Bagging groceries, serving aces

Senior volleyball captain Tajayua Phillips works hard to balance her busy schedule, juggling a job at Kroger, academics, extracurricular activities, chores, and leading her team on the court.  Even with her strenuous schedule, Phillips still keeps a positive attitude and stays on top of her academics.  

“I use time management. I have a set schedule I go by, and everyday I just go through that schedule. I feel like in a way makes me prepared for the future, so if I already do it now I feel like it’ll be easier,”  Phillips said.  

Phillips involves herself in all these different activities knowing how time consuming and demanding each of them are.  Even though it is demanding to sustain her agenda, Phillips believes it’s the only option if she desires to continue to do what she loves.  

“I really like volleyball and my mom can help me pay for things, but having my own money so she can have more in her pocket to support her three kids helps her out,” Phillips said. “ I can always drop volleyball, but it’s something I love to do. I don’t love my job, but I love the money I receive.” 

Phillips is a leader on the court not only with her positive, supportive attitude, but also with the way she performs. This season Phillips has played 28 sets, had 17 kills, 31 digs, 10 aces, averaging .4 aces per set, and 1.1 digs per set. 

Phillips keeps a refreshing attitude, but sometimes the pressure of her taxing schedule causes her to miss out on being a teenager.  

“I feel like I am never lucky. Like weekends, most people go to hang out with friends and do fun things, and most of the time I don’t get to do those kinds of things.  Especially being a 12th grader, I miss out on a lot of stuff. For me I go to school, then practice, then home, and in the free time I do have I study,” Phillips said. 

On the court Phillips thrives off of the pressure of the game, using it to her advantage.  

“Everybody gets so scared and intimidated and I don’t know why.  One time we played a team and the girls were so big and tall, and me I’m 5-foot-three,  and there was a girl on the other team who was like six foot. She was blocking me and I got the block over her and it made me feel good,”  Phillips said.  

As team captain, Phillips demonstrates leadership on and off the court, supporting her teammates and encouraging their strengths.  

“I like to see the different levels of the team as captain. I let the girls do what they do best.  I am very observant, so I like to observe people’s actions at practice and during games,” Phillips said.  

Her participation as an athlete will continue after high school where Phillips plans to get a scholarship for volleyball.  If she does not receive a scholarship she plans on playing for a club, but either way volleyball is still going to be apart in her life. 

“Sometimes I don’t like all of the stress I feel, but I don’t want to drop anything.  Even though I might not like one thing, like my job, I still work. I love volleyball and I don’t want to quit, so I just do what I have to do,” Phillips said.