Dillard Lady Bleu Devils Paula Ogbevoen is a unique young lady to say the least. Not only was she the heart and soul of the Lady Bleu Devils' Volleyball team this season, but she is also a stellar student in the classroom.
Paula closed out an illustrious volleyball career at Dillard University with a disappointing loss to Southern-University at New Orleans in the semifinals of the GCAC Conference Tournament in Nashville, Tennessee. She had a monster performance in the loss, posting 15 kills and 11 digs. But on the positive side, to her credit, Paula's volleyball career includes a GCAC Conference Championship last season and two GCAC Conference Player of the Week honors this season.
Most would consider these accolades and honors as a successful collegiate athletic career, but for Paula, her accomplishments are seemingly just beginning. Surprisingly, Paula still has a year of athletic eligibility left after this season, but academically she is considered a senior. This is because she has been accepted to Boston University School of Medicine, entering into a program that allows her to get an early start on her future and life after volleyball and to reach her ultimate goal, to be a physician/doctor. "I feel like this is a great accomplishment for me," said Paula. "I'm a living testimonial to if you work hard, you can accomplish all your goals that you set and I am extremely ecstatic about this opportunity."
Paula would like to eventually travel to undeveloped/unprivileged countries without medical facilities that our country possesses and provide medical attention to those, which has been a lifelong dream. "I want to help others," said Paula. "Helping others I feel like is my calling in life and I couldn't be happier to start the process in doing so at Boston University Medical School." Paula has volunteered and participated in the "Doctor's without Borders" program and currently is a licensed EMS, spending countless hours during her summers as a Clear Creek EMS in Houston, Texas, her native city and state.
Volleyball has been Paula's sanctuary and way for her to express herself. It has also been a way for those that don't know her to learn her personality. "Everyone looks at me as the smart Paula," she says. "But volleyball is and has been an outlet for me, a way for me to be myself and express myself and with that I will always miss and have a special bond with my teammates."
Now that the Lady Bleu Devils' season is over with, finishing 19-12 overall and 7-3 in conference play, good for a second place finish in the GCAC conference standings, disappointment of not repeating as conference champions has been somewhat hard to swallow. But, Paula can say that she is leaving her teammates knowing that she did her best to help her Lady Bleu Devils' teammates and help lay the ground work for future success with the volleyball program. "I always felt like it is important to be a positive person," said Paula. "I also felt like it was extremely important for me personally to be more of a vocal leader this year, which I had not always been. That's something a leader must possess and I feel like that has helped us get past our disappointments this season."
Even though the Lady Bleu Devils' season has come to an end, Paula's inspiration, dedication and leadership will be something that will last a lifetime with her current teammates and more importantly have a lasting impression on those players returning next season. "It's not how you start, but how you finish," said Paula. "Our team had a lot of talent and with more pieces and hard work, sky's the limit for what they will be able to accomplish."
Yes and the same can be said for Paula and her career aspirations following volleyball.