Sophomore volleyball player Bryanne Yasui lives two lives.
For eight months of the year, Yasui weathers cold Plattsburgh winters and endures the stress of college life.
The rest of the time she spends nearly 5,000 miles away at home in Honolulu, with temperatures that hover between 70 and 80 degrees year-round.
“It was my first time seeing falling snow and leaves changing,” Yasui said of her move to Plattsburgh.
Each snowfall, Yasui still receives texts from teammates telling her to look outside.
And while life is certainly different on the East Coast, it’s not exactly one she prefers.
A self-described “seafood person,” Yasui loves the food and the beaches back home, making sure to fill her quota of each whenever she’s able to return for school breaks.
On the flip side of Pacific paradise, Yasui and her teammates have struggled this year with what women’s volleyball head coach, Jake Bluhm, called a “building season.”
Plattsburgh began scouting Yasui in her junior year of high school, where she won three varsity letters in girls’ volleyball as a defensive specialist/libero and earned an Oahu Interscholastic Association East All-Star Honorable Mention in 2014.
“Bryanne reads the game very well. She’s the anchor for our ball control right now,” Bluhm said. “We look to her to do a lot of things and help us along.”
During her freshman year, Yasui started two matches and competed in 112 sets. She was first on team and second in SUNYAC with 4.60 digs per set out of 515 total.
Off the court, Yasui doesn’t lose her touch.
“Because she’s a fierce competitor, she’s very strong-willed,” Bluhm said. “She’ll speak her mind.”
In the future, Yasui hopes her education in human development and interest in psychology will allow her to work with and counsel children one day.
“Originally, I was an art major, which is kind of why I came to New York,” said Yasui, who had hoped to score New York City internship.
However, the idea of her big city dreams clashed with the reality of them once Yasui settled into college.
“I wanted to be able to go home during breaks,” she said. “And there’s not as many opportunities in art, so I figured I could something to help other people.”
Still, art remains part of her.
“I try to take at least one art class every semester,” Yasui said. Having recently picked up photography, she uses her creative streak and love for movies to cope with stress.
A family-oriented person, Yasui isn’t the only one who’s had trouble with her move.
Her mother, Jeanette Yasui, is grateful that technology keeps the pair in touch, but there’s no substitute for seeing her daughter in person.
“When Bryanne is away, I miss our conversations most,” she said.
The elder Yasui, also born and raised in Hawaii, has been to Plattsburgh only twice, first when she accompanied her daughter on a campus tour, and again on move-in day.
She misses her children on holidays and family gatherings especially, but cherishes the time she does get to spend with them.
“When she’s home, we enjoy shopping and baking together,” she said.
Though Yasui is bracing herself for the start of her second winter, she said she’s already sick of the season. And while most of her classmates will spend over a month living inside their heavy coats, Yasui will be back home, likely baking and beaching.
Email Rebecca Natale at firstname.lastname@example.org