COLUMBIA — Before Bailey Gee started her junior year at Missouri, her grandmother said she needed to find a way to manage her stress.
Gee, a civil engineering major and a guard on the Missouri women's basketball team, said she was feeling the pressure of being enrolled in a demanding academic program while playing for a Division I athletic team.
Missouri (10-5, 0-4 in Big 12)
at No. 14 Texas A&M (11-4, 2-2)
WHEN: 7 p.m.
WHERE: College Station, Texas
RADIO: KTGR/1580 AM, 100.5 FM
"I was just getting so stressed, and it was affecting my playing," Gee said.
Gee realized her grandmother was right.
It was around that time almost two years ago that her father gave her his Epiphone acoustic guitar. Gee quickly learned how to play "Brown Eyed Girl," the first tutorial she came across when she searched YouTube for online guitar lessons.
She likes to play in the evenings. She says playing takes her to a place where she is not performing, not being graded. It's a place that is not penciled into her calendar.
"I go to my room, I'm by myself, and I just play away," Gee said. "It takes everything that was on my mind off of it."
Whenever she's hanging out with her teammates, she might bring out her guitar and strum a few tunes, she said, but it's really more of a personal thing.
"It's really something I like to do by myself," she said.
Her father, Mitch Gee, has played the guitar most of his life. Growing up, Bailey Gee would sing along as he played their favorite songs by the Eagles. When she showed interest in learning to play herself, her father didn't hesitate in giving her his nicest acoustic guitar.
"With the way she learns," Mitch Gee said, "it wasn't hard giving it to her."
Learning has always been a passion for Bailey Gee, who graduated as valedictorian from Andover Central High School in Andover, Kan., in 2008. Last spring she was named Outstanding Engineering Student of the Year by MU's College of Engineering.
At the ceremony, she was recruited by Burns & McDonnell Engineering, a Kansas City engineering design firm that is considered one of the best in the country. Next summer, Bailey Gee will begin work in the firm's energy department as a structural engineer.
This wasn't the first time she had been recruited. Bailey Gee said that being recruited as an engineer was similar to when she was in high school being recruited as a basketball player.
"It seriously was just like choosing a school to play basketball at," she said.
Bailey Gee said she has a family at MU not only with the basketball team, but also in the College of Engineering. One of her professors, John Bowers, who she had classes with as a freshman and sophomore, attends almost all of her games at Mizzou Arena.
"Their support just means so much to me," Bailey Gee said. "They understand how difficult it is to do both, and they really support me in any way they can."