Q&A with Jade Vorster: Balance, discipline, and a strong work ethic

After earning her pre-medical degree from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, former Wahine Volleyball player Jade Vorster went on to Liberty University where she received her master’s degree in public health. She then went on to medical school at Florida Atlantic University. In 2017, she was commissioned as an Officer in the United States Navy Reserves under the Health Professions Scholarship Program.

Jade graduated from medical school in spring 2021 and will start a five year General Surgery Residency Program at Baylor College of Medicine. Upon completion of residency, she will spend four years as an active duty general surgeon in the Navy.

We asked Jade a few questions about her time at UH, what advice she'd give to an incoming student and what it was like being a student athlete.

Why did you choose UH?

It's hard to believe that I started my collegiate education and volleyball career at UH 10 years ago! I knew that I would have the support and resources to achieve greatness both academically and athletically at UH, but it was ability to do so in a humble, down-to-earth environment that made UH so unique. That is why I ultimately chose UH. When I first visited UH, I knew it felt like family.  

What do you value most about your time at UH?

I value the personal challenges I experienced at UH the most. Even more importantly, I value the support that I received from my coaches, teammates, athletic trainer, roommates, friends, and family along the way.

Whether it was that tough summer physics course, dealing with athletic injuries, cramming for a test before a busy weekend of games, or being far away from my family, I learned that challenges are an expected part of life and how we learn to handle them makes us stronger in the future. I feel that the lessons I learned at UH have been an integral part of my success as a medical student and will continue to contribute to my success as a surgeon and military officer.

What is your fondest memory of your time at UH? What makes that memory so special to you?

While numerous, caffeine fueled nights at Sinclair Library are where most of my academic triumphs were made, the numerous nights playing volleyball in the Stan Sheriff are where some of my  fondest memories. I still get goosebumps every time I think about running out of the tunnel with my team. UH fans are the best in the world. They are the ones who really made our home games so special.

What advice would you give to an incoming student?

To the incoming student: Your years at UH are going to be some of the most formative years of your life! Make the most of it. Work hard. Be the best you can be at everything you do. Embrace challenges, but ask for help when you need it. Set goals, but be open to change. And most importantly, have fun and treat life as an adventure.

What is it like to be a student athlete, how did you balance your time between practice, games and your academics? What support did UH offer you?

As a student athlete, balance, discipline, and a strong work ethic are the keys to success. On a typical week day, I would get up at 5 a.m. to get ready for practice and/or weight training. Afterwards, I would usually spend time working with our athletic trainers until class started. Class could be anytime from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and after that I would study until about 10 or 11 p.m. I consistently used the library services at UH and attended as many of my professor’s office hours as I could! Through the athletic department, the Nagatani Academic Center offered tutoring services and a quiet place to study. When I needed a break, the Newman Center on campus was the perfect place for me to recharge spiritually and connect with friends.

University of Hawai‘i Alumni