As Abby Demboski comes to the end of one important chapter in her life, she begins another. As is the case so often these days, the coronavirus pandemic is at the center of both events.
Demboski, a senior on The University of Toledo women’s soccer team, will graduate in May with a degree in nursing. Like her fellow graduates, her final two months of college were spent in virtual classes. Her commencement experience next month will be virtual, too.
After graduation, Demboski intends to move to Colorado to become a registered nurse during a period of time in which health professionals are under tremendous strain. Despite the uncertainty and stress associated with the coronavirus, she is excited to join the work force and do her part.
“I’m gunning to get out to Colorado and become an RN,” said Demboski, who also has a minor in public health. “The whole coronavirus situation is pretty scary because of the worldwide impact it is having, but I can’t wait to be one of those people that helps others.”
Demboski knows her four years at UToledo prepared her well for the future, and she acknowledges all of the opportunities it provided for her.
“These last four years have made me into the person I am today and pushed me to be a better friend and leader,” Demboski said. “It taught me so many life skills, like time management, organization and prioritizing, and these are the same things that will help me become a successful nurse. My time at UToledo created a great base for me, and I’m forever grateful.”
The Columbus, Ohio, native, excelled on the field and in the classroom. A four-year starter, Demboski played an instrumental role in helping the Rockets secure the 2017 Mid-American Conference Tournament title.
“One of my best college memories was winning a MAC Championship,” Demboski said. “That team worked so hard and was rewarded for all of their efforts. I will never forget the journey we took to win that championship. In particular, I will always remember the day we beat our archrival [Bowling Green] in overtime in the finals.”
Following that championship run in 2017, Demboski went on to become one of the Rockets’ top players. She experienced her best statistical year last fall as a senior captain, posting a career-high seven points. She finished third on the team in goals scored (3) and total points. Among her three goals, Demboski was a perfect 2 of 2 converting penalty kicks.
“Being elected team captain was one of the biggest honors of my life,” Demboski said. “I had immense respect for each of my teammates and knowing they trusted me enough to lead the team meant a lot.”
Not only did Demboski excel on the field, she was ultra-successful in the classroom, garnering Academic All-MAC accolades a school-record three times.
“Although I spent a lot of time in college playing soccer, school always came first,” said Demboski, who will graduate with a 3.889 GPA. “Getting a quality education was my top priority at Toledo, and being a three-time Academic All-MAC honoree was truly icing on the cake.”
Head Coach TJ Buchholz truly appreciated Demboski’s contributions to the women’s soccer program, both on and off the field during her time wearing the Midnight Blue and Gold.
“Abby was a selfless leader who always cared more for her teammates over herself. I’m enormously grateful to have coached her,” Buchholz said. “It’s hard to say goodbye to a player like Abby after the lasting impact she made on her teammates and coaches, but I’m excited to see the tremendous impact she is going to have after graduation.”
Demboski is excited to earn her nursing degree, but she is disappointed she will not get the chance to walk across the stage, as the University moved to a virtual ceremony because of the COVID-19 global pandemic.
“I’m certainly disappointed that I can’t go through graduation and walk across the stage with my fellow graduates,” Demboski said. “Ever since I was a freshman, I envisioned getting all dressed up, putting on my cap and gown, and walking across the stage to get my diploma. It was supposed to be a day to celebrate four years of hard work and dedication with family and friends.”
The Demboski family has alternate plans to help her celebrate the special day. They have something in the works to give her a well-deserved moment in the sun.
“My family and I will make the most of it,” Demboski said. “I might walk across my backyard and pretend it’s the stage. It’s certainly disappointing not to walk with my fellow graduates, but I totally understand why the decision was made.”
Demboski’s time as a student-athlete at The University of Toledo is quickly coming to an end. She arrived on Main Campus four years ago simply looking to secure a degree and continuing to play the sport she loved. But Demboski left with so much more.
“I had an amazing run at Toledo, and I would not change any part of my experience,” she said. “I met a lot of great people and developed some tremendous relationships that I will forever cherish.”