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University of Utah volleyball coach balances time management, full-time job after giving birth during pandemic

Malia Shoji stands with her newborn and husband.
Utah volleyball assistant head coach Malia Shoji holds her newborn Camryn Kaufman alongside her husband Benjamin Kaufman outside Shoji’s parents’ home in Oregon. Despite having a baby during the pandemic, Shoji still works a full-time job as the head assistant volleyball coach at the University of Utah. (Photo Courtesy: Ira Kaufman)

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit mid-March of 2020, it seemed as if everyone’s lives were put on pause. For Malia Shoji, things were just ramping up. 

Pregnant at the time, Shoji spent the duration of the pandemic preparing for her newborn. Because of the increased risk the coronavirus poses for pregnant women, Shoji and her husband began taking extra precautions.  

After having her baby, COVID-19 changed how they approached life — particularly focusing on safety and time management. While taking care of her infant, Shoji still works a full-time job as the head assistant volleyball coach at the University of Utah. 

Malia Shoji holding her daughter Camryn during a volleyball tournament at the Jon M. Huntsman Center Feb. 14, 2021. Despite having a baby during the pandemic, Shoji still works a full-time job as the head assistant volleyball coach at the University of Utah. (Photo Courtesy: Benjamin Kaufman)

To accommodate her work schedule with caring for her newborn, Shoji said she sticks to a strict schedule which has made it easier for natural time management. But, naturally, it’s “created a lot less time than I’m used to, to get my work done,” Shoji said. 

With a tighter schedule than pre-pandemic, Shoji said she plans her schedule ahead of time to avoid conflicts — especially as she travels on the road often for volleyball competitions. 

On top of that, Shoji said she still schedules time to spend with her husband. 

“We have to be intentional about us being able to spend time with each other once we’re home from work and Camryn (Shoji’s newborn) goes down,” Shoji said.

Between her work and family, Shoji said it’s crucial to create boundaries so she doesn’t stretch herself too thin. However, she said it also requires patience. 

“Being patient with myself is something I had to learn,” Shoji said. “Learning a new skill like being a mom is very valuable, and being able to manage everything in a timely manner has helped prepare me for success.” 

Full interview with Malia Shoji, assistant head volleyball coach at the University of Utah.

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Reme Torbert
Reme Torbert is a senior communication major at Westminster College. He is specializing in video broadcasting and journalism, which meets the criteria for him wanting to be a sports analyst. He wants to talk sports and wants to use his passion about sports to inform others each day the ups and down you will go through as a athlete that can teach you things in life other skills can’t. He plays for the basketball team at Westminster College, and hopes to play professional basketball. After basketball is over, he hopes to take what he has learned about communications to the next level and make it a career.

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