need to know and I still am finding people that I need to know to connect with and keep putting my foot in that door.
For me to be sane you have to do those 1 or 2 or 3 things that are your things for me its writing or going to the lab with my piano, mic , laptop. Like you know you have your 1 goal but then you have your other passions that help you get there because mentally it makes you sane. So do whatever it is that you want to do and I guarantee you will somehow get to your goal and to me it’s not a race, like I know that everyone want to like make millions and be okay but not everyone can be a Justin Bieber. You have to do all things in good faith, and don’t do it for the wrong reasons.
Like if you are in the rap game and make endless amount of gaup to no end, that’s cool but you will never be as satisfied unless you passion is just to make music. quick thing I connected with a guy who just got signed with a major record label, and it’s one of those things where it’s like he’s 30 and for 15 years he been doing it and he just got signed. So for you to think that your craft is like a 5 year span you better think again, hence why I gave myself 20 years I might even have to push it to 30 right but that’s my goal. I know for a fact that I’m doing things and volunteering to do things and making internships of it right now as we speak to learn the skills that are necessary to be an NBA coach or to be the best candidate. Just knowing what your end goal is and people are like “awe man that’s so cheesy like how do I do that?” It literally is not that hard.
MK: But it does comes down self-awareness and knowing who you are and what you are, I mean as hippy as that sounds, sit in your room for like 2 hours or like write it down what are you good at what are you not good at and what sets your sets your soul on fire and let’s go all in on that pot committed on that. As long as you are always moving forward, in that direction that you want to go into the worlds your oyster. You can get endless amount of gaup like that artist.
AD: So like for you I can feel like your energy is that stand-up comedy is what he wants to do. And I find that in this world right now, in this day and age everyone is trying to do the same thing. But why? To touch on your point it’s like you got to know yourself, so it translates into everything. You just have to make sure that you do or else you are not going to be a happy person. You’re going be that old man or woman that pushes people around with a prime frown on your face and people are going be like what’s wrong with this person? You don’t want to be that person.
MK: Yeah you don’t want to regret when your 80. Well that’s a good place to end, the podcast Aprille thank you so much for dropping by this was enlightening.
AD: No worries I got more life chats for you.
MK: And that’s the end of the podcast, if you have a questions, comments or feedback in general I would love to hear from you, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you want to listen to some of the past episodes, you can find them on our website dialognews.ca, and on ITunes, if you liked this episode or any of the past episodes it would me the world to me if you could give us a five star rating. And I’ll catch you on the next one.