With a sneak peek originally on @HumansofRowan on Instagram, today we learn more about Psychology major Sapjah Zapotitla of Cherry Hill, NJ (Camden County). Sapjah is involved on campus as the president of the Sociology and Anthropology Club and a member of intramural wrestling on campus.
What’s your Rowan experience been like as the first woman to join the Wrestling Club?
It was a bit intimidating at first because of how there was no other females there. There’s men there, but it’s very different from how it was in high school. From my experience in high school, there was a lot more variety in the people that would come to practices in terms of size.
But with the club, it’s like stepping into a jungle. I was really excited when I first started. I was exhilarated to just try my best and show all of the members that I can prove myself and show that I’m a lot stronger than people expect; because, I am pretty small. It’s been so far so good. In high school, it was a bit more of a hostile environment because I was a girl, but with here at the club, I felt welcomed and accepted. They knew that I wanted to come to the Wrestling Club to have fun.
What’s your history with wrestling?
This is a funny story. I used to be very shy and didn’t really think much of myself. But going into high school my freshman year, I knew I wanted to try something new. So I asked people what sports were available at Cherry Hill East. My peers would go on to say all of the generic different sports that might be offered, but they had also mentioned wrestling.
When I had asked about the sport they went on and said, “Yeah, but that’s only for boys.” At that moment I realized I wanted to go out and try out for that sport.
I was still really shy for the first few months, but after a while I started to speak up and converse with more people. During my time in high school I had even tried to start the girls’ wrestling team. I knew that even if I didn’t have a place I was ready to go out and make one for myself and others who might be interested in similar things. I want to be the change. I want people to know that they’re being welcomed, especially females in a male-dominated sport. It’s been a really fun experience, to say the least.
How was that transition like going from high school to Rowan?
At first, I was just so grateful. It’s an environment that I didn’t know existed. That kind of environment where they’re like “you belong.” It has been amazing to find that here.
How’s your experience been so far here at Rowan?
I was super nervous getting into Rowan because of financial issues. I’m a first-generation student, and I didn’t have role models to follow suit. I had to figure everything out by myself and I’ll be honest, I felt that pressure.
But, I was determined. If I was going to go to college, I was going to do it the way that I wanted to do it.
I’m currently taking 18 credits, which is six courses. My first two weeks into Rowan I became the president of the Sociology and Anthropology Club. I’ve even gone on to get interviews for future positions as well as getting a job here on campus at the Student Success Center as a secretary. It’s been pretty enthralling!
What’s it like being the president of the Sociology and Anthropology Club?
For myself, I’ve always been the type of person who likes to jump in and seize opportunities. For example, like being the first girl wrestler. I just want to be there and participate and do what I can to better myself.
With the Rowan Sociology and Anthropology Club, it was in the process of being rebuilt. When I first got there, no one was showing up. I came up with solutions, working with social media to attempt to recruit new members. I’m all for trying.
Are there any other clubs that you’re involved in?
I’m also a part of “Get Fit” here at Rowan. I’m a volunteer there. Last semester I volunteered around 20 hours, and I absolutely loved it. I felt like I belonged there, just helping people with disabilities work out helps me just as much as it helps them. I’m now technically a session manager for Get Fit.
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Lucas Taylor, English education graduate student