It is nearly impossible to combine athletics and academics anywhere outside of the United States. The opportunities for a student athlete become extremely limited when you need to choose one specific path to follow. This effectively cuts off half of your options, as well as countless possibilities for your life. By continuing your studies and your athletics at a top university in the states, you open yourself up to reaching your full potential and taking advantage of all life has to offer. Education is the key to not only learning about the world, but also learning about yourself. Through education we have seen countless students, as well as team members, achieve things they otherwise would have never deemed possible.
Read our interview with USA Sport & Study founder, Robert Sovik, to learn more about the choices he made in his athletic and academic career to maximize all of his potential and take advantage of all the opportunities possible.
What sport did you play in college?
When and how did you get started playing?
When I was 5 years old, I started playing in a small club in Prague, HC Kobra Prague
What were the biggest accomplishments during your career?
I would say during my junior career, I won 3rd place in the U20 category in Czech Republic when I was captain of the team. When I was in college, definitely being conference champions two times during my three years at Hobart.
Do you still play?
Yes, I play when I have the chance. We created a team in Prague that (apart from the hockey piece itself) that focuses on the community and charity aspects.
Why did you choose to leave to go to the US?
There are limited opportunities to connect one’s studies and sport at the highest level so I was looking for alternatives and was fortunate to be in the same team with Yorick Treille who went through the college hockey experience in the US himself and was able to help me start the journey.
When did you leave?
I left after my second year of university studies in Prague.
What was the biggest challenge in the transition process?
It was definitely leaving family and friends behind initially and then dealing with all situations myself. Both these factors proved to be essential in my growth and the selection of people closest to me.
What were your expectations and what was the reality?
My expectations of the school were initially not very high because I did not understand the liberal arts concept and went through a similar system in high school, but being able to focus on a topic but at the same time being exposed to different subjects and points of view ended up being the most valuable part of my college experience.
Also it is worth mentioning that I went to the US thinking that I would pursue professional hockey after I graduate but since I created other opportunities for myself outside of hockey, I decided to pursue those.
What were the biggest lessons you have learned in college or as a result of going through your college experience?
My experience taught me to bet on myself and to trust the process of our life. Everything that happens happens for us, not to us and I see that more and more and appreciate the lessons that I get through the journey.
What has been the hardest thing about your years in school?
It was being away from home and there were some harder times when my academic and athletic results were not great that I wanted to come back initially but it was never a real option and I am happy that I persevered.
What has been the best thing about your years in school?
I would say the relationships that I created and also learning how to solve problems throughout all my classes that I took in college.
In what way did your life change (attitude to things, opinions, etc.)?
In general, I do not take things for granted as much. For example playing hockey was a consistent occurrence but I see more and more how valuable and pleasurable it actually is when it is missing from my life
I also see how much time things take to develop and create their substance that can then be shared further. I am still learning that more and more every day through our consistent efforts with our organization.
What direction did you go after graduating?
After graduation, I started working for an international fintech company that created a position for me after going through their internship program after my junior year.
What do you do currently?
I am the founder and CEO of Harpier, an organization working with personal potential through higher education experiences and other services.
What activities are you doing mostly?
I create the overall vision for the organization and manage a team of people that works together towards a common goal to create opportunities for individuals.
Would you like to add anything else that you see as relevant for students or their parents who are thinking about a similar path?
I would say the most important things are to have the best information so you can make educated decisions and then having the courage to make the decisions about their future.
Is there anything that you are currently working on or any cause that you are supporting we can anyhow be of help with?
We are working on sharing stories within the topic of college athletics and if you anybody whose story might be worth sharing, please let us know so younger people can get educated and inspired by it.
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