Jessica Patenaude is a fourth-year forward for the St. Thomas University’s women’s basketball team and has had a love for sports since she was young. Her love for athleticism only grew when she stepped foot on STU’s campus and became a committed Tommie.
Patenaude played volleyball, badminton, ran cross country, did track and field, gymnastics and played rugby and basketball back home on Prince Edward Island.
“As a kid … I just kind of felt restless and doing all those sports just gave me time to do stuff and just let out the kind of energy you really need to let out when you’re younger,” said Patenaude.
She’s always willing to try every sport at least once. When she was in high school she was encouraged to play as many sports as possible.
“I went to Charlottetown Rural and we had a phys-ed teacher there who said ‘If you’re an athlete you can play almost every sport. So try to play as many sports as you [can].’”
Basketball was the sport Patenaude decided to pursue at the university level.
Hailing from Charlottetown, P.E.I., Patenaude was originally recruited by University of Prince Edward Island for her freshman year. She thought it was beneficial being close to home because it made it easier to adjust to the increased workload and different atmosphere. She continued to play on the court. However, she realized it wasn’t the place for her.
“It’s not that I didn’t like UPEI, it just it didn’t seem like it was where I needed to be at that time,” she said.
She intended to major in English and minor in psychology, but then she looked into STU and found the criminology program. She was intrigued, since UPEI didn’t have a criminology department.
“STU was just kind of always in my head, so I decided to go with my first instinct after UPEI didn’t really work out,” said Patenaude.
Patenaude said it can be hard to juggle school and athletics, but she’s balanced it well. She’s found teammates of all ages are always willing to help, as well as coaches. Whether you’re struggling academically or need help in other areas the support is there, she said.
“If you’re having a struggle with something there’s almost always someone there who can give you pointers or tell you who to go to or where to go to figure stuff out,” she said.
“A lot of our coaches understand that our education comes first.”
Patenaude hopes to leave everything on the court and reach nationals in her final year at STU.
“I haven’t seen nationals since I’ve been here and I think that would be a good way to go out.”