The Daily Pennsylvanian sat down with field hockey junior Gracyn Banks to ask her 15 questions about her sport, her time at Penn, and her life overall. Here's what she had to say.
1. Can you introduce yourself?
My name is Gracyn, I'm a junior in the College, and I'm studying neuroscience (or BBB, it's the same thing). I'm from Burlington, N.J., but I'm currently in Philly in my house off campus.
2. Jersey Shore or Center City?
That's tough. I'd have to say the Jersey Shore, just because I haven't gone to Center City enough. I go to Long Beach Island every summer for vacation, so I have to say Jersey Shore.
3. What is your go-to breakfast in the morning?
Recently I've been obsessed with overnight oats, so I'll make some in a mason jar — just some oats, strawberries, honey, and cinnamon — and then I'll just put it in the fridge overnight, and then I can wake up and just eat it right like that. So if I have class early in the morning it's super easy.
4. Why choose field hockey over other sports?
Growing up I played field hockey and softball, and I played them both through high school competitively. I chose field hockey eventually to play in college because I really liked having the team aspect. Softball has a team, but it's more individual with batting and stats, where in field hockey I really enjoyed not having all the pressure on myself and being able to rely on my teammates.
5. What is your earliest field hockey memory?
I started playing field hockey when I was in third grade, and I remember my town had just started a field hockey program through the rec department. I was technically too young to play, but I really wanted to switch from soccer to field hockey, so they let me play with middle school kids even though I was in third grade. I think that's the first memory I have of getting into the sport.
6. When did you know Penn was the right school for you?
I went on an unofficial visit my sophomore year of high school, and compared to the other schools I had visited, I literally just felt like I had known the girls on the team instantly, right when I met them. So I went home and I thought about it and I was like, "That's it". I feel at home when I'm there, and I knew that Penn academically was exactly what I wanted, so it was just a perfect fit.
7. Where is your favorite study spot on campus?
When campus was open, I liked the little booths in the back of Van Pelt. I would always reserve a booth and go sit there because you could eat too, so I would bring coffee and my breakfast after practice and do a couple hours of work before I had class.
8. What's the best class you've taken so far at Penn?
I took a summer class the first session this past summer, and it was a BBB class on the autonomic nervous system. We actually learned a lot about the coronavirus, which was interesting because it's obviously happening right now, so I have to say that was the best class I've taken and the most interesting so far.
9. How did you spend your summer, both field hockey-wise and not?
With field hockey, we were pretty much on our own for training. Our strength and conditioning coach gave us workouts to do all during the week, but when it comes to actually playing, that was a little more difficult to do, since most of the public fields weren't open and there was no one to play with. So that was a little difficult, but we could run and do strength training and body weights outside, which was good.
In my free time, I actually learned to cook a lot over the summer, so that was fun, and I've been cooking a lot since I've gotten back to school too, which is nice.
10. Do you have any binge watch recommendations?
Well, the new season of "Lucifer" just came out, and I already finished that, so I have to say that. It's so good. I watched it in the beginning of quarantine with my family, and then we were just waiting for the fifth season to come out.
11. What's your favorite place to get food on campus?
Greek Lady. Definitely Greek Lady because I love their breakfast/brunch. They do the best omelets, and it's super close to my house, and they have good dinners, and the gyros are so good.
12. Do you have any lucky charm or ritual that you use for your games?
I think the only thing I keep the same for every game is my hair. So I have to braid my hair a certain way and put it up in a bun, and if it's not perfect I have to redo it or it will just bother me the whole time. I'm not very superstitious, but that's the only thing.
13. What has been the best moment of your Penn career so far?
I'm gonna have to say scoring my only goal so far in my career — against Monmouth. It was our first goal of that season as well, so it was very exciting and I was able to see my name on the stats and everything. I'll always remember that feeling.
14. I know it's still early, but do you have any plans for your future post-Penn?
I'm planning to take a gap year after graduating and then applying to med school, so right now that's the plan. I might do research in the gap year, if I find a job in research.
15. Do you have any advice to younger field hockey players looking to make it to where you are now?
I'd have to say just keep doing what you love and keep playing and work hard. Just have fun. I feel like if you're not having fun you're not gonna want to do it when you get to the college level, so just try to have fun with it.