Fulfilling my Dream

By Dominic Cole

Here I am, from the small Caribbean island of Trinidad and Tobago to the bustling streets of Chicago — all thanks to track and field.

I never imagined that trying out a sport on a whim would eventually bring me to the United States to compete on the grandest stage.

Life, it seems, has a funny way of working out.

Finding the track

I grew up playing cricket and soccer.

It wasn’t until my mandatory high school sports day that I even entertained the thought of becoming a track and field athlete.

I was encouraged by the school’s vice principal to give it a try, and, after going out and competing, I discovered that I was actually pretty good at it.

I loved the individual aspect of the sport and the sense of community it provided.

But it wasn’t until one of my club teammates got a scholarship to come to the States that I seriously considered the possibility of doing the same.

I was unfamiliar with college athletics and the concept of being able to get a scholarship to study abroad while still participating in the sport I love.

After years of hard work, training, and competing in meets, I managed to get recruited as an international student by DePaul University.

It was a huge step to basically leave what I call home behind to pursue an opportunity like this.

But in hindsight, it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

I’ve made a lot of new friends, seen places I’ve never even heard of before, and proven to myself that I belong on this stage, competing with the best in the world.

And it’s all thanks to my club teammate who inspired me to chase this dream.

Reaching out to schools

When I was being recruited and looking for a school to attend, it was a bit of a unique situation.

This was post-pandemic, so a lot of schools were struggling to recruit athletes and coaches were not reaching out as much.

I had to take matters into my own hands and be the one to reach out to schools.

For the most part, I wasn’t getting the kind of scholarship offers that I would have liked. So, I had to get creative and start looking for schools that were a good fit for me.

I remember one day I was watching college basketball on TV, and the Big East tournament was on.

I saw DePaul was playing, and I thought to myself, “Let me reach out to a few Big East schools and see what happens.”

I emailed the head coach at DePaul, and the very next day, I got a response saying they were interested in connecting.

It all happened so fast.

And the rest is history.

I was drawn to DePaul for a number of reasons. I did my research and found out it was one of the top academic schools in the Big East, which was important to me.

I also liked that it was a smaller campus and had a smaller track team. The head coach told me they keep the team small so they can afford more individualized attention to athletes, which really appealed to me.

It was the perfect fit, and I’m so grateful that I took a chance and reached out to DePaul. It ended up being one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

After years of hard work, training, and competing in meets, I managed to get recruited as an international student by DePaul University. It was a huge step to basically leave what I call home behind to pursue an opportunity like this. But in hindsight, it was one of the best decisions I've ever made. I've made a lot of new friends, seen places I've never even heard of before, and proven to myself that I belong on this stage, competing with the best in the world. And it's all thanks to my club teammate who inspired me to chase this dream.

Competing against the best

Making the transition from high school to college athletics was a bit of an adjustment, to say the least.

I was competing against some of the best athletes in the country, and it was definitely a step up in competition. But I was up for the challenge, and I was determined to prove myself on this stage.

One of the highlights of my college career so far was competing in the NACAC (North American, Central American, and Caribbean Athletic Association) Championships last summer.

It was such an honor to represent my home country of Trinidad and Tobago on the international stage.

I remember when I got the invitation to compete in the meet, I was overcome with emotion.

It was like a dream come true.

I put in a lot of hard work and made a lot of sacrifices to get to this point, and it was incredibly rewarding to see it all pay off.

The experience in Costa Rica was amazing.

It was an honor to compete against some of the best athletes in the world, and I was proud of how I represented my country.

While my individual performance in the 100m didn’t go as planned, I was able to regroup and refocus for the 4x100m relay.

We made it to the final and finished just one spot off the podium, which was bittersweet, but it was still a great experience.

Competing in the NACAC Championships was a reminder of why I fell in love with this sport in the first place.

It’s given me so many opportunities and allowed me to travel the world and meet people from all walks of life.

I’m truly grateful for all the experiences and memories that track and field has given me, and I can’t wait to see where this journey takes me next.

Grateful for the opportunities

As I reflect on my journey so far, I’m overwhelmed with gratitude for all the opportunities that track and field has given me.

From competing on the world stage to getting an education at a top university, I’ve been able to live out my dreams and pursue my passions.

I’m also grateful for the support of my family, coaches, and teammates who have helped me along the way.

I wouldn’t be where I am today without their encouragement and guidance.

As I look ahead to the remainder of my time at DePaul, I’m excited for what is next.

I’m looking forward to continuing to improve as an athlete and competing at the highest level.

I’m also eager to continue to growing as a student and taking advantage of all the amazing opportunities that DePaul has to offer.

I don’t know what the future holds, but I know that I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be, and I can’t wait to see what the next chapter has in store.

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