Aaron Gottlieb: What’s your favorite part about Thanksgiving?
Jillian Santos: My birthday’s close to it, so every year I get together with my family and go to my cousin’s house and we celebrate my birthday, so it’s nice to have everyone there.
AG: What does it feel like for you to be ranked in the top 10 of some of Binghamton’s all-time categories?
JS: It’s pretty cool, I know some of my teammates last year who graduated were No. 1 and No. 2 on all-time win lists so hopefully I can be close to them by the end of this year.
AG: You’ve been named to the America East honor roll multiple times, how do you do it?
JS: A lot of time management, I make a bunch of to do lists … every day. It takes a lot of planning ahead and trying to figure out when things are due and plan when you’re going to study for it. I wouldn’t say anything particularly special that the average student doesn’t do. Unless they don’t make lists. I make a lot.
AG: How hard is it to be a successful student-athlete and get everything done?
JS: It’s really difficult. The thing I probably lack the most is sleep and rest. Every Tuesday and Thursday we have practice at 6:45 a.m., so it’s just waking up, eating breakfast, being ready and then just being tired afterward and then having to go to class for the rest of the day and then having practice later in the day. It’s just really exhausting. Early mornings are the toughest, but I feel like it helps me to manage my time better because I have a lot going on, so I feel like I have to do certain things at a certain time to get things done.
AG: You’re a psychology major, what’s your favorite part about that?
JS: As a part of one of my classes, I work at the Institute for Child Development where I work with kids with autism. It’s just been a really great learning experience working with kids and it’s made me realize that I want to work with kids.
AG: Do you ever use anything you’ve learned in your psychology major in your matches either for yourself or against an opponent?
JS: There’s definitely a lot of different things about psychology to apply in sports … staying positive, telling yourself to do certain things, and I never realized that sometimes I do that. Even things that a coach will implement about positive reinforcement or negative reinforcement and punishments, it’s all part of psychology. I definitely think it’s helped me to be more understanding of other people on the team, and as one of the team’s captains, being a psychology major has helped me understand everyone else on the team better.
AG: Your sister Lillian played for Binghamton too. Did that influence your decision to come here?
JS: Yeah, I stayed with her on my recruiting trip instead of with the team. She had a really great experience at Binghamton so I knew I wanted to come here.
AG: What’s your go-to shot on the court that you’re most confident in?
JS: My forehand, but my coach might differ and say that my backhand might be a little bit better. But usually I feel better controlling the points with my forehand.
AG: With spring season approaching in early February, how much of your winter break is going to be spent preparing for it as opposed to relaxing?
JS: It’s going to be tough — this winter break I’m actually going to the Philippines with my family and it’s the first time I’ve been there in about 15 years. I made sure to tell my family that I need to play tennis. It’s my last year heading into spring season and I just want to do really well and work hard and be prepared for what’s to come in the spring and really lead by example for the rest of my teammates.
AG: You mentioned you wanted to work with kids. Do you have any specific plans after graduation?
JS: Grad school is in the plans as of right now; it’s just a matter of applying, but I want to go into early education. I want to get my master’s after graduating, I just don’t know where yet.
AG: How much is tennis in your future?
JS: I hope a lot, I’m definitely looking into graduate assistant positions or places where I can be an assistant coach. At one school they had an opportunity for an assistant coach at a Division-III school. I definitely want to play after school, keep in shape, maybe join a league or something, but I love tennis so hopefully it stays with me.