Fernanda Contreras-Women’s Tennis
Major: Mechanical Engineer
Why did you choose to attend Vanderbilt?
Vanderbilt was the perfect fit for me. It combines great academics with challenging athletics and it can’t get any better than that. Coach MacDonald and Coach “Leaks” were the most unique and interesting coaches I met; they saw my potential instead of my rank or body build. They saw me as a person and not a transaction.
What are your career goals?
I’m not sure yet. I’m thinking about doing engineering grad school but I might do some real time work before I decide that. We’ll see what the future holds.
What does it take to be academically successful at Vanderbilt?
You have to use your time wisely. It’s not about being smart or talented, it’s about being resourceful and using your time effectively. Go to office hours, ask questions and if a concept is hard to understand, read about it or discuss it with friends. The more you talk about it and the more you are exposed to hard concepts the easier it will be to grapple with them.
How do you manage your demanding schedule?
With sacrifices: my tennis always comes first, then school and then my social life and hobbies. If I am done with my first two, then I can move to my free time. My friend (XC country) Sara Tsai helps me a lot, since we’re both mechanical engineers and share almost all our classes. If one of us misses, we take notes for each other and keep each other on track.
What is your ritual before taking a test?
I listen to pump up music and remember that if I’ve studied hard I’ll be alright, some things are out of my control and it’s ok; as long as I can problem-solve through the test I’m ok.
What is your favorite quote?
“Only I can change my life. No one can do it for me.” -Carol Burnett
“If you can dream it, you can do it.” -Walt Disney