“Everyone thinks I’m absolutely nuts for doing it and sometimes I do too when I think about the time I spend, but it’s just a positive outlet for me,” Samec said. “If I have a Saturday when I can do a three-hour bike ride, even if it might not be an easy jaunt because I might have hard intervals, it gets my mind off of other things and allows me to focus on keeping my body physically well so that my mind can be well when I go back.” Excelling on such a high level on multiple fronts is not without its struggles. Time management is crucial, but eventually, some part of life must be neglected. A typical weekday for Samec involves getting up at 5 a.m. to make it to the ARC when it opens at 6 a.m. to practice his swimming. Following his time in the pool, he’s off to morning classes; then he tries to squeeze in a run before his afternoon classes. Once his classes are done for the day, he turns his attention to lab work and tutoring with any other free moments typically spent at his computer or working in his notebook. “It’s very difficult,” Samec said. “Sometimes I really sacrifice the social aspect of things, which isn’t the most fun as an undergraduate, but it’s going to be, and really has already shown to be, very beneficial for me. It just takes
dedication and prioritizing what’s important.” Samec credits the advice of his father, Tim, a former University of Virginia football player, for helping him navigate an ambitious academic curriculum along with a slew of extracurricular activities, all the while dedicating the amount of time that is equivalent to a part-time job on triathlon training. “As far as motivation goes, I’m determined to do what I set out to do and not quitting,” Samec said. “If I choose to do something, I don’t quit until its done. I may not like it, and if I choose to not do it again, that’s fine, but once I commit to something or somebody, I will finish it no matter how bad it gets. “I’m really starting to realize that all the stuff he constantly drilled in my head all these years is coming to fruition. I can’t thank him enough for everything he’s done for me and everything he continues to do. I’m not here without him and all the things he has taught me and continues to teach me.” With his Rock days now done, Samec will head to Clemson University where he has accepted a lab position and will pursue a
doctoral degree in biomedical engineering. He chose Clemson in part because of its similarities to Slippery Rock. “The campus is beautiful,” Samec said. “It has a perfect environment for me to train in and their bioengineering department is an exact mirror of our physics department. The relationship that the students have with their faculty as Ph.D. students and the entire sports culture which is right up my alley and the ability to train all year around is perfect.” Following the completion of his degree requirements, which takes four to five years, Samec hopes to stay at Clemson to complete postdoctoral research, stay in academia and teach. His future plans can partially be attributed to the guidance he’s received at Slippery Rock. “The professors at Slippery Rock have been absolutely everything to me,” Samec said. “They’ve been very instrumental to getting me where I am. I hope to be able to do the same thing, even if it’s just for one student somewhere along the line.”
s far as motivation goes, A I’m determined to do what I set out to do and not quitting...
Published on Jun 28, 2017