Athletics, spirituality, and good vibes
Originally drawn to Beloit’s football program, Silas Say’22 has found value in nearly every aspect of the college experience. Exploring classes such as dance kinesiology and leadership positions in a variety of offices aided him on the path towards self-fulfillment and a future career in physical therapy.
Silas Say’22 leads a busy life on Beloit’s campus, but he’s grateful for every second of it. When he first visited from Spokane, Wash., he says the vibe felt right to him. “I just felt led to come here,” he says. “It felt like the right thing to do.”
The college’s football program also helped Silas choose Beloit. As team captain, he has found the experience to be humbling and a blessing. He enjoys cheering on his teammates and Head Coach Ted Soenksen, but he also admits that it can be a challenge. He compares his role as captain to playing chess, aiming to “form unification naturally without pressing [his teammates] too much, but at the same time, also getting them to all buy into a common goal and a common process.”
The team’s energy is another aspect that Silas loves, along with the growth that both new and older players have exhibited throughout the years. The potential in others inspires him daily, from the football field to the campus itself, being one of the many reasons he loves Beloit.
Though Silas originally came to Beloit for football, he’s found purpose and aspiration in every corner of the college experience, encouraged by his first-year advisor and anthropology professor, Dr. Shannon Fie, to go out, get involved, and make the most of every opportunity that comes his way. Taking her advice to heart, Silas has been a teaching assistant for the Advanced Mentoring Program (AMP), a residential assistant, and a Student Excellence & Leadership Program (SEL) student and mentor.
Silas recalls the fun of being an AMP teaching assistant in fall 2021. Working with first-years brought back memories of his own experiences and transitions, and he felt that it was particularly fulfilling to see and interact with students stepping into a new chapter of their lives.
As a residential assistant three years in a row, Silas says, “You never know what to expect.” He’s experienced everything from tough situations to those that are simply crazy and fun, but most of all he’s glad to have helped build community on campus.
For Silas, the SEL team is like “a family away from home.” The program primarily aims to guide students from marginalized and lower-income backgrounds through the twists and turns of college life. Since he benefited immensely from the program as a first-year, Silas wanted to give back. He says that the greatest part of being a mentor has been “being able to be there for other kids who are going through the same thing that I went through.”
Silas has also taken charge of starting up three new student clubs: a pre-physical therapy club, an informal Bible study club, and Yin Yoga, the last of which is still in the works. Yin Yoga will focus on guided meditation, breathing, and stress relief to help students relax physically, mentally, and emotionally. The physical therapy club is more about career readiness, specifically in the fields of physical therapy, athletic training, and strength and conditioning. Silas plans to pursue a physical therapy career after Beloit and wants to support younger students also interested in these fields as they look for internships and prepare for graduate school.
Silas was inspired by the physical therapist he went to as a 12-year-old after getting injured and being unable to play football for the first time. He describes the therapist as super tender, caring, and compassionate. “He had that impact on me,” he says, “and I want to be able to have that impact on other people.”
At Beloit, taking a class on dance kinesiology with Professor Chris Johnson helped put Silas on the right track of understanding his body and preparing him for his career. He admires Chris’s self-aware, motivational, and caring nature and says that both she and the class “elevated [his] abilities to comprehend and be ready to become a physical therapist.” Not only did it jump-start his career path, but the class also inspired him to live a healthier life.
Though he graduated in spring 2022 (and earned the Blue Skies award at Commencement), Silas is considering sticking around for another semester or two as a super-senior. He feels that the abundance of change and potential on campus and within the Beloit community has provided him with countless opportunities.
Silas has a hard time narrowing his response about the best part of his day at Beloit. What stands out is that he loves the people who surround him. The best part for him is “seeing the community that I love, the community that I belong to, and just being appreciative of that.”