ERICA NARDELLA — Staff Writer
For most students, academics alone are a lot of work. For Pat O’Connor, college is much more than just classes.
O’Connor, a senior sociology major with a minor in political science and criminal justice, is the Captain of the Rugby Team, Vice President for Student Government and also an Orientation Ambassador over the summer.
“It does get tough balancing all of these roles, but it’s all about time management and staying focused. But definitely academics is the most important thing I have to focus on,” said O’Connor.
O’Connor has been playing rugby since he attended high school in Greenwich, Conn. He said he received offers to play college football, but knew he wanted to play rugby at Southern. He said he decided it was better.
“My favorite part about being on the Rugby Team is the family aspect of it,” he said. “We’re always together, we live together, we play together—we’re one big family.”
O’Connor has a big job as a captain since there is only one coach and one other captain besides himself.
O’Connor plays the role of captain on the field and also takes the lead with all of the club’s required work.
“We all do the paperwork, run fundraisers and everything that is involved with the team,” he said. “It’s a lot of work, but it’s worth it.”
Before a game O’Connor, co-captain Chris Rosa and coach Joe Verderame said they try to get the team focused early in the week because they only practice two days a week for two hours. Their season is only five weeks long.
“Our team is always up for the challenge,” said O’Connor.
Last year, the rugby team moved up to the highest level, Division I.
“I love being a part of a team that has improved so much since I’ve been at Southern. It’s an honor,” said O’Connor.
Teammates Dan Rosa and Andrew Marullo convinced O’Connor to join SGA when he first came to school. He has been a part of SGA for three years.
“It’s great to have connections with faculty and other students on campus,” said O’Connor.
He said one of his greatest leadership qualities is being approachable. Another is being motivational.
“Students and faculty who I do know and who I don’t know come up to me and ask me for my opinion and questions about both rugby and Student Government,” he said.
According to O’Connor, all of the senior players are motivation for the younger players on the team as they have more experience.
Since O’Connor has been at school his biggest accomplishments are being in the high leadership positions that he is in now, he said.
When O’Connor graduates in the spring he plans to take local police tests and go into law enforcement. He hopes to move up to a federal level as he gets older.
“I can’t believe that I’m graduating next semester,” he said. “I’m glad that I lived college to the fullest and was involved in amazing organizations.”