It’s been a few years since I have written a post for my College blog, but I felt like it would be a good time to reach out to the GMVA community as you are nearing the end of a grinding lockdown.
I am 6 weeks into my 5th and final year at Lakeland College in Alberta, Canada. This place has been my home for over 4 years, and I have had the experience of a lifetime. With Canada allowing 5 years of eligibility for Collegiate sports, I decided to extend my 40 class Bachelor of Commerce over 5 years in order to play out my eligibility. For those who haven’t, I would encourage you to read my earlier blog posts where I discussed the struggles of being part of a program without a history of success.
I can happily say that after winning more games every season in my time here, last year we broke an 11 year playoff drought for the Lakeland Men’s Volleyball Team. We went from being the easiest team to beat in the league to a highly respected, defensive minded squad that was capable of winning every night. Personally, I was honoured with an All-Conference selection as well as winning Male Athlete of the Year for my College, which hopefully gives hope to any of those shorter players reading this. My vertical jump and height are nothing to brag about, I am 183cm and rarely touch over 320cm in my spike touch testing (despite Luke’s best efforts) but was still able to finish in the top 5 in the league for kills thanks to a lot of tips, wipes, deep corner shots and maybe a bit of luck!
With the risk of sounding arrogant, I believe it is important for young GMVA athletes to know the opportunities available to you if you work hard. After graduating this year I will have had a $60 000 degree fully paid for by my athletic scholarship. On top of that I have now received close to $15 000 worth of awards and grants and have been able to work over here to pay for my residence costs and living. I was extremely lucky to be able to fulfil my dream of playing College volleyball, but I also worked as hard as I could to make the most of my opportunities.
As the lockdowns continue to drag out back in Melbourne, and volleyball events continue to be cancelled, and motivation starts to be tested, I would encourage you to all to think about if a North American Scholarship is still a dream of yours. GMVA and Luke changed my life by helping me find this opportunity. All of the internationals in this league (including a bunch of Aussies) have absolutely loved getting to compete at an extremely high level, whether it be for an 8 month season or 5 full years. Don’t let a 6-month break from volleyball ruin the passion you had for it when things were perfect. Recruiting for the following season (September) typically happens around February so those who are chasing that dream have time to put themselves out there and get prepared.
As always please feel free to reach out to me on social media with absolutely any questions you may have. I have plenty of contacts and knowledge about the Canadian College/University system and would love to help young GMVA athletes chase their dreams like I did!