June 13, 2018
THE NEXT RIDE – Paige Stopperich
With the 2017-18 season now complete, it’s time for the Gamecocks to bid farewell to 11 incredible seniors who have each impacted the Carolina program in their own special way. But for these 11 women, the end of their collegiate careers marks the beginning of a new journey, where each of them will make their mark on the world. GamecocksOnline.com is proud to present The Next Ride, spotlighting each senior’s time at Carolina and looking ahead to the next chapter of their lives. Today’s Q&A features Paige Stopperich.
Graduation Date, Degree, Major(s):
May 2018, Major: Psychology, Minor: Criminal Justice
What was your hardest class at Carolina?
Psychology of Drug Use and Effects 503
How did you pick your major?
I picked my major because I have always been interested in studying people in combination with the criminal justice system. Luckily, I never wanted to change my major, and I thoroughly enjoyed all the classes I took while at Carolina.
How did the Carolina Equestrian family help you during your academic career?
The Carolina Equestrian family was instrumental in my academic success at USC. By providing access to the Dodie Academic Center, tutors, advisors, and study hall, it was very easy to stay on track and maintain good grades throughout the season. The equestrian coaches, staff, and teammates provide a lot of support for each student-athlete.
How did the Carolina Equestrian family help with your post-college career?
The Equestrian family and athletic department provided numerous opportunities to network and gain real-life work experience in order to build up my resume before graduation. All the tools I needed to be successful were provided to me. My head coach, Boo Major, also wrote me a letter of recommendation.
What competition will you remember most from your time as a Carolina Equestrian student-athlete?
The competition I will remember the most is Nationals in 2015. While I was only a freshman, I remember that day very well. Our team worked so hard that year and definitely had some low points, but we preserved, came together, and peaked at the right time allowing us to win the national championship. That memory is something so special; I will never forget it.
What’s the one phrase you’ll remember most from Coach Sorrel?
The one thing I will always remember about Coach Sorrel is that each time before I went into the arena the last thing she would say to me is “have fun.” Our sport can get incredibly intense, competitive, and frustrating, but that saying reminded me that at the end of the day we are all just here because of our passion and love for horses. She taught me to never take life too seriously and that while being competitive is good, you shouldn’t forget the reasons why you love this sport.
What do you plan on doing after graduation?
I plan to attend Suffolk University Law School in Boston. One day I would like to work for a human and civil rights organization as a policy analyst or coordinator.
What’s your advice for young riders interested in joining the Carolina Equestrian program?
The best advice I can give to somebody interested in joining the South Carolina equestrian program is to persevere. Stay in contact with the coaches as much as possible and ride as many different horses as you can. Send that video to the coaches. Riding in college presents you with a lot challenges, especially when it comes to horses, so having a diverse riding background is essential. Attending an equestrian camp also helps riders get noticed by the coaches. Never hesitate to contact the coaches, ask questions, and show them why you deserve to be on this team.
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