To say the past few months have been a whirlwind of sorts for the former Miranda Lobell might be an understatement.
A quick synopsis – she got engaged, was accepted to dental school, planned a wedding, got married and moved to Metairie.
Other than that, it’s been pretty slow.
“The last, I guess it’s been probably eight months, or even less than that – I don’t know – have been pretty wild,” she said.
The wheels began to move for Lobell, who married Levi Walters earlier this summer, late last volleyball season while coaching Springfield to a playoff appearance.
Shortly thereafter, she was accepted to the LSU School of Dentistry, which she knew meant the end of her coaching career.
“I knew applying to dental school, that kind of took coaching off the table, but dentistry has been my dream and what I worked all through college for so, I chose to go that route, just as I hope all of the girls would choose to do the same – pursue their dream, whatever that may be – post high school,” Lobell Walters said.
“I think it was just all pretty much understood from all ends,” Lobell Walters said of giving up coaching for dental school. “My parents, my sisters, they saw how hard I worked to get into dental school – sleepless nights and hours and hours a day studying. Dental school is pretty competitive to get into. Having the opportunity to start now and being accepted now doesn’t guarantee being accepted later. They knew that it was an opportunity that I couldn’t pass up and I had to jump on it while I had the opportunity.”
It also meant Lobell Walters wouldn’t be able to coach her sister, Tabby Lobell, during her senior season with the Lady Bulldogs.
“They have a special place in my heart, and even further, it’s my sister’s senior season,” Lobell Walters said. “I’ve been with her all throughout high school and then her senior season, I leave her. I wanted to make sure that her, along with other girls, were left in really good hands.”
Lobell Walters, however, did have a hand in helping select her replacement, Larry Smoot, whom she played for during her club volleyball playing days in high school.
“I feel good about him pushing them to be the best that they can be and working them hard, and he’s knowledgeable, so I feel good about that,” Lobell Walters said.
Lobell Walters got engaged late last November, and Levi had to move to Louisiana from South Carolina to prepare for the couple’s wedding in June.
“We planned it pretty quick,” Lobell Walters said. “I knew that dental school would be really, really tough and require a lot of my time and energy focus, so we tried to squeeze it in right before dental school had to start.”
The couple resides in Metairie, where it’s taken Lobell Walters a little bit of getting used to, but not in a bad way.
“Now I have to do my own grocery shopping all the time, and sweep all my own floors and take my dogs out for walks whenever they need it, all kind of stuff like that,” she said with a laugh. “I’m used to having my huge backyard where I can just let them run around, but now I have to be the one to run them around.
“I like it,” she continued. “Any free time that we have is spent arranging furniture and unpacking and stuff still. We’re still getting the hang of it, but we really like the area that we’re in and the house we ended up in, our neighbors – they’ll all really great.”
Lobell Walters is also adjusting to life as a dental school student after beginning classes in July.
“It’s already getting tough,” she said. “It’s a lot different from undergrad, but it’s a lot of fun.”
She’s in class from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. five days a week in addition to taking quizzes and practical exams, which sometimes include building teeth out of wax.
“To do well, you have to spend an extensive amount of time after school up in the labs and studying,” she said. “They described it at school as essentially taking a 30-hour undergraduate load. The first two years are tough.”
Lobell Walters, who majored in biology at Southeastern Louisiana while coaching at Springfield, said the first two years of the four-year program are focused mainly on classroom-based work before moving into clinicals and working with patients the final two years. She said she’d like to get into private practice after graduation.
“As soon as we graduate dental school, we are able to practice,” she said. “It’s not like medicine where you have to go through a residency. You get all of your clinical experience in four years of dental school.”
She said she’s carried over the self-discipline from her playing days to dental school.
“You’re tired and you don’t want to go to practice, and now it’s you’re tired and you don’t want to study but you have to because the game’s coming up or the test is coming and you have to get ready to perform your best in whatever aspect you’re trying to perform in,” Lobell Walters said. “To some degree being competitive, but also working as a team. The medical field in general is so team-oriented – collaborating with other medical professionals.
“Failure’s not an option,” she said.
Lobell Walters also said her coaching days are behind her – at least for now.
“I loved coaching, but ultimately my dream was always to be a dentist, so that is what I’m pursuing right now,” she said. “I could definitely see myself being a rec (recreational) coach for my own kids or some family members, or something like that later on down the road, but I don’t know if I would get back into the high school to that level of competitiveness.”
In the meantime, she’s doing exactly what she wants to do.
“I like it," she said. "I am essentially living my dream, which sounds crazy because I’m in a tiny house in Metairie, but I am in dental school. I’m married to a great guy, and life is good.”