User Spotlight: A Double Play in Baseball and Ivy League Studies

March 7, 2024

Welcome to this user spotlight, where we share the stories of the people that make up our incredible user community.

Meet Olivia Pichardo, a remarkable sophomore student-athlete at Brown University who has broken new ground in sports. In November 2022, Olivia achieved a historic milestone by becoming the first woman to join and play for a Division I baseball team in the United States, the top tier of college sports competition. Beyond her achievements at Brown, Olivia also represents the USA Baseball Women’s National Team.

We recently spoke with Olivia, who is also an avid Goodnotes user, to explore her journey in baseball, and her tips for managing a hectic schedule as a college student.

Hi Olivia! It's incredible what you've achieved so far. We can’t wait to hear more about your story. To begin with, what drew you to baseball at first and what kept you playing?

At six, my dad signed me up for Little League because of his passion for the sport. Baseball has become a part of my life ever since. What I love about the sport the most is that it's a true team sport - not just one person who carries or represents the team; it requires every player to contribute to the team's success. It was the first sport I played growing up, and it's always held a special place in my heart.

As an athlete have you faced any challenges over the years? How have you navigated them?

Baseball is a mentally challenging sport. There were moments of challenges for me, just like any other player. In a baseball game, for example, when you are struck out, you have to wait for two innings to be in the line-up again and to play again to make up for it. This part is quite challenging, and I have to learn how to reset, try not to dwell on my mistakes between plays and focus on everything else that I do. It takes a lot of practice.

As a female playing this sport, it is easy to be compared with other male teammates. The key for me has been to focus on my own progress and not compare myself to others. As the saying goes, “comparison is the thief of joy”. It’s impossible to make any stride if I’m too busy worrying about others. I try to just walk at my own pace and improve myself.

I am also lucky to have the support from the community of women in baseball. I first played all-women baseball at the age of 14. Before that, I was used to being the only girl on the baseball team. In 2018, I went to the MLB Breakthrough Series camp. I even met other girls who played baseball from Canada, Puerto Rico, and many other Latin American countries. This experience opened an entirely new world to me - one where I knew other girls who loved this sport as much as I did and shared a similar experience: being the only girl on their high school baseball team. I cherish the moments when we can come together, even if it's just once or twice a year, as knowing that I have them on my side makes me feel less alone in this journey.

Olivia in her baseball uniform, ready to swing!

Do you have any role models growing up playing baseball?

Yes, I do! I’d say Kelsie Whitmore is one of my role models. She’s the first woman I’ve heard of who also plays baseball and it meant a lot to me as a kid. Ashton Lansdell is another role model of mine. She was at the first all-women baseball camp I went to and I saw how she played there. I saw how fast she was, how strong she was. I just wanted to be like her. They are powerful motivators for me to be the best baseball player I can be.

What advice do you have for younger girls?

While I'm still learning and growing, I'd tell younger girls to put their 100% effort into everything they do. It's about discipline as much as it is about passion. Everything you do reflects your character, so just give it your all.

Moving onto your daily life, what does an average day look like for you? What is your routine for managing your time?

My daily schedule usually starts with classes in the morning, followed by lunch with friends, and then practice until the evening. After dinner I will spend my night studying and working on my homework at the library.

A beneficial habit for me is to utilize the morning time. For example, even if my first class starts at 1pm, I will still ensure that I wake up by 7:30 am to have a few extra hours to get as many things done as possible. Sometimes, I use the time to go to the field for practice, and then enjoy lunch with my friends. Making good use of the morning gives me more free time in my busy schedule.

Besides, using a digital calendar and planning my days in detail has been crucial for me. I love using the calendar in a weekly view and mapping out all the events and tasks I need to do. My schedule is subject to change a lot because baseball is an outdoor sport, and the weather plays a part in what time our practice will be. Therefore, a digital calendar is convenient, and I can easily update it.

Studying time in the library

Balancing academics and athletics must be challenging. How do you manage it?

I struggled to balance my studies and baseball during my first semester. There were many conflicts between my academic schedule and the baseball team's schedule. Luckily, my coach was accommodating, and we discussed what training I could reschedule to fit my classes. After the first semester, I have a better picture of how my training schedule looks, so that I can plan my academic schedule around the training schedule.

Goodnotes has also helped me manage my academic and baseball commitments more effectively. The transition from paper to digital has dramatically streamlined my note-taking and studying process. I have recently started using the 2024 Focus Planner from the Goodnotes Marketplace. I like how the planner showed up in the format of a notebook so that everything I need, from calendar to study notes, is stored in one place in the app. All the days and sections are hyperlinked in the digital planner, so it is easy to navigate. I also like the format and subsections of each day. It’s a fun way to plan so that the tasks do not seem as daunting or stressful.

Get well-planned like Olivia, using the 2024 Focus Planner

Thank you for your love for Goodnotes! Do you have a favorite feature in the app?

I actually only started using Goodnotes in college after my parents gave me an iPad in my freshmen year. After doing some research on which note-taking app to use, I decided that Goodnotes was the best option for me.

My favorite feature of Goodnotes is its compatibility with various file formats. For example, it allows me to import lecture slides and annotate them directly during lectures. This is incredibly convenient and useful for college students. I can also add pages and notes to the slides whenever needed.

Looking ahead, what are your aspirations in both your sporting career and academics?

I aim to continue playing for the United States Baseball Women's National Team and explore internships and academic opportunities. Being on the National Team is a really special experience for me - it’s the only time that we can play with all women and we get to play against teams from around the world. At the end of the day, we all want the same thing: to see women's baseball grow and develop in different countries. My goal is to just keep playing baseball for as long as possible.

Feeling inspired? 

Connect with Olivia on social media and explore digital stationery in the Goodnotes Marketplace today.

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