Quarantine Q&A with Dakota Stanly
In the fourth installment of Quarantine Q&A, catch up with Dakota Stanly from UCLA Track & Field. Stanly recently finished her sophomore year at UCLA after the outdoor track season was cut short. Stanly discusses her interest in entrepreneurship and power tools before delivering a poignant message on the significance of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Q: When did you know you wanted to come to UCLA?
A: I knew when I went on my visit I wanted to go to UCLA. The campus, the coaches, the people, I felt like I belonged at UCLA.
Q: Do you have any tricks or routines you do before a meet?
A: Before a meet I usually do my hair in a special hairstyle and paint my nails after that I play my favorite playlist and have a quick dance party to get pumped up.
Q: What are some of your favorite hobbies to do outside of Track & Field?
A: Outside of track and field I really enjoy painting, playing my ukulele, going to museums, going on hikes.
Q: Which of your coaches do you think could best compete in your sport today and why?
A: I would say coach Bridget could best compete in my event today because she's always ready to work out and she's a certified yoga instructor.
Q: If you could pick any other UCLA athlete to try out Track & Field, who would it be and why?
A: I would pick my friend Kevin Kobrine, he's on the Men's Volleyball team and I think he would be a great high jumper.
Q: Can you discuss your thought process and journey through navigating your shoulder injury?
A: Well, I got hurt in the weight room in January, and soon after in February I got surgery. I spent a lot of time in the hospital, but I learned a lot along the way. About five weeks after my surgery the COVID pandemic started impacting everyone and I had to go home right away. It was unfortunate that I didn't have a physical therapist that did what I needed at home in San Diego, so I took it upon myself to do my own recovery. Throughout that journey, I really connected with self-love and strength to get my shoulder back where it was before.
Q: Can you please share your interests in a potential career beyond Track & Field and what spurred you in that direction?
A: My career interest beyond track is in entrepreneurship. My father is an entrepreneur and had me start my first company in the 5th grade. Since then, I have been driven to be my own boss, regardless of what field I pursue.
Q: Can you talk about your skills in construction work and ability to use power tools?
A: Since I was in elementary school my dad made sure my brother and I were independent and could fix things. I now know how to do plumbing, lay down flooring, put up drywall, make furniture, and much more all thanks to him.
Q: With your siblings being skilled in different activities -- Sierra participating in Track & Field in high school and Ryan taking an interest within film -- who do you think is the most talented sibling?
A: They are both so great that it would be unfair to choose. If I chose, it would only start a fight :).
Q: What are you studying at UCLA and why?
A: I'm studying communications and entrepreneurship because I love business and I believe that good communication is a pillar of a successful business.
Q: What is your best UCLA memory?
A: I love being able to look back and see all the hilarious dance videos that I would make with my roommate Hawa Kamara, we have so much fun!
Q: Can you share how you have been able to cope with the adjustment in lifestyle due to the current events of COVID-19?
A: Staying in shape has not been easy to do, I have struggled and go through peaks and valleys of motivation. The change of pace of my life has been a whirlwind and I am trying to adjust to being responsible for more than just myself again.
Q: What do you look forward to the most once you return to campus?
A: I look forward to being able to have an attempt at normalcy. That will only come once we are past the era of social distancing, returning to campus won't really do that much if I cannot safely hang out with my friends and go on random adventures again without the fear of a disease.
Q: While you have the platform to make formal comment on the current social environment involving the Black Lives Matter movement, is there anything you would like to share?
A: The murder of George Floyd may have finally caught the attention of so many that refused to listen and ignore obvious injustice. The response to his death and protests that followed suit have brought the issues of racism and police brutality to a boiling point. While there may have been a very small victory in the case of his murder, the issue has not been resolved. We cannot turn a blind eye to the everyday struggles of Black America now that George Floyd and Breonna Taylor aren't trending anymore. We must keep fighting for change.