The Daily Pennsylvanian asked Penn women's basketball’s Michae Jones 15 questions about her sport, her time at Penn, and her life overall. Here's what the senior had to say.
1. Introduce yourself
My name is Michae Jones. I am a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences. I am majoring in health and societies with a concentration in health care markets and finance. I am also from Thibodaux, La., which is a really small rural town about an hour outside of New Orleans. I am also on the basketball team here and I plan to go to medical school about a year or two after I graduate.
2. What are three adjectives your team and family would use to describe you?
Very easy going. I don’t let a lot of things get to me. I’m not a person that gets stressed out much, so a lot of people say I’m easy going slash chill. A lot of people say I’m studious. Me and one of my teammates were picked to be one of the teammates that are always studying or doing some type of homework before games. I enjoy keeping up with my schoolwork. A lot of people say I’m a homebody as well. I like to be in the house with my family or friends. I don’t really get out much and especially with COVID I’ve been right in my element, so I haven’t really been struggling too much with that.
3. What’s something you’re looking forward to for the end of the year?
I am looking forward to the fact that 2020 is going to end. It has been one of the worst years in my 21 years of living, so I’m just looking forward to Jan. 1 honestly. I’m a Capricorn so I’m looking forward to January. I really enjoy Christmas time with my family. I usually go home in December so that’s always a good way to bring in the Christmas holidays. Also, since basketball isn’t in session this will be the first time that I get to experience celebrating New Year's with my family in a while so I’m really looking forward to bringing in 2021 with them. Yeah I’m just ready for this year to end — it hasn’t been great for a lot of us.
4. Are you in any interesting classes right now?
I’m in Statistics for Biologists, which I really enjoy. I’m in Healthcare Systems which is a really basic introductory class into health care and health care delivery. We really go through a lot of the categories of insurance and how that’s delivered and the pros and cons to aspects of the health care system which is really interesting. I really like my statistics class. I enjoy math and that’s something that I haven’t been able to take a lot at Penn, so it’s been a really interesting and challenging time with this class. Those are the classes that I appreciate most; the ones that are challenging and worthwhile.
5. What’s something that you’ve done this semester that you hadn’t been able to do before?
Since basketball is not in session I was able to be a part of the Beat the Streets Philly program. It’s a mentorship program [and] that’s something that I’ve always wanted to do since I’ve been at Penn, but I just could never dedicate the time to it. I didn’t want to start it and then I couldn’t put my all into it. It has pros and cons that the season didn’t happen, but I was able to get in involved with these kids from underserved parts of Philly. It’s a wrestling program and it’s really interesting to work with high school student athletes that are in a completely different sport than I was. It’s interesting to hear their stories and what it takes to be a great wrestler or great athlete. This is my first mentorship opportunity and it’s been really great. It’s a virtual platform right now, but hopefully by the end of the year I can actually meet my mentees and build a true relationship with them.
6. What are you watching on TV/Netflix right now?
I just finished Lovecraft Country. If you do watch it you have to like seriously watch it — you can’t be on your phone or you will not know what’s going on. It’s one of the greatest shows I’ve ever watched in a while. I’m also in the process of watching Girlfriends right now. I think the next one on my list is going to be Ratched with Sarah Paulson — she’s from American Horror Story and that’s one of my favorite shows as well.
7. What kind of medicine do you want to practice?
In high school I used to want to be an anesthesiologist, but once I got to college my focus somehow shifted to plastic surgery. That’s what I’m really interested in. I did a research slash shadowing opportunity at CHOP this year. It wasn’t plastic surgery but it was dealing with hypospadias and it was a reconstructive surgery. I got to watch Dr. [Christopher] Long in surgery and do research for him and that really intensified my passion for plastic surgery, so that’s what I think I’ll be in. The residency for plastic surgery is usually six years so if my interests change I wouldn’t be surprised like once I get into medical school and maybe do something a little shorter that I can also have fun with and enjoy, but that’s what I want to be right now — a plastic surgeon.
8. Is there anything you recommend all people try?
Being someone from the south — being someone from Louisiana — I think everyone should try fried soft-shell crab or, I think a lot of people have tried this before but, chargrilled oysters. That’s something that New Orleans is really popular. I know a lot of people in the north eat crab, but they don’t eat them in the same way like we do down south. The entire crab including its shell is super soft and it’s fried. I know people are like how can you eat a crab shell isn’t that hard? But the fried soft shell for some reason is super tender and there’s meat in it. I think everyone should at least go to New Orleans for Mardi Gras and just try, but especially soft-shell crab and chargrilled oysters.
9. Favorite Penn basketball memory?
The time we played Harvard and it was a tie-breaker game I think. We lost to them and then we beat them, and we had to play them a third time at home. Whoever won that game would go to the Ivy Tournament, so we needed to win. It came down to free throws, like I made like 19 out of 20 free throws at the end of the game. It was just one of those games that we knew we had to win and once we won we still talk about that game to this day. It was one of the most exciting moments of my career personally, but I can argue that my teammates really appreciated that moment as well.
10. What makes you feel at home when you’re on campus?
So my mom sends me boxes of Zatarain’s Jambalaya and dirty rice. She just sent me a box of beignets. New Orleans is known for Café Du Monde beignets, which is like bread or dough fried and it puffs up and we put powdered sugar on it — it’s like a funnel cake. More people know it like a funnel cake. She’ll send me things like that. She just sent me some fish fry so I can fry some fish or shrimp. That’s really the only thing that makes me feel like home. I have a few friends from Texas and Georgia so I can always relate to them. My mom is always sending me food from home so I can try to make it while I’m out here in Philly.
11. How will basketball exist in your life after graduation?
I think I’ll definitely use basketball to stay in shape. I do enjoy playing it as well so if I can find a gym that is available after I graduate I’ll use it to get some shots up and run some lines. It is something that I definitely do enjoy and I love to play. I might not do as much running as we usually do here, but it’s definitely a great sport to involve other people in. It’s a team sport it’s not individualized like tennis or golf. I have a lot of friends, women and men, who play basketball so it’s always a pleasure to play with them and stay active. I think that’s where it will stay, I won’t try to go overseas and play or any of that.
12. Who is your role model?
So, I would have to say I have three role models mainly because they all offer different parts to my life. I would say my mother, obviously, because she’s been through it all, she raised me, she’s taken care of me, and she did what she had to do to get me to Penn, which is something I’m grateful for and will forever be grateful for. My middle sister as well is my role model. She graduated from Spelman, which is the No. 1 HBCU in the country, she went to law school, she graduated from there, she works at this great law firm now as a recruiter, and she’s doing really great things. She as well as my oldest sister, [who] is also my role model, we’ve grown closer since I’ve been in college, which is something I really appreciate. They teach me about life and they get me through the hardships of college especially when I was younger in college and I didn’t really know what I was doing or how my decisions would affect me. They’ve definitely been there to be my backbone when I was trying to make decisions and get through the hardships that we face in college. Definitely those three women have made a tremendous impact on my life and I’ll always appreciate them for that.
13. What would you say your role for Penn women's basketball has been?
I’m a really emotional and energetic player when I’m on the court as well as when I’m on the sidelines. I’m really into the game and I’m really into my own emotions. I’m one of those ones that will yell when somebody’s got an and-one or I’ll yell myself if I got an and-one or if someone just got a huge block I’m in their face like ‘Let’s go! Great block!’ I don’t really hold back on the court. I’m super emotional. I’m super passionate and that’s my role. I bring the energy into the game when things might be slow. [For the] majority of my career I’ve come off the bench, so I’ll usually get in the game when things are slow and we need that spark. I’m that player. I’ve definitely done my job so far. That’s usually my role — to add some energy and change the pace of the game as well.
14. What do you want your legacy at Penn to be?
I don’t want to just be remembered as a Penn athlete. When COVID wrecked my season, I no longer had basketball. I was at a point where I said, ‘What am I going to do now without basketball? Who will I be?’ My identity was consumed in basketball, now I didn’t have it and for a second I lost who I was as a person. I don’t want to just be remembered as a Penn basketball player. I want my legacy to be a Penn women’s basketball player who was also a mentor to high school athletes from underserved Philadelphia communities through Beat the Streets, as well as a consistent social justice advocate regardless of who I might make uncomfortable or upset.
15. What’s your favorite way to relax/wind down?
I do enjoy studying regardless of how hard the class is. Usually when I’m in shambles I’ll sit down and get like a cup of orange juice, that’s what I’m always drinking for some reason, and just watch my lectures and take my time doing notes and making study guides. I don’t know, for some reason that does relax me. Especially, if I’m trying to get ahead on my work I don’t like to be stressed and overwhelmed. Honestly, when I winding down and I’m reading [something] and taking very detailed notes, it’s satisfying to me to see my notes organized and in order. For some reason that just calms me ironically. Like I said earlier, even before my games when I was really hype and super excited before a game and I wanted to like cool off and cool down before I started I [would do] some kind of homework. That sounds nerdy, but it’s the truth. I usually just do work or something and watch my lectures or get ahead on some readings or something like that.