Junior biology all middle hitter Dayjah Whyte discovered her love of volleyball in eighth grade, and her commitment to the sport has continued ever since.
She first heard of the University of Dallas when the volleyball coach sent her an email trying to recruit her to the team. Whyte visited campus twice before committing and remembered what stood out to her most was how nice everyone was and Music on the Mall.
Prior to UD, she went to a public high school in Round Rock near Austin, which came with its pros and cons.
“It was very competitive, which was good because it helped me step up my game, [but] I didn’t like how it was very involved with boosters, like playing time would be decided based on how much your parents contributed,” Whyte explained. “Being an athlete really helped because you knew a lot of people and that helped academically because people would want to help you be on top of your game. The teachers would want to help as well and they would come support you.”
After some debate on which college to attend, Whyte’s deciding factor was UD’s Rome program. She was excited to have the opportunity to travel and learn about other cultures. As luck would have it though, Whyte attended the spring Rome semester that was sent home early after the pandemic began. While abroad, Whyte was able to predict the upcoming coronavirus shutdown, the Spromer’s early return to the states and the move to virtual classrooms.
“I saw it coming. Once the cases started rising in Italy, I knew it was time to go… I was just stressed on how they would get all the books and materials to us… I was stressed about how the time zones would work and how I will be able to complete assignments on time,” Whyte explained. “It was pretty stressful, but it was definitely manageable.”
Despite Whyte’s early end to her Rome semester, she has had a great experience overall during her past three years at UD. Though the Core classes are hard, Whyte responded to the challenge and found academic help from her teammates, many of whom took the same classes.
When talking about the dynamic of this year’s team, Whyte reported nothing but positive feedback.
“Now that we have the time to practice before we start playing in the spring, we’re really building up the team chemistry and communication and I think it’s going to help with the dynamic moving on,” Whyte said, applauding her teammates for their compliance with COVID-19 regulations. “We’ve been pretty good about it. Everyone wears their mask even though it’s very difficult to play with a mask on, we all know that’s what we need to do to be safe.”
Whyte described her relationship with the team and coaches as “a fun and playful relationship,” though she and the team know that there are times to buckle down and get serious.
“It’s very respectful because we know when to joke around and we know when to be serious, especially during practice.”
When asked about what Whyte looks forward to in the upcoming season, she elaborated on trials ahead of them.
“[I’m looking forward to] seeing how our team does in these new conditions. There’s a lot of pressure. We’ve been really consistent these years, so we really want to get in the top three this year and I’m curious to see how our new freshmen will do in game-like situations.”
Through volleyball, Whyte has sharpened her leadership skills and has been a beacon of positive energy for her teammates.
She hopes that the younger classes will be able to look up to her leadership after completing three years at UD.
After UD, Whyte plans to go to medical school.
“[I want] to become a forensic pathologist or a medical examiner,” Whyte reports, though she has not decided on which one.