Name: Julie Else
Grade: Freshman at Norwich University
The November Germ Girl of the Month, Julie Else, is a superstar athlete, student, daughter, sister, and friend. Born in the Philippines, Julie had to learn to take care of herself at a young age. With the support of family and friends, she has turned those early experiences into a determination to succeed both on and off the rugby field. We had a chance to talk to Julie about her coming to the US as a teenager, becoming accustomed to high school life here, and starting her first year of college. Julie shines as an inspiration to all young women; you can achieve your dreams and never let any circumstance hold you back from your passions.
A: Do the work and then ask yourself, “Was this the best I could do?” To get involved with school activities. All the activities help you to find your way – what you like to do, what you are good at, and to find those activities that inspire me.
Q: What helped you decide what to do after high school?
A: My mom and dad wanted me to go to college — to experience all that comes into my life while learning more about what I like and may be good at. I can get a job at any time, but I don’t want to have an entry level job. It’s a transition to making my own decisions and living with the consequences of those decisions, be they right or wrong. Going to college also allows me to play rugby, which has had a strong impact on my life.
Q: Tell us about coming to America after living in the Philippines. How did you make it all work?
A: My biggest challenge is the English language. I came to the US when I was 13. I was becoming a young woman physically and emotionally, I didn’t speak the language, I had to learn new foods, new schools, a new family, and make friends. I didn’t want people to laugh at me because I didn’t speak using correct grammar or the right words, so I didn’t communicate as freely as I should have. My parents pushed me to study hard; most times I had no idea what I was doing, but their drive [kept] me motivated to succeed. All I kept hearing was to study because education will open up the world.
Q: What have you learned about yourself through it all?
A: Those closest to me have always wanted to assist me. As a survivor from the Philippines, I could only count on myself; I wasn’t ready for others to help me. I now realize that people want me to succeed and to be part of that success.
A: Rugby. Rugby has opened the door for me to go to a great university. I know that opportunities like this don’t come along very often, so I want to continue to do my best in rugby and in my studies.
Q: What are your future plans?
A: I’m currently attending college at Norwich University. I would like to go into Physical Therapy if my grades will get me accepted. A second choice would be an athletic trainer. I would like to continue to play competitive rugby at the highest levels in the US and the Philippines.
Q: Tell us about your average day.
A: Classes throughout the day and a work-study job on campus for about an hour, study time before rugby practice, rugby practice, eat supper with the team, then socialize with people in the dorm and finish the day by studying.
Q: Who inspires you?
A: My birth dad in the Philippines. He gave me up to live in the House of Refuge (an orphanage). Although most kids want to live with their family, even in a poverty stricken country, my dad wanted me to get out of the poverty. He knew that by being adopted, there would be more opportunities for me to succeed. My current situation would not have been possible if my dad did not place me in the orphanage. (Julie’s birth dad passed away during the US “Fathers Day Weekend” in June of 2014)
A: A good comedy movie. My sister. My friends just being friends. Random silliness.
Q: What do you love most about fall?
A: I really like warm weather, so fall reminds me that it will be cold soon. The colors of the trees, especially the orange leaves as orange is my favorite color, the special days of Halloween and Thanksgiving.