Brittany Oster '14 is the epitome of a student-athlete.
A native of Agoura Hills, Calif., Oster spent the last four years balancing a double major of biochemistry and molecular biology with a successful run on the basketball team.
“I’ve been blessed with really great time management skills,” she said. “Besides that, my coach has the philosophy of, ‘You’re a student-athlete and there’s a reason why student comes first in that.’ There were times when I had to say that I needed to get something done and would have to miss practice, and they were very understanding. Professors knew right off the bat I was an athlete, and they were very accommodating, letting me miss a class or meet with them extra times.”
When it came time for Oster to choose a college, she looked for one with a basketball team and rigorous academics. She also wanted to be able to study abroad, and felt like Redlands would give her all of those opportunities.
“Studying abroad was really important to me,” she said. “It was also important to meet the girls on the basketball team, because they form a family. The class sizes made a difference, too. I knew I was interested in science, and I had always been a person that did really well in academics because I had such good communication with teachers in high school.”
After her freshman year, Oster decided it was time to branch out, and became a community assistant in North Hall.
“I kind of wanted to push myself to join some new things,” she said. “Joining as a CA in North Hall for two years was probably one of my greatest experiences besides playing basketball. It really did teach me a lot, and I got to know a lot more people than just those on the basketball team. That was awesome.”
Oster also got her wish to study abroad during her sophomore year, visiting Guatemala during May Term.
“We were mostly volunteering and working in rural areas,” she said. “We were teaching and helping kids at an after-school program. It wasn’t like going to Europe; it was very eye-opening. It was a great experience.”
As a double science major, Oster also spent a lot of time in laboratories, conducting research and experiments.
“The programs have been great,” she said. “We have the opportunity to do research, and sometimes at bigger schools you don’t even get the opportunity to do that. I feel like I’ve learned more skills that maybe other people haven’t. The professors have been so helpful, and they encourage you to talk to them.”
Through it all, Oster played basketball. During her senior year, she hit a milestone, scoring her 1,000th point as a Bulldog.
“I knew I could potentially get there,” she said. “My dad is super into stats, and after finishing my junior year he said, ‘You could hit 1,000 points your senior year.’ I was not going to think about it or I would jinx it. When I did it they made an announcement, and I was like, ‘Oh that’s great.’ It felt awesome, and really good to accomplish a great thing. You put so many years of hard work in, and I had to give it all back to my team. They’re the people making me better and supporting me the past four years. I couldn’t have done it without them.”
Oster is now planning for her future, and will take a year off to do some medical volunteering abroad. She is very close to her aunt, a nurse, and wants to follow in her footsteps.
“My aunt was about my age when I was born, and she took me everywhere with her,” she said. “When I was that young I thought she was a doctor, and I wanted to become a doctor like her. I learned she was a nurse, but I decided I still wanted to be a doctor.”
She will soon begin applying to medical schools in both California and New York, where she also has family.
“I’m thinking about going into surgery,” she said. “I have friends who are already in medical school, and they’ve changed what they want to do a bunch of times because of rotations. I’m going to go into it with an open mind.”
Written by: Catherine Garcia