Derek Stiles

November 18, 2013
Derek Stiles is a freshman soccer player from Hillsborough, New Jersey. A Hodson Trust Scholar and a sports writer for campus newspaper The Elm, Stiles has hit the ground running during his first semester in Chestertown. He sat down with us to answer a few questions about his first few months at Washington College.

What’s your intended major?

Recently I’ve been thinking about joining the Pre-Law program and majoring in either Political Science or English, with a minor in Justice, Law and Society.

Why did you come to Washington College?

My decision to come to Washington College was heavily influenced by playing soccer, but I also knew that it was somewhere that would reward hard work with great opportunities. I was also fortunate to be a Hodson Trust Scholar, so coming here saved me a lot of money compared to other universities I was looking at.

How are you finding classes? How are they different to high school?

Going into college I was told that as long as you don’t wait until the night before to study for exams and such, you would be fine. That has proven true for me thus far. In high school it was very easy to get away with studying for a test or writing an entire paper in a single night. Here that’s far from the case and I’ve had to make adjustments to how I study for classes.  

Have your teammates or coaches played an academic role in your college life?

Without a doubt. There are a lot of intelligent guys on the team, so even being in their presence makes you want to succeed academically. Being on a team with people who do very well in school, along with coaches who expect you to do well, provides even more motivation to get good grades. It helps having older members of the team look over your papers or help you out with a topic that’s giving you trouble.

How is athletics contributing to your overall experience?

Having such a close-knit team with you all the time around campus through collegiate soccer has made the transition much easier than it would’ve been if I hadn’t played a sport. I was coming to Washington College not knowing anyone and my family had just moved to Florida, so I was going through a lot of change in a very short time frame. I also think that playing a sport in college forces you to be much more organized and better at time management. In season you don’t have any time to just sit around and be unproductive, but I enjoy the fact that I’m forced to organize my time.

What is the best piece of advice you could give to a current high school senior who is considering Washington College?

Ask yourself, “what college will give me the greatest possibility to be successful?” I felt coming to a smaller school like Washington College was the more responsible choice because I wanted access to my professors on a daily basis. I thought that going to a larger school would put me at a disadvantage when it came to getting involved outside the classroom. I picked the school that would put me in a great position to get into a respectable graduate school four years from now, and will help me grow as a person in the meantime. 

What does it mean to you to be a student athlete at Washington College?

Representing something that’s bigger than you is always very meaningful. After I played my final high school game, I realized I didn’t appreciate it enough. Every time I step onto the field I take pride in knowing that I represent WAC.

Educate Through Sports gives an insight into the life of Division 3 athletes at Washington College, documenting the experiences of new freshmen who are balancing their sport with their studies.


Last modified on Mar. 25th, 2014 at 4:07pm by George Gabriel.