Academics, Athletics, and Community Involvement: an Interview with two of York’s finest Student-Athletes.

Posted by Megan on November 1, 2013

Features | York & U

Being a successful  university student is no easy feat, and adding athletics and community involvement into the mix requires impressive drive and great time management skills. The following two students, Aisan Fazeli and Ray Szeto, are no exception to this rule. I had the pleasure of interviewing them this past week and I encourage you to read below – not only to be inspired and motivated by their success and involvement, but also to learn more about life as a York U Lion.

Aisan Fazeli

This is an image of Aisan Fazeli, one of York's accomplished athletes.
Student-athlete Aisan ‘Ace’ Fazeli, Captain of the Women’s Rugby Team. Photo Credit: York Lions webpage.

M: Tell me a little bit about yourself.

A: I’m 21 years old, member of the varsity women’s rugby team, and I’m a 4th year History major.

M: How long have you been playing Rugby for and how did you hear about York’s team?

A: I started playing Rugby at the end of grade 11, so [I’ve been playing for almost] 5 years. Joe Costello, our head coach at York [actually] got in touch with me as I was playing highschool rugby at Thornlea S.S. and [he] invited me out to training camp!

M: What does your practice and game schedule look like?

A: We start with a 2 week training camp in August, followed with practices every Monday to Friday from 7-9pm. I get to the stadium every night at 6 for taping. Then we have a game once a week on Friday, Saturday or Sunday. The season is short but very intense as this year we [have] only 5 regular season games followed by playoffs. We also have a workout that we do twice a week in the varsity gym.

M: Wow, that’s a crazy schedule! Are you playing any other sports?

A: I play on the York Powderpuff Football team – [it’s basically] flag football in the snow with contact on the line… LOVE IT!

M: I heard you are pretty involved with the community, can you tell me a little bit about that?

A: I’ve always been involved in the community, being on this team has made me realise I get to play with an incredible group of girls who all want to give back to the community [too]. With a team that has always been willing to work together to be better, we have been able to give back by volunteering with at risk youth, doing team blood drives, making lunches for the less fortunate, volunteering at fundraising events, and fundraising for cancer amongst other things.

M: How do you find the time to balance your academics with the other commitments in your life such as your athletics and community involvement?

A: I can’t say that it’s easy. I am a York U commuter, which everyone who commutes knows it can be very exhausting and time consuming. I have also worked 1 or 2 jobs through the school year, not to mention playing varsity is like a part time job! But I balance it by trying to stay as organized as I can – it can be easy to lose track of time, but time management is definitely the most important [tool you can use]. Not to mention I LOVE my agenda! How else would I keep track of everything?

M: So where do you see yourself in ten years? 

A: Through a post grad in Public Relations, I would love to work with sports teams in implementing a community outreach program where teams are able to have organized initiates to give back to the community, promoting team building in a positive light for their school.

M: Thank you so much for this interview. Do you have any final advice for incoming students that are interested in sports but are worried about the time commitment? 

A: I would say DO IT!!! You are not losing anything by trying and with hard work you can accomplish anything you want. The time commitment is definitely a challenge, but with all the resources Sport York is able to provide, there is always somebody to help you out to get organized and on the right path!

Ray Szeto

An image of Ray Szeto in his volleyball uniform.
Student-Athlete Ray Szeto, an accomplished Volleyball player. Photo Credit: York Lions webpage.

M: Hello, can you share a little tidbit about yourself?

R: Well my name is Raymond Szeto, [and] my hometown is Sutton, Ontario. I’m 22 years old and I am in my 4th year. My program is Psychology.

M: Fellow Psych major? Awesome! How long have you been playing Volleyball for and how did you hear about York’s team?

R: I have been playing Volleyball since I was about 15. I tried out for my high school team in grade 9 and I made it. I heard about the York Volleyball team when I was in high school. York University holds a high school volleyball tournament every year around September. When my high school came to the tournament Wally Dyba, the head coach, started recruiting me.

M: What does your practice and game schedule look like?

R: We practice every single week day. [We] practice in the gym for 2 hours, [and we] also have two mandatory weight room workouts a week. (Note: The Volleyball schedule can be found here.)

M: How do you find the time to balance your academics with the other commitments in your life?

R: Balancing school, sports, and other stuff is definitely hard. But when you play [a] team sport, your team really pushes you and helps you become studious. Managing time is tough, but we also have two ‘study halls’ which are mandatory study times for the guys on the team. Usually we all find a room in Osgoode after practice on Monday and Tuesday and we all study together.

M: Wow! It’s great to hear how much your team helps one another outside of sports. Let’s look forward- where do you see yourself in ten years?

R: Ten years is a very long time! In five I can definitely see myself in Europe playing professional Volleyball. But in ten? I’ll probably be back in Toronto!

M: That’s amazing! I love seeing my fellow York students dream big. Do you have any final advice for incoming students that are interested in sports but are worried about the time commitment? 

R: For students interested in playing sports[,] I highly suggest staying involved with your team outside of the sport. You will meet guys and girls that can show you how to [balance everything].

Make sure to check out the York Lions webpage! It contains a vast variety of resources from the sports calendar, sport-related articles, information about York’s sports teams, and more.

Interested in playing for York University? Check out the Future Students page to apply.


Megan is a third-year Psychology student. Follow her on her journey of self-development as she explores and ventures through campus.

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  • Megan

    Thank you so much Sunera! It’s definitely inspiring to say the least 🙂

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    Sunera Ali

    Fantastic post Megan. It is great to see other commuter students who are just as involved!