By Guamacice Delice
Stanley Sanchez is a soccer and volleyball player who started his senior year this semester at York College as a dual degree seeker. After graduation, he intends to work as an occupational therapist in a school-based setting, but he dreams of owning a private pediatric clinic. We met him on the floor York College Gymnasium sports room, punching and kicking a ball.
Stanley Sanchez is one of these young people who are well aware of their physical, mental and intellectual potential and makes sure to exploit it for their well-being, the comfort of their family and the welfare of society. Playing offensive midfielder, he joined the York College soccer team for the 2022 season. At the end of the year, the young man was a part of the CUNY Athletics Conference Men’s All-Star Second Team for soccer. For this current season, he engaged in the volleyball team as a libero.
Sanchez was born and raised in Queens, New York, to immigrant parents from Ecuador. He is the youngest child of three siblings and talked about how his family is very close, with a strong relationship between members. “We value spending time with one another and creating memories together,” he proudly said.
Stanley Sanchez’s father, a former footballer in his native country, is his son’s inspiration. Juan Sanchez taught Stanley to kick his first ball at four. “He taught me how to play soccer, and he encouraged and motivated me to pursue this sport at a collegiate level; [..] he was also present at each of my games growing up,” he explained.
“Soccer was a part of his [father’s] culture growing up, so I take pleasure in continuing family tradition, and I’m hoping to engage in sharing this passion with him for many years to come,” the York College student-athlete added. Later at school, Sanchez also found interest in playing volleyball and competed with his high school team.
Sanchez said he enjoys playing any sport as it keeps him physically active and mentally fit while having a good time with friends. His first season’s unexpected award has inspired him to work harder to stay in shape and aim for the next level. “My best moment so far in sports is being awarded to the CUNY All-Star Second Team for soccer,” the player pointed out. “This award acknowledged my commitment and dedication to York’s soccer program and reassured my confidence in competing at a college level.”
Despite his successful year and commitment to York Athletics, Sanchez does not benefit from any scholarship. He would love it since he cannot work. However, that does not affect his mindset and engagement to succeed at, with and beyond York.
Sanchez prefers to lean on the experience he has gained, which he found striking. “Being a part of two sports teams creates different bonds with other like-minded individuals,” he happily detailed. “Athletics has helped me integrate myself highly into the York family. I also try to socialize with others as much as possible to make the best of my college experience.”
The student is fascinated by his future occupation, which is occupational therapy. What he said he likes in this profession is its selflessness and meaningfulness side. “I would like to continue to make a positive impact in the lives of everyone I meet, even if it’s momentarily,” Sanchez wishes.
The future therapist has adopted a philosophy of life, which everybody should consider: lean on the positive side of any experience. He said out loud how enjoyable “each experience that has been presented to me” is. “I use every moment to learn from those around me and become more knowledgeable in each discipline,” he added.
Sanchez, 20, exhaled a personality that made him sound different from most people his age. As a first-generation student, his future does not rest only on a job though he knows it is a priority.
He admits that he will be working for an institution as a pediatric occupational therapist five years from now, but in 15 years, he plans to be at the head of a private practice clinic. Sanchez says it’s not by chance that he is at York College. It is the only CUNY college that offers an Occupational Therapy program.
Sanchez sees occupational therapy as a noble profession, which “aligns with my morals and values [and] I enjoy helping others and impacting their lives positively.”
The future practitioner has already pinned on a niche: children. “I love children,” he chanted. “I want to work with kids because I believe that helping them with occupational therapy at an earlier age would benefit them greatly and help them live a better life,” he insisted.
Sanchez stressed that his calm demeanor and energetic and optimistic personality would work well in serving this population.
Sanchez is very disciplined. He scheduled his day so classes, training, games and leisure have no collision. “Any moment I am not in class or engaging in sports, I’m either studying/completing assignments or sleeping.”
While prioritizing schoolwork over athletics and socializing, Sanchez does not “schedule anything for Friday.” Instead, this day “is a mental health day in which I relax and catch up on the week’s assignments and do something I enjoy,” he said.
But the most important is that he saves time for “a conversation with myself [which is] very useful when facing stressful times, and I look to where I want to be in the future as an inspiration to overcome obstacles.”