Today's piece is the first of seven highlighting 2020 graduates that are returning to Babson for graduate school while using their final season of eligibility after all spring sports were canceled by the NCAA last March. Jack Theriault (Tewksbury, Mass.) is enrolled in the Master of Science in Business Analytics (MSBA) program and is a candidate to earn his degree in May 2021.
When the season got canceled and I was forced to finish my year at home, I really did not know what to think. After the initial wave of emotions crashing over me, it did not really feel real. The week or so leading up to the decision we were all walking on eggshells, living minute by minute as things were changing so fast. Seeing everything going on in the world, in the back of my mind as much as I didn't want to think it, it felt like it was just a matter of when everything was going to get shut down, not just if. Despite that, the only feelings I could really muster when we found out was pure shock and sadness. After the team had such a great opening series in Texas weeks before, having so many guys step up to contribute, and really proving that we were one of the top teams in the country, it was hard to see it come to a halt so fast. Spending my four years at Babson building those bonds with guys not only in my class, but the classes that came before and after us, it was hard knowing we weren't going to battle on the field with them again for the rest of the year.
From there, we all went home and started our online classes. About a week after we got home was when the country really shut down as a whole. So by then I really was just trying to get through the last bit of school I had before it officially was over. I'm not going to lie, my mind was still pretty out of it when I got home, and I did not have that sense of direction and drive I had when we were embarking on the season just weeks before. It was probably caused by not only being home, but now being quarantined at home during a time of the year I've always spent on a diamond. After a few weeks went by, I finally realized I had to figure out what I was going to do. I did not have a job lined up, and the job market did not seem to be in my favor either.
Grad school was never a plan for me before everything happened (with COVID-19). I wanted to finish up my four years, finish baseball, and then get on with the "real world". Yet, I was now sort of stuck in the mud. I began to talk more with friends and family, floating the idea of grad school out there without too much seriousness in my voice, just more in a casual sense like, "maybe I'll just go back another year that'd be fun, huh?" It wasn't until the school came out with their tuition reduction for seniors that had just graduated that it became a real option for me. First, I had to figure out if it was something I even wanted to do. As I figured that out, I realized the benefits of going back and furthering my degree definitely outweighed the negatives. I then talked to my parents and wanted to hear their thoughts and potential concerns. They both thought it could be beneficial and were supporting my decision to try and go back. I started to get all my application requirements organized and filled out, really gung-ho about the idea at that point in time.
I gave Coach Noone a call, to let him know my plans and where my head was at with everything, and expressed that I would obviously love to get another year to be a part of the culture and family that the baseball program has. He was supportive and wanted to make sure I was coming back for the right reasons, which I appreciated and was grateful for. A few weeks went by and I got word that I was accepted into the MSBA program, and am now going to be back for another year at Babson along with three other guys from my class. That makes it that much better. We are all going to living together nearby and it is allowing us to reclaim another year, which was briefly taken away from us.
Although I made the decision to go back based on the opportunity to gain a wealth of knowledge in the business analytics program to pair with my marketing concentration as an undergrad, being able to come back and get a second chance at playing baseball surely helped make the decision that much better. I felt our team was in such a great position to replicate the success we had in 2019 and not seeing that come to fruition last spring was tough. Now, everyone else and I get that chance again in 2021.
I really am just coming in with the same mindset as last year, that whatever it takes to make yourself better each day, get it done. If you won't do it, someone else will. Therefore, it might as well be you and you might as well have fun doing it. Not only does coming back feel like a second chance, I think it will help bring some closure to our time at Babson. In the spring, it was hard to try to find closure. I took some solace knowing that everyone in the world was going through the same thing as us, but it was challenging at the same time. Everything ended so abruptly, we never really got the chance to reflect on everything together. I know going to Babson and being a part of the baseball program was the best decision I have ever made. It has made me a better person, teammate, competitor. Everything has helped shaped me to be the person I am today, and I could not be happier to say I get to come back and get a crack at another year.