New people, new opportunities, and snow!

Fort Lauderdale native Tyrel Spivey had never ventured north until arriving at Beloit this fall.

As a football student-athlete without a season, he has overcome disappointment to build strong relationships with his coaches and fellow students this year.

College hasn’t been exactly what first-year Tyrel Spivey anticipated after hearing his cousins’ stories over the summer. But he’s remained optimistic nonetheless.

“Life’s pretty good,” he says, a grin visible through his mask. Despite lots of reading in his sociology and anthropology classes, the fall semester went well for Tyrel.

“For me, online is very hard because I’m more of a visual learner, and I like being in person with the teacher,” Tyrel says. “So when I’m online in my room, there’s a lot of distractions around me.”

Luckily, some of those distractions haven’t been so bad. A native of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Tyrel has witnessed his first Midwestern weather from his Aldrich window. “I’ve never been up North before, since I’m from the South, so it’s pretty nice to see the changing seasons,” he says. “In Florida in the fall, the leaves don’t change like they do here. When it snowed, that was my first time seeing snow. I felt like a little kid!”

The hopeful biology major has already attended a Health & Healing Channel meeting and is a new member of the Pre-Health Professionals Club, as well as the Student Athlete Advisory Committee, or SAAC. He’s hoping to take a couple of science courses in the spring semester, and branch out with Spanish and Intro to Sculpture.

Despite the official season being canceled due to Covid restrictions across the NCAA, Tyrel still spends hours a week working out with a few of his teammates in the sports center. “I’m still hurt about the fact that we don’t have a season,” he says. “I was looking forward to playing football. It’s not the same when you practice.”

Thankfully, Tyrel’s football coaches have been there for him from the moment he heard about Beloit to this transitional time. “I’d never heard of Beloit until the coach came and I checked out the school,” he explains. “I didn’t have a chance to visit because a few weeks after he came, Covid happened. So it was a matter of talking to the coaches and looking at the school online. I had the chance to play football here and it helped me financially. I liked the coaches—more than a player or a student, they check on me as a person and account for my best interests.”

Between school and workouts, Tyrel has been meeting new people, which is his favorite part of Beloit so far. “It is interesting meeting people from different states that I never would have really thought I’d meet people from,” he says. “I’ve met people from New Mexico, Texas—that’s pretty cool.”

Whether Tyrel is hanging out in an Aldrich lounge or beating his friends at ping pong, he’s finding his own kind of normalcy at Beloit, even when it comes to Commons food.

“Home-cooked meals are a thing I really miss now,” Tyrel says with a laugh. “When I get back home, I’m going to never complain about the food again.”

January 21, 2021

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