Becoming More of a Morning Person Helps Fabian Excel On and Off the Field
Jordan Fabian wasn’t much of a morning person at the start of her college career, but after some struggles to excel on and off the field, she motivated herself to make changes. Now South Carolina softball’s senior catcher is excelling in the classroom and on the diamond and recently received the Dodie Anderson Academic Enrichment Center MVP Award at the Gamecock Gala for her efforts.
“The biggest challenge was just doing it,” said Fabian who will graduate in May with a degree in exercise science and then attend graduate school. “I think a lot of things can be done when you just make the decision to do it. One day I decided that I would do better and feel better if I made the decision to change.”
When she first arrived on campus, Fabian struggled to be at her best for morning workouts, which usually started around 6:30 a.m. Being alert in her morning classes was also a struggle.
“I was not morning person, honestly, not until last year,” Fabian said with a laugh. “My teammates joke that I could sleep almost anywhere. They make fun of me how easily I fall asleep anywhere. My freshman and sophomore year, I would fall asleep on the airport floor when we were traveling. My sophomore year, we were playing at a tournament in Florida, and we had some time in between games, and I took nap on the bench in the dugout. I go to bed a lot earlier now. Even when I went to bed at a reasonable time, I didn’t like the mornings.”
Fabian would eventually take charge of her sleeping habits, and it paid off.
“I just decided that I needed to be more awake for weights. The weight sessions that we have for the team in the fall are something that I really value. I’m going into strength and conditioning (as a career), so being in the gym is something I value, and I felt like I wasn’t getting as much out of it. I was going in there, and I was taking nap on the floor before we started! So, I didn’t feel like I was getting as much out of it as I should because I was half asleep. I saw a correlation with the effort and energy I put into the weight room, and it showed on the field, power-wise and speed-wise. That was a big step for my career.”
“At the beginning, it did seem like graduation was a long way away, but now we have just a couple of weeks until it’s all done.”
After struggling offensively her first two years on the diamond, Fabian broke through last year and was tied for the team lead in home runs and was fourth in runs batted in. This season, Fabian took it up another level and hitting in the leadoff spot in the lineup, her batting average has hovered around .300 and she is second on the team in home runs and RBI, while leading the Gamecocks in runs scored, walks, and stolen bases. The success also carried over into the classroom.
“I just really wanted to get more value out of what I was doing in the mornings,” Fabian said. “I was enjoying the classes I was in because I was learning about the body and how it functions. I realized how crucial sleep was, so I worked on my sleep schedule a little bit. As athletes, we don’t sleep that much, but I wanted to get more out of what I was doing. No matter what the grades were, I was learning!
“They were definitely very tough classes. The first six semesters, I was taking two science classes per semester. The lectures for both of those and the labs every semester were very challenging. I did feel like that some people understood it a little easier than I did. It just clicked for them. It was frustrating too because I felt like I was understanding the material, but the exam grades weren’t showing me that. That was frustrating.”
During her transition the Hanahan, S.C., native was happy to see the hard work pay off but keeping herself motivated every day was still a challenge.
“Classes were a little harder to motivate myself to stay awake for,” Fabian said. “Along the same lines, I wasn’t getting as much out of them as I could have been. I’ve had a bunch of professors say that some of the most important stuff is said in the first ten minutes and the last ten minutes of class. I was definitely missing out on a lot of those first ten minutes when I was still walking in half asleep.
“Classes were definitely harder than high school. It was a lot of science classes with chemistry and anatomy. I really have only done poorly in two classes here. I get As and Bs mostly, and I might have one or two Cs on my transcript, but there were two not-so-greats on my transcript. I did retake those classes and did do very well the second time. They were challenging courses.”
Fabian intends to come back and play next year with the extra season of eligibility granted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. She is appreciative of the tutors and academic advisors at “the Dodie” who helped keep her on the right path. Once she became more disciplined with her sleep schedule, she found herself more prepared to achieve her goals.
“At the beginning, it did seem like graduation was a long way away, but now we have just a couple of weeks until it’s all done,” Fabian said. “I didn’t think I wouldn’t graduate, but I definitely wasn’t sure after my freshman year if I would be staying in exercise science just because of the science load. Now I just feel relieved and super-happy. It’s rewarding.”