Humans of Hillsdale is an ongoing series spotlighting Hillsdale College student-athletes, spotlighting the people behind the uniforms.
Next in the series is Charger women's track athlete Abbie Porter
Abbie Porter — Dedicated
Class of 2020 | Women's Track & Field | Grand Rapids, Michigan
If one word was to describe Abbie Porter, it just might be "dedicated". Whether she's serving impoverished children in Costa Rica or running a few extra miles before track practice, Abbie is going to give her best. That dedication has led to two G-MAC championships in the 800-meter run, covering the indoor and outdoor seasons in 2018.
When asked what she thinks people on campus would know her for, outside of her sport, she said:
"I guess people would know my working hard in school, my dedication to my friends and family, and my interests in my future career."
Abbie is currently studying exercise science with aspirations of being a physical therapist. To support her studies, she works in the college's fitness center and as a teacher's assistant in the chemistry lab.
"I'm thinking inpatient physical therapy, which I find to be the most rewarding," she said. "A human-to-human relationship is something I want in a job."
She says the idea of inpatient physical therapy is appealing because people's lives are directly impacted. A person who was just in the hospital or who is recovering from surgery can go from not being able to move properly, to being able to walk down the hallway, even within a week or two.
Another rewarding experience for Abbie was her mission trip to Costa Rica in 2016. She said it was very eye-opening.
"It's very cliche, but we really are privileged," she said. "It's the little things like being able to flush toilet paper down the toilet. You can read about it or see pictures, but until you really see what it's like and live it for two weeks, you don't fully understand."
A typical day in Costa Rica began at 7 a.m. with breakfast and devotional time. The group would then go to the jails, schools and police stations where they would clean or complete some sort of project. As lunchtime rolled around, Abbie and her team returned to prepare lunch for the malnourished children and host a vacation Bible school-type meeting.
"A lot of the kids were sick in some way," she said. "They usually had some kind of infection, especially in their eyes."
Helping others and having good relationships with people are important to Abbie. One example of this kind of relationship may be the one she has with her mom.
"My mom is definitely my go-to person — for life advice, school advice, anything basically," she said. "She's been the one who's been supportive of the switch from volleyball to track. And we love to go to Banana Republic together. She's a very stylish teacher."
After years of club volleyball and hours of practice, it was hard for her to give up the idea of playing in college as she began to realize her potential on the track. Knowing the amount of time that was invested on the court made her decision a hard one.
"I felt like I was giving away a lot of time," she said. "But after the state meet junior year when volleyball wasn't going well and then I won the 400, I just thought my talent is in track, and if I put a lot more time into it, I could be pretty good."
Just as she switched her focus and became more dedicated to her training for track, she has become equally dedicated in the pursuit of her future career. At the end of this interview, she casually mentioned her newest endeavor: the foundation of the Hillsdale College Physical Therapy club, where she now serves as its vice president.
A conference champion with a caring heart and a dedicated spirit: that is Abbie Porter.