Ultimate middle child excels in classroom, soccer
Being a middle child can be tough, but they’ll get no sympathy from Tori Andreski, who would have to be considered the poster girl of middle-children, having four siblings older than her and four younger.
Despite frequently being called three of her siblings’ names before her own, Tori says her big-family upbringing has brought many benefits. Perhaps the most notable, it has helped shape who she is today as an honors student in the College of Business and a scholarship player on Clemson’s women’s soccer team.
“Coming from a family with eight brothers and sisters (ranging in ages from 28 to 10 years old) does teach you some important life lessons,” the Wilkesboro, N.C., redshirt junior said. “Learning roles, time management, responsibility and being a team player are just a few.”
All of those traits have helped shape Tori academically, an accounting major with a 3.8 GPA, and as a forward/midfielder on one of the Atlantic Coast Conference’s top women’s soccer programs this season.
“I learned well before college the importance of time management as one of the ‘Andreski Army,’ ” she said. “I also learned early on that no matter how good you are in school or on the playing field, the spotlight isn’t always going to shine on you. So, my adjustment as a college student-athlete might have been easier than for some.”
Tori admits juggling the rigors of academics and athletics is no easy chore, despite what her lofty grade point average might indicate. But her insistence on maintaining good grades and doing what it takes to achieve them is what has driven much of her classroom success.
“Grades have always been important to me and I love competing in school and on the field. I know my potential in the classroom and as a soccer player and don’t believe in giving anything less than my best,” she said.
To this day, Tori is amazed at her parents’ (Michael and Mary) ability to manage her siblings schedules, including the fact that at one point in time six of them were playing competitive club soccer an hour away from Wilkesboro. “No doubt, they are great role models. Often times we were divided in two vehicles traveling to each other’s practices. I remember well, studying in the car and on practice fields waiting for a brother or sister’s practice to end.”
Growing up in a small town, Clemson seemed like the right choice for Tori. She liked the atmosphere and that the surrounding community embraced and celebrated Clemson University. “I had a number of other scholarship opportunities coming out of high school, but when we drove up and I saw the paw prints on the roads around downtown Clemson, it seemed like the right place for me, and it turned out to be just that.”
Clemson also appealed to her as a soccer player, as the program wasn’t winning when she started her freshman season. “I wanted to play in the ACC and saw a great opportunity to grow as a player and help the program grow in stature, and that appealed to me. Every year I’ve been here, we’ve improved and a new standard has been set for the program. It’s been hard work, but the journey is rewarding.”
That journey hasn’t come without setbacks as knee injuries sidelined her for two seasons. But she’s turned the mental and physical pain of her time away from the program into a positive for her teammates.
“It was difficult being out, but I took on another role as a mentor to my younger teammates. Everyone who plays here was a superstar at the previous level, but that changes in college. I took it upon myself to help them with that adjustment. And, injuries and rehab are difficult mentally and physically for a player, which I can attest to. I’ve been able to provide support for those who follow in my footsteps on the comeback trail.”
In December, Tori will graduate with a bachelor’s degree, which she achieved in 3 ½ years. She has an auditing internship lined up with Ernst & Young in Charlotte, N.C., and will enroll in accounting graduate school at Clemson next fall, and has another year of eligibility remaining.
“The internship will help determine if the corporate experience is a good fit for me. Whatever course I take, the lessons I’ve learned as a student-athlete and from my family have put me in a good position. I have options, and I’ll wait and see where life after college takes me.”
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