A Letter to My Younger Self – Mary Bartkus


Hey Little Mary,

YO! Mom gave birth to you on November 28th, 1999. But let’s skip forward because you obviously can’t read yet.

Hungry baby Mary

You’re 6 now. You moved to a new school and just asked some girl to be your friend on the third day of 2nd grade. You’re embarrassed, I know. But don’t worry, she’ll be one of your best friends for a very long time, even through COLLEGE. Ew! College? You mean the place your sisters are right now instead of hanging out with you? Don’t worry, when you get older you can hang out with them whenever you want.

Awkward 9 year old Mary

Elementary school! Cool! I don’t remember much but I do know your 4th grade teacher will be your only friend in your class that year but honestly you’ll be fine with it because you were weird. Your 5th grade teacher will show up to your volleyball senior night and send you a card for high school graduation, so give her lots of hugs for me.


You’re in middle school! Already. You feel so grown up. Truthfully, looking back, you are a typical annoying, bratty little kid still…but you own it. You are loving life, school is a breeze, and you are a three sport athlete. Good for you! I wish I had that kind of energy now. Honestly, I don’t know how you went to three different practices some days. But hey, here’s a sneak peek…volleyball is going to be the one that changes it all.

Even more awkward middle school Mary

High school! It feels like I was just you yesterday. But it really has been a long time. You stopped running track (no longer a running girl, huh?), but keeping up with basketball and starting to put your heart into volleyball was a very good choice.

Look at that, the same friends you made 10 years ago are still with you. They are going to be in it for the long haul. Be thankful for your tight-knit class, your friendly teachers, your coaches, and especially mom and dad. They are all rooting for you and want you to do great things!

And look, you will survive AP Biology and Calculus. You are doing all the right things.

Senior year class trip to Virginia Beach with Chloe and Alexander, the friends I made in 2nd grade!


You are looking at the right colleges. Thank god you listened to mom on the way to that Rochester volleyball tournament about SUNY Geneseo and reached out to the coach. That is going to end up being really important.

Now, I don’t really have much advice for you, young Mary, because I truly believe every decision you made brought me to be in the place I am now. I’m sure the only thing younger me would want to know is what I’m doing now…

I’m a JUNIOR in college. How. Weird. You decided to continue playing volleyball in college too, just like you dreamed of. You decided to stick with science, as expected because you were always good at it (…but it got a lot harder so please pay attention in class).

You’re still going to be the same weird person you’ve always been, sorry about that one. Fortunately, you decided to go to SUNY Geneseo, where you could make friends just as weird as you. Believe me when I say, those people at Geneseo are going to be there for you for everything. Pretty much you are going to have the best time in college, just like everyone keeps saying.

Mom and dad are doing well and they moved back to Long Island! Look at how it all comes full circle. That girl you asked to be your friend when you were 6 is still around, and still one of your besties. You scammed some other punks throughout the years to be your friend and they seemed to stick around as well.

Here’s some random facts you may also want to know about the future:

-No one says “swag” anymore besides you in 2020…that went out years ago.

-The world did not end in 2010…obviously.

-You will get a few small tattoos, oops.

-Jenna Marbles still makes YouTube videos for some reason.

-There is a new app out called TikTok that is more addicting than Vine. Spoiler alert!! Vine is gone now, like the app is gone forever.

Before this gets any more ridiculous, I am signing off. In all seriousness, don’t worry about the future and growing up. There are so many good things to come.

Kicking off Summer with a BLOG

Hello everyone!

It’s great to be back home for the summer and I’m so glad I’m able to start of this summer blog series with some moderately exciting content.

Here’s my doggo that loves to lay out in the sun with me.



I’ll start out by introducing myself to any newcomers to the Geneseo Volleyball Blog. I’m Mary Bartkus, a junior setter from Kinderhook, NY. I can’t believe how fast the time has gone by. It feels like I was just writing my blog going into freshman year. With that being said, to my incoming freshmen…welcome! It’s going to be the most fun, thrilling, challenging, heart-warming, and the ~weirdest~ years of your life so far… so buckle up ladies! Enjoy this summer and I am very excited to smush all of your faces whether you like it or not.

So let’s get back to ME (lol). I’ll be talking a little bit about what I’ve already done in the time I’ve been home, as well as telling y’all about the rest of my summer plans.

Coming home was pretty weird because I had to go on my biggest job hunt yet. Since high school I worked at the same small cafe in town. Unfortunately, it went out of business while I was at school (small town vibes~). It was probably two weeks into being home until I finally landed a new job. Luckily enough, my previous employer hooked me up with a waitressing job with her friend, who manages the restaurant at the Columbia Golf and Country Club. It’s a fancy, private golf club in my area that I honestly didn’t even know existed until I got the job. I’ve been working at the country club for the last few weeks now and I really like it. It’s a lunch and dinner job so I still have a good chunk of my day to enjoy summer and hit the gym.


National Best Friend day accidentally landed on this day? Is that a sign?



My flexible schedule has also allowed me to take my first mini vacation! Last minute I decided to make a trip down to Long Island to visit my sister, some teammates and school friends, but most importantly to surprise the team’s good friend Liv for her birthday! The surprise was a success, and if I could/ knew how to insert a video into a blog I would put it in here. I arrived on a Friday and spent the day with some friends on the beach. We watched the NBA finals at (teammate) Kiersten Colvin’s house and adopted some new phrases for the upcoming fall season. Thanks, Kawhi Leonard and GO RAPTORS. 

Another pic from Belmont. Lighting was 10/10 in General Admission.

Saturday was the surprise, as well as the “famous” Belmont Stakes. I say “famous” in quotes because I am apparently the only person who was unaware that it actually was a big deal. (Thanks for explaining that to me if you’re reading this and sorry for not being cultured in horse races.) Anyway, Sunday I spent some time with my sister which was really nice. I saw her new apartment, got some pizza and dessert, and watched the NYC AVP beach tournament on TV.

Some of my plans for the rest of the summer include playing some good ole volleyball, including the Lake George Million Dollar Beach tournament with my lovely teammate, Bridget Lougen. My high school coach is also holding a summer league for his team on Sundays, which I am very excited to help him out with. Trying to get my hands on a volleyball any time I can and planning some more weekend tournaments is still underway.

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Just some friends, hangin’ out
Night swimming becomes a thing when everyone works during the day


Visiting my friend, Chloe, this past weekend

















Other than that, I pretty much spend any night I can after work to see some friends from home. It usually consists of going to get fro-yo and watching movies until we all fall asleep. My friends and I are planning a short weekend getaway to Montreal in July, which is going to be pretty awesome since I’ve never been out of the country. Also, this weekend (the weekend before this is posted) I am going to visit one of my best friends that lives in NYC for a few days. She packs up and leaves for Uganda in a week, where she will be student teaching English for a month (proud friend moment). So, I’m excited to spend time with her as well.

Alright everyone, I hope everyone else is having a great summer so far. I’m excited that I was able to kick off the blog series this summer and to see what everyone else will post.


To my teammates,

I’m so thrilled to be with all of you again in less than two months! It’s go time.


To anyone else reading,

Thank you for keeping up with the blog and for the support 🙂


Signing off,

Mary Bartkus





What is Geneseo Volleyball

Hey everyone! It’s Mary Bartkus, a sophomore setter from Albany, NY (if you didn’t already know). For those who know me, you know I can get pretty sappy with things like these blogs, so I decided to switch it up this time around and talk a little more serious with everyone (but not too serious). I wanted to talk a bit about the basics of what Geneseo volleyball is and what it means to us as a team. Last year, we revamped what it meant to be a part of out program by setting what we call our Values of Excellence. We put so much time and thought into making a defined list of values we want to uphold while we’re in the gym, on campus, in the community, at home, and anywhere else in the world we may go. Here they are:








If you don’t mind, I’m going to go over and summarize what each one means to our team, but I’m kind of going to do it in my words. If you do mind, you can enjoy the lovely pictures I’ll have going along with it instead.


Our program holds ourselves to a high standard of how we present ourselves to our school, our community, our opponents, professors, officials, coaches, bus drivers, spectators, aka anyone who we come across in our daily lives as student athletes. Anywhere we go, in our full blueberry suits or not, we leave an impression of who we are on the people we interact with. For us, it’s unacceptable to fall below this standard. It’s as simple as holding doors, making conversation with your professors, thanking those who help us travel, and as hard as it can be sometimes, to accept an official’s call with grace, even when it doesn’t go our way.


This one always gets me pumped. We get in the gym every day, whether is in regular season, off-season, or spring season, ready to go. It’s easy to do when you know the work you’re putting in is for a greater cause, which for all of us is our program’s success. We are invested in making individual improvements every day as volleyball players and as people to excel in our game. Knowing that we believe in ourselves completely and totally, gets us fired up to get in and practice or go play a match.


Urgency is a value that we work very hard at to keep level. It’s a very difficult concept for volleyball players to keep consistent under changing conditions. Like most competitive teams, we love a challenge, and we rise to the occasion. Under different, maybe not as competitive circumstances, there is a tendency for many volleyball teams to fall short. Under our Values of Excellence, it is unacceptable to fall short of this value. This means all out defense, this means setting consistent balls, this means aggressive swings. Of course, it’s impossible to have perfect outcomes every time, never mind even most of the time. But urgency is the will power, the want to strive for these things, the want to compete in any situation at hand.


This one is pretty easy for us if I’m going to be honest. I think this is a value we all shared even before getting to Geneseo. I have never felt more comfortable with a team ever before these past two years. Selflessness to us is giving to the team before you give to yourself. Have a bad day? No problem. You know your teammates will be there to pick you up. Still having a bad day? You reach out to someone else. Helping others can help heal yourself too. This goes for life and on the court. Everyone is doing their job, not for the personal success or the stats. Everyone is here for the team and the team’s goals.


Accountability is often what drives us when we get in ruts or when we’re having a bad day. We go into every practice with a goal and we say it out loud. That way your teammates can hold you responsible, and since you said it out loud honey you better be accountable for yourself. It’s such a collective team effort for us. It’s not just a coach or a captain keeping everyone in check, it’s everyone, together.



YAY. We made it to happiness. Everyone on this team at some point was that little girl who just wanted to play volleyball. Looking up at all the big girls playing saying “just wait until I can jump that high/swing that hard/move that fast/etc.” It was a cool part of growing up and realizing that volleyball is something that makes me very very happy. No matter the situation, good or bad, I know that physically playing and getting lost in the moment is like no other. We recognized this common feeling and made it one of our values. Everyone believes that we play our best when we are caught in that “vibe” moment, and that stems from the genuine happiness of playing the game. It’s really special.


Family is our little add-on value, you could say. We have our ups and downs, but we come back together, because we are each other’s home away from home. I wouldn’t ask for it any other way.

So that’s it for my take on the Values of Excellence. I really hope you enjoyed and learned a little about who we are and what we stand for as Geneseo Volleyball.


Hey everybody! It’s me, Mary! I am a sophomore (which is so weird to say) setter and I hope everyone is having an awesome summer. I’m here to tell you about what I have been doing this summer, so let’s get right into it!

After my last finals week of freshman year, it was so nice to go home and de-stress. I got to see some of my closest friends, hang out with family for a few days, and soon get to work! Working this summer has been HUGE for me. I have two jobs right now, I am a waitress at a cute restaurant in town and I also babysit a few days a week. I try to keep my days busy so I have some structure and don’t just sit around all day.

It has been great to spend some time with family since I’ve been home. My mom, dad, sisters, and I went to a Yankees game all together and it was so much fun. It was actually my first ever MLB game and it was great to experience it with my family!

I’ve gone on a few adventures so far this summer. A lot of times, my friends and I will go on hikes or watch the sunset over the mountains from a scenic spot. It’s pretty much the only thing to do around where I live, so we I to take advantage of it. There’s plenty of waterfalls, overlooks, and just places to go to sit and relax if you are looking for a good view. One of my favorite things we did was going to a drive-in movie theater. It was a perfect night for a movie, but I may or may not have fallen asleep.¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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The boys 🙂 (minus Moose, Scheff, Kendyll, and Emily)

My second adventure was the trip to LOOONGGG Island! It was so great to catch up with some GSUVB girls. All the girls upstate took a nice road trip for a few days to Long Island and we stayed at Kiersten’s and got Ralph’s Italian Ice, we stayed at Shea’s for a day and swam at her house and ate bagels, and our final destination was in Long Beach to stay with gabby and have a beach day! Some of us got a nice tan, others got a nice burn (Allison, LOL) but we all had an awesome time.


A Thank You Letter


To my Geneseo Volleyball family,

I’m not even really sure where to begin, but I guess I’ll start with the sappy stuff. From the beginning of my experience here at Geneseo, I knew the people that I would call my teammates were all very special. I watched games and practices prior to enrolling as a student myself, and I got to see what Geneseo Volleyball is all about. In one word, I could describe it as a family. I was able to see my future in the program, thanks to the returning players, who were all so welcoming and kind. As I spent more time with my new teammates, I realized it was not just a team pretending to be nice to get a recruit to come to their school; they are actually ALL amazing women and role models. As my first semester and first season with the team continued, I have been lucky enough to call these incredible people some of my best friends. I am so grateful to have met them.


Let’s not forget about the rest of my teammates, the equally as amazing freshman class. Some of us met during orientation, and others at Geneseo summer camp, but at this point I don’t even want to remember what my life was like without them. I’ll get into more detail later, but they’re pretty darn cool so you will just have to take my word for it right now.

Ok enough of the introduction, let’s get into the “thank you’s” (which is what we came here for)

Thank you to my returners…

for being my role models. I look up to every single one of you and I am so grateful to have teammates that are such kind-hearted, generous, dedicated, and strong women. Thank you for being like cool older sisters to me. I could talk to any of you about anything, and I know you’re always there to listen and give advice. On a less serious note, thank you for being the weirdest people I’ve ever known, in the best way it could ever be said. I will say this about our freshman too but there is honestly never a dull moment with you people. You have taken me in not only as a teammate but as a friend and I am so lucky to have you all. I am so glad we have become so close during this year. I love you guys more than Abby May loves whipped cream. (just so you know I REALLY mean it:)


Thank you to my freshman buddies…

for being my best friends. I could not picture my college experience without my seven fine ladies beside me. I don’t know what I would do without Gabby’s singing, Erina’s laugh, (Abi) Moose’s snuggles, lava cake dates with Alex, Kiersten’s ski mask, all of Allison’s Buffalo things (sponge candy…YUM), and Bridget’s vacuum (shoutout to Kerrin too you rock). You could argue that we spend too much time together, and you would probably be right. You could see all eight of us walking to get food or to go to a game together on campus at any given time; but truthfully, you would probably hear us before you saw us. I am so grateful for all of the memories we’ve made. I won’t ever forget the FROSH Playlist, walks back up to south side, the excessive amounts of microwave mac n’ cheese, our favorite elf and sloth, 7-hour movie nights, Bachelor and Siesta Key Mondays, our red shirt, getting caught up talking in each other’s rooms for way too long, weekend brunches, and all of the post-it note jokes. Thank you for having such a positive impact on my life and for being some of the best people I know. I love you all.

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Lastly, a huge thank you to the rest of the Geneseo Volleyball family including Coach Hunter, Coach Kenz, all of our parents, supporters, trainers, fans, campers, and GSUVB alumni.

You are the reason we can do what we love, with the people we love.



Mary Bartkus






Summer Blog Series: Mary Bartkus

Hey everyone! I’m Mary Bartkus, an incoming freshman at Geneseo. I am so excited to start the next chapter of my life at Geneseo, especially knowing that I’m starting it off with a great group of people. Today marks 1 month and 23 days until we move in, which means I have 1 month and 23 days to spend at home, making as many memories with my friends and family as I can. I will not be taking any extravagant vacations or traveling too far this summer, but I do plan on having some fun!

A yummy and healthy smoothie I made at work 😉


I will be continuing to work at a small restaurant called, Eat. Sip. Smile. I am a waitress, but since it is a small business I also make smoothies, sandwiches, clean, and bus tables. I have been working there for over a year now and I have really enjoyed my time there. I even got a smoothie that I created to be on the menu! (It’s delicious by the way.) Working helps me actually get up on summer mornings and I have the rest of the afternoon to myself, which is really nice.



Me and my best friends, Chloe and Alex, at Virginia Beach for our senior trip

The rest of my summer will consist of seeing my friends as much as I can before we split for the school year. I have had a very close knit group since we were very young and we love each other like family. They are so supportive of me and cannot wait to come see Geneseo for themselves at some point! I plan to attend some graduation parties this summer as well.


Me and my friend, Alex, out on the Hudson River

Playing volleyball this summer is going to be huge for me. This upcoming week I will be working as a coach at my school’s summer camp. I will also be playing outdoor volleyball on Sundays and Wednesdays at my local park. I’m excited to get touches whenever I can this summer and I’m looking forward to camp at the end of July!


Lastly, I wanted to share one of my favorite things to do during the summer. Exploring! Living in upstate New York can get a little tough when it comes to finding things to do; but one of the perks is that there are so many historic sites, state parks, and beautiful hiking trails in my area that adventures are always a good option. Many times my friends and I will set up a picnic or even get take out and eat in in the car at a place with a view. Sometimes even going for a drive and stopping to look out onto huge, empty fields is good enough for me.

Watching the sunset at Olana State Historic Site
Last summer with my friend, Chloe, having one of our picnics

I’ll say again how thrilled I am to be a part of the Geneseo volleyball family. I am already looking forward to meeting some of my other freshman teammates at orientation next week! I cannot believe how close it is. Also, a huge thank you to our returning players for being so welcoming and kind to us so far! I am looking forward to see what the future brings.

Mary Bartkus 😉

Graduation with my sisters, Claire and Stephanie, and my Mom and Dad