#WhyD3...Patrick Brown '15

#WhyD3...Patrick Brown '15

Division III Week is a positive opportunity for individuals associated with Division III to observe and celebrate the impact of athletics and of student-athletes on the campus and surrounding communities. The 2014 Division III week began on Monday, April 7 and runs through Sunday, April 13.

by Patrick Brown '15, Susquehanna men's cross country and track & field athlete

Growing up as a child, I had always dreamed of being a collegiate athlete. I thought that dream would come true on the basketball court in a big Division I program. I worked day in and day out for this dream and never wanted to let it die. 

When I got to high school, this dream changed, however. I began to run track freshman year to stay in shape for basketball. Sophomore year, I stopped playing basketball to further pursue my new love for running track. By junior year I joined the cross country team and was now running year-round. I now had a new dream and that dream was to run in college.

By this point in my life, I had realized what my interests were in the classroom and also outside the classroom. I had a love for the social sciences and business and outside of school had a deep passion for running and helping others. You may ask yourself how all of this ties together, and I will tell you: Division III athletics.

Division III athletics allow you to not only excel in the classroom which was a key factor in my school choice, but also allows you to compete against other student-athletes who had the same dreams as myself. All DIII athletes are driven to be the best they can be in everything they do. The competition in DIII is no different than that level of competition in DI. We are all student-athletes in the NCAA, just at differing skill levels.

Being Division III student-athlete, especially at Susquehanna University, has allowed me to do some amazing things so far in my collegiate career. In the classroom, I have exceled and grown into the person that I dreamt of as a child.  Majoring in economics with and emphasis in global markets and finance has opened my eyes to a world that fascinates me immensely. I have gotten an internship for the summer doing things I love at Bloomberg LP.

Susquehanna University, and all schools in the Landmark Conference, is in my mind a perfect example of what being a Division III athlete is about. I was interested in Susquehanna for the small and intimate feeling between the faculty and the students. I felt Susquehanna would be a home for me and it has been nothing but that. Everyone on this campus is interested in the success of each other no matter what that venture may be. In my case, it is economics and athletics.

I have been able to become the President of our schools economics club, tutor students in the department and serve as a mentor to underclassmen. This has all happened whilst I am in season year-round. The grueling schedule of a three-season athlete is unbelievable. Spending upwards of 15 hours a week practicing, Susquehanna and Division III have allowed me to still get involved in other activities. This was a key factor in my decision to choose Susquehanna and in my realization that DIII was the perfect fit for my personality and athletic skill-set.

Division III allows student athletes to have opportunities those others may not have the option of having in DI or DII. Being a student at Susquehanna, it is a requirement that all students must obtain a cross-cultural experience. This is known as our Global Opportunities program, or GO. I spent the 2013 fall semester studying in London, England. This was the best experience of my life.

I matured as a person and would not trade this opportunity for anything. Missing a season of cross country was a difficult choice, yet I felt that a chance to go abroad for a semester was one that would ultimately more beneficial for me as a person. At the end of the day, I am not going to be a professional athlete but Division III has allowed me to compete at a high level in something I love.

My collegiate career has been anything but smooth yet being at such a great Division III school, such as Susquehanna, has helped me. In my three years at Susquehanna I have had to have three surgeries. Freshman year, I had an extra bone in my foot that was pinching a tendon removed. This procedure sidelined me for the entire winter season as a freshman. When I started back running to get ready for spring, I had to have emergency surgery on my throat. This put me out for the rest of the year. I missed both winter and spring track freshman year, but was determined to keep working.

Fighting everyday with my coach and outstanding training staff, I was able to get back in shape for my sophomore year. Not only was the athletic department interested in my success, but professors were calling and emailing me to wish me a healthy recovery and the best of luck, as well. This is what Susquehanna and Division III are all about.

This past winter, I had to have emergency surgery once again, this time to remove my appendix. I once again received well wishes from professors and the athletic department. I could not have imagined these events occurring in a million years, but Susquehanna, being a DIII school, supported me in the classroom and track to get ‘up and running.’

Division III athletics are something that has been an amazing experience. I have had the ability to live my dream of being a college athlete while also excelling in the classroom. The NCAA is a massive entity and DIII is, in my opinion one, of the most important pieces of the puzzle.

I would tell students in high school who are interested in college sports but do not know if DIII is right for them that it is the best choice you could make. DIII is just as competitive as DI and DII, yet DIII allows you to get involved and explore other areas that interest you. If you have a dream of being a collegiate athlete, yet do not know if it is possible, Division III will allow it.

Division III is the best choice I have made. I am beyond grateful that my dreams have led me here, and would not change those dreams at all.  I am Patrick Brown and I am proud to be a Susquehanna Crusader and equally as proud to be a NCAA Division III athlete.