Most students enrolled in engineering barely have any spare time. Jordan Hill finished with a 4.17 GPA last year. Harlan Nemerofsky reports on how she’s able to balance her hectic lifestyle
Last year on St. Patrick’s Day while the rest of the Ryerson Rams women’s basketball team was out celebrating with drinks, Jordan Hill elected to stay in to study for her upcoming midterm examination.
“I got a text from Ashley [MacDonald] saying everyone was going out,” Hill said. “I had really wanted to join them but I couldn’t because of my midterm.”
That was just one of many instances when Hill, who is currently in her second season with Rams basketball, had to turn down a team get together in order to focus on her schoolwork.
Recently, Hill was awarded the John Ross MacLeod Scholarship for the achieving the highest grade point average amongst first year students in Aerospace Engineering, widely considered one of the hardest programs at Ryerson. The second year forward achieved a 4.17 GPA in her first year of studies.
“I prioritize really well,” Hill said. “It was [hard] at first balancing basketball with school,” says Hill. “At the beginning of first year it all got a little overwhelming but I got used to it.”
“Now I hardly think of it. You just always have a plan of the day in your head.”
Her system is an order of hierarchy, that goes like this: exams trump games, games trump class, class trump practice and practice trump homework.
Hill will graduate a year later than most of her peers as she takes four courses a semester instead of a suggested six, to accommodate practice and games. Either way, the scholarship is impressive, considering she devotes 20 hours a week towards basketball on top of her four classes.
During the exam period, the 5’11 forward wakes up at 9 a.m. and studies alone at her apartment near campus before practice. She goes through every math problem, working through them meticulously until she understands exactly how she arrived at the answer.
The hours she spends on the hardwood compensates for the two courses she’s not taking.
“She’s really committed academically to her program,” said Charles Kissi, the head coach of the women’s team. “Jordan embodies everything we want in a student athlete.”
Just like most parents, Hill’s mother and father wanted her to do well academically. However, it was Cory Russell, her former high her school basketball coach at St. Mary’s high school, who inspired her to continue to play basketball at the university level.
“I had no intention of playing post secondary basketball at the begin ning of grade 12 as I thought I wasn’t good enough,”said Hill.
“But he told me that I was, and helped me make a scouting video to send to coaches. It was a real confidence booster.”
Coming out of high school, Hill wasn’t recruited by any universities to play basketball by any schools despite being one of the top players at St. Mary’s. Her high school didn’t keep statistics, but she estimates that she scored about 10 points a game.
Coach Kissi was impressed by Hill’s highlight reel, and encouraged her to try out; needless to say, she made the team.
It was no surprise to her teammates she was awarded with the scholarship worth $225.
“Jordan is the definition of [a] student-athlete,” said captain Ashley MacDonald. “The award just shows how dedicated she is when striving to achieve the things she really cares about.”
Hill is averaging six minutes of action a game. She plans to pursue a career with NASA or the Canadian Space Agency after graduating from Aerospace Engineering.
“I’ve always known I wanted to make my way in the world with my brain and not my basketball skills,” she said.
“I think that I could go much further in the field of engineering than I could if I tried to go pro in basketball.”