April 20, 2017

Seth Bearjar, Big Ten Medal of Honor Finalist


April 20, 2017

Every year each Big Ten institution awards a male and female student-athlete with a Medal of Honor. First awarded in 1915, the conference’s most exclusive award was the first of its kind in intercollegiate athletics to recognize academic and athletic excellence. This week each of Ohio State’s ten Big Ten Medal of Honor finalists will be sharing their experiences as Buckeyes and what led them to become the outstanding student-athletes they are today.

For many of my friends, choosing a college was a challenge. I knew Ohio State was my school from my first visit. Albeit some tradeoffs were made, most notably the sunny beaches of San Diego for arctic winters, I would make them a hundred times over. I chose Ohio State knowing very little of the culture and community that surrounded it, but something felt right when I showed up on campus almost four years ago. The only thing I did know when I came to Ohio State was that I wanted to be a part of the shooting program; I wanted to pursue my goals of attending the Olympics one day. I soon found that this dream would change, but my passion for competition, my sport, my team, and Ohio State grew immensely and that was what I truly discovered through this program. Being a student-athlete is not only being the best athlete or making the Olympics. It is also about what you love, your teammates, competing to the best of your abilities, and never looking back to say “I wish I had tried harder.”

I have had many amazing opportunities in college, many of which have been realized through Ohio State Athletics. Some of the opportunities include a study-abroad trip in Morocco, a trip to South Korea to compete in the World University Games, a Buck-I-Serve trip with athletics to Chicago, and three national championships. All of these great opportunities came with a fair share of challenges— I have missed classes and spring breaks, studied on the bus for exams on Monday morning, sprinted to early morning practices, missed my mom’s birthday, and mother’s day for three consecutive years, and even suffered our first defeat in four seasons.

While successes and struggles can be defining moments in a person’s life, the people who help you through these moments have the greatest impact. Throughout college all of my successes would not have happened without the support and friendship my team has offered me. This team has put my failures into perspective and has been there every minute to help me through them. They have kept me on the right track towards success, while keeping me humble, every day.

After graduation I will begin a career with Anheuser-Busch InBev as an Industrial Engineer. My aspirations are to return to the Columbus facility and pursue my Master’s degree at The Ohio State University, while continuing my role within the company. I intend to use the John Dana Cole scholarship, I was awarded this year, in pursuit of my Master’s degree in Industrial Engineering, with a specialization in Cognitive Engineering—to design better human-system user interfaces. Additionally, I would like to take the skills I have developed in the past 8 years of my sport to coach a future team in my community. I have had the benefit of several outstanding coaches that have influenced my life and I would like to pay back the communities that have offered their support to me on my journey. In the future I plan to remain a member of Varsity O, and give to the University in every manner that I can.

I would like to start by thanking my first coach Michael Dvorsky, the first person to introduce me to this sport and an outstanding role model. My next largest impacts in coaching have been Coach Sweeney and Coach Donna Knisley, who gave a high schooler they had never seen a chance to become a collegiate athlete—and consequently have opened doors to me becoming an international competitor, national champion, engineer, and a Buckeye. The opportunities this has afforded me have been life changing and I will forever be thankful. The Ohio State University Athletics department, a department that has been dedicated to my success for the last four years, not only in athletics but also academics and my future career—thank you for giving me the opportunity to grow and attend THE most amazing university in the world. My teammates are a constant reminder of where I have been and where I can be, thank you for the undying support and for being my family away from home. You have made the past four years truly unforgettable and every one of my teammates I respect and hope we can stay close friends.

I would like to thank God for giving me the guidance and skills throughout my life that has led me here today. I would like to thank my family for their support and encouragement in athletics and academics, and my ultimate development into the man I am today. Over the past 8 years in this sport I have had an extremely dedicated family to guide me towards my past successes. First, my brother for starting shooting sports, a step that ultimately changed my life forever, and being my first competitor. To my sister, for encouraging me to live my life for me, while acting as an academic role model and example of what hard work can do for a person. My father, for instilling in me a passion for excellence in everything I do. He has taught me that hard work will always overcome natural talent, resources, or luck. Finally I would like to thank my mother, whose persistent nature is the reason why I ventured out of my comfort zone and joined this sport almost nine years ago. She instilled in me the idea that nothing is given to you in the world, if you want achievement you have to earn it. I could not have done this without her and the countless hours she dedicated to ensuring I had opportunities I could only dream of. Thank you to my entire family—from countless years of driving me to 6:00 am practices to your incredible work ethic, you have made my accomplishments possible.

The past four years of my education and competition have been ones that I will never forget. The people who surrounded me were the reason why I was nominated for this award and I will always be grateful for their support.