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Sam Reilly-Men’s Cross Country

Posted by on Tuesday, September 1, 2015 in Student-Athletes of the Month.

Sam Reilly
Men’s Cross Country
Majors: History and Political Science

Why did you choose to attend Vanderbilt?
When choosing where to transfer, I was deciding between Duke and Vanderbilt. Both are great universities, but Vanderbilt’s tour totally sealed the deal for me. Will Taylor ’13 gave an amazing tour, and then took the time to call John Ewing ’15 and Andrew Bachman ’15, both cross country runners, who came right over. We chatted about running at Vanderbilt and the school in general. It all seemed staged, it was too good!

What are your career goals?
My career goals are always changing, but I want to be in the position where I can do the most good for the most people. I will never be working in a place where I am not fighting for equality and social justice. At the moment, I envision that fight in the political arena, because there are too few legislators and governors willing to take those issues on in a meaningful way.

In the immediate future, I have been offered a position with Teach For America in Nashville. I know I want to stay in Nashville, and hope to live and teach in East Nashville. I figure that I will root myself there, become part of the community, and see how I can best fit my community’s needs.

What does it take to be academically successful at Vanderbilt?
It takes serious time management, especially if you are an athlete. I couldn’t be successful without my teammates. They are all such great examples of dedicated student-athletes, and they make it easier to dedicate myself. We definitely hold each other accountable.

Making the effort to engage with your professors can make a big difference as well. The professors here are amazing resources and the relationships I have developed with some of them have made a huge difference in my academic career.

How do you manage your demanding schedule?
I have to be very intentional with how I spend my time. In a political science class, we read Michael Lewis’s piece in Vanity Fair on President Obama’s average day, and I tried to take a few pointers by routinizing a lot of smaller tasks in the day. I like to be hyper-productive during the day, because after workouts I just want to relax with friends.

What is your ritual before taking a test?
I love coffee. So, anytime I am preparing in the morning for a test that day, I make myself a manual pour over – it is relaxing and helps me keep things in perspective.

What is your favorite quote?
My favorite quote is from Benjamin Mays, who was Dr. Martin Luther King’s mentor and President of Morehouse College in Atlanta: “The tragedy of life is often not in our failure, but rather in our complacency; not in our doing too much, but rather in our doing too little; not in our living above our ability, but rather in living below our capacities.”