Giovanna FicheraWhen Giovanna Fichera talks about her college experience, the word “balance” comes up again and again.

First of all, Giovanna chose to attend Sage, in large part, because she believed it would allow her to balance her love of playing soccer with her determination to do well academically.

Living on the Albany campus and having her classes in Troy, she was able to dip into the activities of two cities, while receiving the benefits of small classes and an intimate community feel.

She could major in Health Sciences, and take advantage of Sage’s Occupational Therapy: Accelerated 3+2 program, which meant getting in her bachelor’s and master’s in five years while knowing she was in a highly regarded program that would fully prepare her for a career as an occupational therapist.

And Giovanna had choices.

She was recruited to play soccer at Division I programs. But they couldn’t convince her that she would find that necessary balance of good times on the field with the chance to get good grades in the classroom.

“I’m so glad I went Division III,” she says. “I never came off the field. And it was plenty competitive. I had an awesome experience.”

Giovanna was a multi-year captain of the women’s soccer team, while maintaining a high GPA. She completed her undergraduate degree and is now a graduate student in the Occupational Therapy program.

She gives much of the credit to her professors.

“They might be my favorite part of Sage,” she says. “I could FaceTime any one of them right now and they’d all answer me. You just can’t believe how genuine they are.”

Because of the reputation of the Occupational Therapy program, Giovanna fully expects that once she finishes up her master’s, she’ll land a job.

“But if for some reason I don’t,” she says, “I’ll go back to my professors and they’ll be ready to help.”