Star student epitomizes ideal college experience

Three years ago, Matt Stolt was taking a road trip when he passed by the University of Houston.

"I honestly didn’t even know about (UH) until senior year of high school. I took a trip to Galveston, passed UH along the way on 45 South and checked it out and decided to come here," Stolt said.

Since then, Stolt has completed a kinesiology degree, played the trumpet in the Spirit of Houston marching band, represented the University as Shasta and played wide receiver on the football team – all in three years.

"I’ve done a lot of stuff, and I’ve done it in a short period of time," he said.

Stolt, a self-proclaimed "jack of all trades," color-coded and highlighted his schedule to keep track of everything he had to do. However, he wasn’t always so dedicated.

"I was the biggest procrastinator through high school, until I made my first D. I graduated May 28, June 2 I started summer school and I made a D in political science. The scholarship sponsors said ‘you make one more D, we’re taking your money.’ I kind of had to get it together," Stolt said.

Since then, Stolt has taken his studies seriously, taking 18-hour semesters and summer school to finish all his classes in three years and make the most of his time at UH. Stolt didn’t walk onto the football team until his sophomore year, but he participated at football games another way – by playing in the band.

"My first two years I was in band and I wanted to be out there so bad," he said.

Stolt, who has played tennis since the age of 5, actually played both tennis and football in high school, but decided to focus on football in college.

"My first day at UH, (I learned) they didn’t have a men’s team, so I decided to try out for football. And I actually got out there and played, and I still have dreams about it," Stolt said.

Although he doesn’t have any more classes to take, Stolt isn’t taking the summer off, and his schedule for next semester is just as full.

Stolt has picked up his tennis racket again and teaches tennis to both adults and children. He also manages the UH football and tennis teams during the summer, has a job stringing rackets and is pursuing a career in acting and modeling.

Stolt will remain in Houston next semester as a student teacher in order to earn his education degree.

"My major is kinesiology, which is sports and body movement, but I went to the education route because I want to be a coach," Stolt said. "And in order for you to be a coach, you have to also be an education major."

Stolt prefers coaching tennis to football because he is able to focus more on each player.

"I like playing team sports, but I’m more of an individual coach. When I break down stuff I want to explain it to one person. If I want to work on one guy’s forehand, I don’t have to take out the whole team," he said.

During the fall semester, Stolt will be a volunteer coach with the UH tennis team.

"It’s just like being a graduate assistant. I have my student teaching where I teach at my high school and then I come back and set up for practice. I’ll be able to participate in some drills, I string rackets for them, I’ll meet when coaches meet and go to team meetings," Stolt said.

He is taking every opportunity to remain involved in UH athletics. Although Stolt’s days of playing football are "pretty much over," he will continue to be the mascot, about which he is just as excited.

"It gives me the opportunity to act the way I want to act. If I want to be pumped up and cheer, if I’m in the seats not everybody wants to hear it, but when you’re in the suit it’s different. It’s fun," he said.

Being so involved has given Stolt an unusually thorough understanding of the many different aspects of college life.

"They’re all different. They all have pros and cons. If you want to be a jock everybody looks up to you. (If you’re the) mascot, it’s fun to be the only guy out there in the suit. (In) band you get to be there and cheer but you don’t get enough credit for it.

"It’s good to see every angle. (I’ve had) two years in band, two years on football team and now (I’ll have) two years as mascot. I’ve seen every possible aspect of college life," Stolt said.

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