Change of Plans
Student Athlete Pursues BAS in Integrated Design.
Like many college students during the COVID-19 pandemic, Rebecca Zenger’s plans changed. And then they changed again.
Originally from Kalaheo, Hawaii, Zenger had been attending a community college in Texas to play volleyball from 2019-20. She planned to play collegiate volleyball at a two-year college and transfer to a university to study graphic design on an athletic scholarship.
But when her volleyball career was abruptly put on hold, she started looking for other opportunities
“In the midst of disappointment, a silver lining opportunity came about,” Zenger said, noting that she found her match at Highline College after reaching out to the volleyball coach. “I decided to switch to Highline primarily to play volleyball, but looking back, I realize that the academics exceeded all the expectations.”
Zenger said she was attracted to Highline’s visual communications and bachelor’s degree option because it aligned with her passion for art, inspiring others and moving people into action.
All was looking good for a smooth transfer, however, one problem remained; the pandemic was just getting started. Zenger would go on to wait for one year –– taking classes remotely and missing a volleyball season –– until she was finally able to move to Washington in spring 2021, resume playing volleyball and finish up her associate degree. By fall 2021, she was taking classes for her Bachelor of Applied Science in Integrated Design at Highline College.
“Through disappointments and unmet expectations, I’ve learned that complaining does nothing,” Zenger reflected. “But a new perspective changes how you approach undesirable circumstances.”
The 20-year-old took that positive mindset with her during the 2021-22 academic year and hit the ground running. In addition to being a President’s-Honor-Roll-student and playing the outside hitter position on the Highline women’s volleyball team, Zenger held the social media and story editor roles for the Thunderword, Highline’s student newspaper.
“Writing and promoting the student newspaper has been a great learning experience,” she said. “Being on staff has been a great way to connect with other students and faculty.”
Zenger finds the motivation to stay in college through her parents’ support and the knowledge that her college education will give her a clear path to succeed in the creative design industry.
“At first, I chose the Integrated Design BAS program solely because it was related to graphic design,” she said. “I’ve since learned so much about the immense value of a holistic approach to design, understanding why we design and the relationship between other design disciplines.”
Upon graduation in spring 2023, Zenger hopes to return to Hawaii so that she may make an impact with her work as a graphic designer and illustrator.