Student Squared: Paige DiBiase ’25

In her third interview for Student Squared, Managing Features Editor Eleanor Walsh ’25 talked to Paige DiBiase ’25, a psychology major, field hockey star and matcha lover. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Student Squared: Paige DiBiase ’25
DiBiase says that if she were an animal, she'd be a cat, not a bunny. Photo courtesy of Paige DiBiase ’25.

Q: First of all, how was your Homecoming?

A: This is going to sound bad but I didn’t go to Homecoming, because my dad was here helping me move from Plimpton to Moore. I got screwed over by housing and I was placed in Plimpton for the first half of the year. … I just had a really, really bad housing number, and I had been betting on getting a single, so it was either Plimpton or Tyler. I think there might’ve been — what’s that one that starts with a C? Chapman. … So my dad brought the car down [from New Jersey] and helped me move all my stuff.

Q: That’s such a good dad.

A: And my sister surprised me because she goes to Trinity! She’s a freshman there; she plays field hockey, so we play against each other. But she surprised me yesterday — she took a video and she’s hiding in the second row [of the car], and she’s like ’hi’ and I scream. Like I screamed a crazy scream. And we spent the day together.

Q: That’s so funny and I wish I could put a video in the paper.

A: I’ll show it to you right now. [Paige shows me the video which does include a crazy scream.]

Q: I love your scream so much. You sound like a cartoon character. Is it just you guys siblings-wise?

A: We have a younger brother. I think [this weekend] he was touring … I don’t know what school but he was touring because he’s a junior in high school.

Q: Oh, yeah. I have two younger brothers and I remember the college touring very well.

A: Yeah, it was nice with me and my sister because once we got the verbal, ‘Oh, you’re on the team,’ it’s just like, ‘OK, great. I’m done.’

Q: What’s it like to both be playing the same sport? Did you go to the same high school?

A: So we played on the same high school team for two years … and we [would] always do all these tournaments with each other. Because my dad really likes field hockey, he’s always been really into coaching. So we played with each other a lot. It’s kind of funny to play against her. We had this scrimmage at the beginning of the year, Amherst vs. Trinity. I was playing right forward [position], and she was playing right mid, so there was absolutely no overlap. She had the ball once — and I would never do this in an actual game — but I went all the way over and I was just making crazy noises at her and my friend Charlotte who was playing defense started doing it too. It was fun. Like it’s competitive, but it’s also really fun. I really miss playing with her. So during the summer and winter break we’ll probably do more of that.

Q: I tried to get into field hockey but it hurt my back so much. But maybe there’s a way to stand where it doesn’t hurt …

A: Oh my god. Everyone who plays has back issues. My back … I mean it’s fine now but when you first get into it it’s sore all the time. If you go into the training room you’ll see everyone with heat on their back and butt. But it’s so fun.

Q: I was convinced you guys had figured out some kind of workaround but I guess it’s nice to know you haven’t?

A: Just a lot of Advil and IcyHot.

Q: What do you love about field hockey? What keeps you coming back despite the back pain?

A: I just really love my team. I definitely have a lot of fun playing and training in the offseason, but my team is just so great. It sounds so cheesy, but they’re so great. I have a lot of really good friends on that team.

Q: What’s your favorite activity to do as a team?

A: It’s so easy to just sit and talk to them. If we go out on the weekends it’s fun, but I think talking is the best way to recharge.

Q: Did you pick Amherst because of the team?

A: I actually didn’t tour here. I did a virtual tour and I was like, ‘OK, that’s good enough.’  I knew it was a good academic school. And I liked the open curriculum. I was looking at schools in the NESCAC because I wanted a smaller liberal arts school up north, especially just because I was thinking about playing in the heat. Definitely wasn’t looking to go south.

Q: What do you study here?

A: I’m a psych[ology] major on the pre-med track.

Q: Have you always wanted to be pre-med or was that something that happened over time here?

A: I actually decided I wanted to go on the pre-med track my sophomore year. So freshman year, I came into school having taken no classes yet, but I wanted to be a psych major and I want to double major in fine arts. And I took one drawing class, and I was like, ‘I can’t do this.’ I love drawing; I took AP Art and all that in high school. And it was fun, but it was a two-hour-long class. We’d sit on these like wooden stools, hunched over for two hours doing that and I was like, ‘I can’t do this. I can’t take any more classes like this.’ More back problems! And my neck too. But sophomore year, that’s when I decided I wanted to do pre-med. I know everyone’s like, ‘You have so much time to change your major,’ but once I decided a little bit later in the game, I had to take four weed-out classes in the same year and it was just so bad.

Q: Do you still do art on the side or draw for yourself?

A: I have been trying to get into drawing again, but I don’t really enjoy it as much because I don’t have a lot of free time. Especially in season it was like, you’d go to class, practice right after and then you’d have like three hours to do your homework before you go to bed. Just so exhausting.

Q: When you did draw what did you enjoy drawing?

A: I really liked drawing faces, … profiles especially, and also hands. [When I was getting into drawing,] I knew people would say, ‘I hate drawing hands,’ so I was like, ‘Maybe I’ll figure out how to do that.’ My entire senior year portfolio was based around hands and I did pieces where there were hands on faces and using different colors and textures and mediums. But I [also do a lot of] doodling in class.

Q: What does a day in your life look like?

A: I’d wake up like 30 minutes before class, probably wouldn’t get breakfast, and go to class. And then I always have like a 50-minute chunk of time where me and one of my teammates will maybe get Starbucks … Or I’ll just go to Val and make matcha or something. I just got one of those frothers and I showed up this morning with it in my sweatpants pocket and I whipped it out. Today with my little frother I added a separate thing of milk and made it all like foamy. It was pretty good. It did absolutely nothing, but I just thought it was nice. I felt like a barista. After my matcha, I usually have class again — depends on the day — and then I’ll walk to practice. And then we’ll have a team dinner and then I’ll probably go to Frost [Library]. When I was living in Plimpton, I would just go back to Plimpton because I didn’t want to walk back to Plimpton from Frost to do work.

Q: Who is someone who brightens your day when you see them on campus?

A: One of my professors — he was my professor for CHEM-151 and -161, [Academic Manager of the Chemistry Department Richmond] Ampiah-Bonney. He is just the nicest human being I’ve ever met. He’s just so sweet and he genuinely cares about each and every one of his students. I remember there was one time where I didn’t do super well on the first exam of the second semester or something. I ended up studying really hard for the second one and I did really well. And he emailed me while I was in another class in the science center, and he’s like, ’You’ve made me so proud. I’m a very happy professor right now.’ And I ran to his office and I had my iPad with the email and I was like, ‘Oh my god!’ We’re both jumping up and down squealing. It was so funny. And then when I saw him at the beginning of this year, he was like, ’Oh my gosh, hello, give me a hug!’ He’s just so precious.

Q: Was that one of your favorite classes you’ve taken?

A: Oh, I hated [CHEM-]161 with a burning passion. But I love the professors — It was [Professor Ampiah-Bonney] and [Senior Lecturer in Chemistry Stephen] Cartier. The class itself … makes me so grateful that I never have to take it again.

Q: What’s a class you’ve liked?

A: I really liked ‘Clinical Psychology’ with [Associate Professor of Psychology Julia] McQuade. I’m taking another class of hers right now as a seminar. It’s ‘Child [and Adolescent] Clinical Psychology.’ So it’s looking at clinical studies and case studies and all that kind of stuff. I think it’s pretty interesting. But sometimes I’m reading the articles, and some of these kids are just … I was reading an article for Oppositional Defiance Disorder about this five-year-old and his mother told him to do some chores around the house and he pulled a knife on her. I was reading it and I literally gasped out loud. My friends were like, ‘What are you reading?’ And I’m like, ‘Don’t even worry about it.’

Q: If you were an animal, what would you be?

A: Probably a cat. I could just nap all day.

Q: Me too. Do you have a cat?

A: I’m actually so allergic to cats.

Q: How would your friends describe you?

A: I’m thinking of this team bonding exercise we did where everyone had a sheet of paper with their name on it and you pass it around and write for 30 seconds about each person. And I feel like actually funny people don’t describe themselves as funny but everyone wrote stuff like, ‘You’re so funny, your laugh lights up the room.’ So I think maybe funny, hopefully. I was reading them and I was genuinely tearing up.

Q: A final question: What do you want to say to the Amherst community?

A: I guess I’m just thinking about my upgrade from Plimpton to Moore, so I’ll say, ‘Anything’s possible.’