Overcoming Impending Doom on the Road to Rhodes

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By Kevin Scott Bain, BBA ‘15

Photo Courtesy of Kevin BainThe University of Michigan recently nominated me for the Rhodes Scholarship, arguably the world’s most prestigious academic award. The road to Rhodes has not been easy, and there remains a long process to actually win the scholarship, but I feel very proud of how far I have come already.

As a varsity member of the men’s swimming and diving team and a Ross BBA with a dual major in Comparative Literature, standing out among the pool of incredibly talented Rhodes Scholarship candidates was an interesting balancing act.

I began university extremely nervous for the commitment of my sport in addition to academics. How could I possibly manage early morning practices, weekend competitions, rigorous classes, and the vague semblance of a social life?

Then, shortly before college, I suffered a major concussion from an accident off of the 10 meter diving platform, resulting in a fear of returning to the pool. I was terrified of diving — the exact sport Michigan had recruited me for.

Thankfully, Michigan provided me with an excellent sports psychologist to help me overcome the issue, which she characterized as a strong sense of impending doom.

Impending doom? It’s a strange concept, the idea that I was carrying around this burden. And yet, don’t we all come in as freshmen with some level of impending doom? What are we going to study? What will we do after college? What are we going to be when we grow up?

These questions weigh down on each of us as we forge our college paths. In academics, as well as in diving, I eventually found my way.

Sure, there were mishaps, confusing semesters, and a few sport injuries, but with the guidance of excellent professors, advisors, and mentors, I designed my studies, planned my summers abroad, and discovered what I wanted my future to be.

What I have learned is that some source of impending doom will always exist in our lives, but we cannot allow that to scare us from pushing onwards. Don’t be afraid to take hard classes, to challenge yourself to a new experience, to break out of your comfort zone.

That is the most valuable lesson I have learned as a platform diver and a student at Ross, that sometimes you need to just plunge yourself into the deep end and believe that you will succeed.

If I receive the Rhodes Scholarship, I will also receive the opportunity to study at Oxford for the next two to four years. I will study International Development and research the issues that plague undeveloped countries. We need to create economic solutions from the ground up, in which we tailor strategies to fit the specific cultures of the country so that the world’s poor can adapt sensible methods of enhancing their own lives.

My business education has equipped me with the frameworks and tools to tackle complex economic and financial problems, whereas my Comparative Literature degree has broadened my intercultural awareness.

I really believe that by developing ground-up solutions for poverty-stricken countries, we can help relieve at least some of the impending doom that ails our world.


Kevin Scott Bain is a current student in the Michigan Ross BBA program. He will graduate in May 2015.

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Kevin Scott Bain
BBA '15

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