(University of Findlay Marketing and Communication Intern Alexis Mitchell contributed to this story.)
Keeping a 3.7 GPA as well as play a college sport is hard, but losing your brother and guardian your freshman year makes it even harder.
Many people likely would not continue with school, let alone excel in it. But Ricardo Smith did just that. On May 6, he graduated from the University of Findlay with a Bachelor of Science in marketing. He had also double minored in finance as well as operations and logistics.
Throughout his life, Smith has experienced a lot of heartache. His father has never been a presence, and his mother died when he was a child. Then, not long after he began classes at UF, his brother, who was also his legal guardian, died.
“When you get hit with something like that at such a young age, and people that were so important to you leave your life instantly and dramatically like that, you don’t know what to think,” said Smith.
One thing that has helped keep him on track while going through college: basketball. Spending early mornings and late nights in the gym assisted him with maintaining focus, he said
Smith also credited his basketball coaches with helping him overcome his personal challenges. He mentioned that one of his coaches even invited him over for Thanksgiving one year
“That warm welcome just made my experience here that much better, and I know that I have the support around me that I would say not a lot of colleges have,” said Smith.
Smith will remain in Findlay to work for Marathon Petroleum Corporation. Smith says that he is excited to make a difference in the UF community since it has done so much for him.
“I think giving back is a huge thing for me,” said Smith “I’m excited for that aspect of the next step of my life”.
If Smith could give any advice to someone going through a hard time like he did, it would be to keep the positive people in your life. Surround yourself with people who will help you succeed instead of tear you down, he advised.
Also, stay true to who you are, and don’t change for anyone, he said.
“You’re going to face criticism in your life. That’s just how it is. It’s being able to overcome adversity and handle criticism at the same time. When you do those two things you’re going to be successful,” said Smith.