“Mental state is a limitation in life. With sports, it pushes you past where you think you can go. That’s one of the biggest things I’ve learned.”

Originally from Glendora, California, Alex Lowden is a senior on Azusa Pacific University’s Women’s basketball team. Being on the basketball team isn’t the only thing that Lowden turns her focus to; aspiring to attend vet school after graduating, she majors in biology while minoring in business management. 

What planted her here at APU were not only the opportunities presented to her through biology, but the great opportunities that came with basketball and a great coach. Meeting the coach and the team solidified her feeling that APU was the right fit for her. 

Lowden’s love for basketball started at a young age when she was in middle school. She began playing for youth leagues, then club teams and moved up from there. Coming from an athletic family, basketball suited her well. 

Despite playing for a large portion of her life and being athletic, Lowden still had some doubts. After playing basketball in high school and not playing a lot outside of practice and games, she said, “I went and did it and that’s what got me here, but then coming to college, you are playing against people who have probably played longer than you, were on better teams or transfers from division ones. I thought, ‘Am I cut out for this?’ I had a lot of doubts my first two years. But then, as I got more playing time and made my way in the line up, I feel like this is for me.”

Although basketball is a big part of her life, so are her academics and her goals after college. With vet school applications still in rotation and waiting to hear back, Lowden would love to go straight into vet school, although taking a year to play basketball overseas is still in the cards for her future. “Wherever I end up at the end of the season is where I will be,” she says.

Classes, vet school applications, basketball and maintaining a social life are all things Lowden is juggling. It isn’t always easy.

“Sometimes things don’t always go my way and having to get through everything; some nights you won’t have a lot of sleep, but keep going till you have a night where you can sleep. Or you’ll have a bad practice or game, just push through … compartmentalizing is really helpful to keep all of it separate,” she said.

Though Lowden might appear to be keeping it all under control, there have been times where she was juggling too much. During the season of COVID, there wasn’t much basketball happening. However, holding a job, individual workouts and her hardest classes all piling up caused her to feel overwhelmed. 

The challenges of doing a lot of multitasking also came with a lesson learned. Not only did she learn about the value of teamwork, but she also learned how to strengthen her mental health

“Mental toughness, you have to be motivated, so determined, and on top of things in order to continue improving and keep playing at a higher level. Mental state is such a limitation in life, with sports it often pushes you past where you think you can go. That’s one of the biggest things I’ve learned,” she said.

Even though Lowden is busy, she understands that staying motivated and determined will get her through it all. It can get overwhelming, but taking it day by day helps. 

When arriving on campus and joining basketball here at APU, Lowden came in with one of her friends from high school and lived with some of her teammates. She would then quickly realize that her teammates would become a big part of her life. Teammates are not just people you see on the court and play a sport with; trust, respect and an understanding of one another is needed. 

“They are some of my closest friends for sure,” Lowden said. These teammates are people she will hold in a high regard for a very long time. 

Throughout her experience at Azusa Pacific, she shares her advice to those who might be feeling the same stress of trying to juggle it all: “It never hurts to ask for help, I feel like so many people don’t want to, but professors are so willing to work with you. It’s okay to not do everything … It’s okay to take time for yourself, cut back and not spread yourself too thin.”

Relying on those around her opened Lowden’s eyes to see that you don’t have to do everything on your own — that it’s good to rely on those around you.