April 19, 2018

Nicolas Szerszen: Big Ten Medal of Honor Finalist

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After being an outstanding student-athlete at the Ohio State University for the last four years what has been the most rewarding experience or opportunity during your time here?
The most rewarding element of my 4 years here is to look back and see that I am leaving a second home. I got to know so many cultivated, brilliant helping people that helped me every second of the way. It goes from teachers that accommodate their schedules, to coaches pushing you every day to get better, to advisors with scheduling and rules that we have to follow, to families of players that treated me like one of theirs and most importantly all my teammates and friends that I made through athletics – they are my second family.

What makes you a good candidate for this award? Is there anyone in particular you would like to thank for helping you during your time at Ohio State?
It was pretty tough to be a good engineering student and be a good athlete at the same time and it involved numerous sacrifices not only at the university but also prior to it with all the practice hours I spent in the gym doing extra reps to be the best possible. I would like to thank my parents for showing and teaching me the way to perform at my best whether it is in the classroom or on the court. My dad, ex professional volleyball player, spent numerous hours with me alone in the gym pushing my limits and I will be forever grateful that he was part of this. Of course, the coaches here helped all a lot to develop my skills in all aspects of the game as well. 

In your opinion what does it mean to be a student-athlete, especially at a university like Ohio State?
It involves being really good at time management, knowing what to prioritize when you need to do so and enjoying every single second of your time here by giving the best out of you wearing the Scarlet and Grey uniform. As a student athlete you have incredible opportunities to do things that will be forever unforgettable and that you can share with Buckeye nation as for example winning a National Championship game in historic St. John Arena. 

After graduation how do you plan to take what you have learned as a student-athlete into the business world/professional athletic endeavors?
When I came in I was 17 years old. I moved countries to live on my own and I have become a totally different person in all aspects. Attending Ohio State really opened my eyes and taught me how to really live within a community of diverse and exceptional people. I have had the chance to win two National Championships here which was an unbelievable experience that will definitely help on or off the court. Living in a community like Ohio State also teaches you life and how to behave in certain situations. I guess the point is I did not only get a degree and played my sport, I learned so much more in addition to that.