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April 25, 2010 / Brent Sears

Finding the Seams

Rugby participation given special consideration.

This sentence changed the way I approached college and what I would do for the next two years.  There I was, standing outside the Office for International Programs looking at the scholarship opportunities for study abroad.  I had no money to travel, but I also had 0.00 GPA as a transfer student.  (My GPA from community college was a 3.3.)  I had never applied for a scholarship because I wasn’t the type of student that did anything that was worth the money; or so I thought.  This was a supreme lack of confidence, but the majority of students currently suffer from the same disposition.

I knew if I wanted to travel, then I had to win one of the three awards offered on the yellow piece of paper in front of me.  When I saw the criteria for the Rowell Scholarship worth $1,500 I had a choice: take another crappy part-time job that I would hate, or go try out for the rugby club.  Hmmmm…crappy part-time job or the most physical sport on the planet????

The choice was simple.  I was going to try out for rugby, and after three practices I had found the best sport in the world: this includes baseball, racquetball, basketball, swimming, cycling, running, triathlon, and even skydiving.  It was the best part of my days at SUNY Cortland.  When I was interviewing for my current position, my director asked me what the best part of Ecuador was?  I answered that is was the rugby.  I played against men from every inhabited continent except Asia.  There were five different dialect of Spanish being spoken on the field; all this at the speed of rugby.  It was amazing!

All that to say, I won the $1,500 scholarship for Ecuador and, to my knowledge, no one had ever done that before, and no one has done it since.  I had found a seam that made me the top candidate for that scholarship.  It was one of the best decisions I made in college.

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