A WALK WITH A HAWK...FEATURING: MEGAN BUJA
Oct. 29, 2013
PRINCESS ANNE, Md.—In 2010, Megan Buja had the next few years all planned out. The only child of her parents from Rockford, Illinois; she became valedictorian of Thomas Jefferson High School. Megan chose University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) because of its physician’s assistant major and a bowling program coming off the heels of its first national championship. However, that dream met a crossroads just two months into her freshman year.
Right before midterms that year, Megan was informed that her major was being dropped from the school’s curriculum. That left Megan with a choice—either transfer to another school or find another major at UMES and stay on the bowling team. “We hadn’t started competing, so I really had to evaluate whether I wanted to stay, or whether I wanted to pursue [my education] somewhere else.”
In the end, she chose to stay, and in the three years since, Megan and her teammates have captured four more national championships. Entering her senior year, Megan has a 4.0 GPA as a Human Ecology major with a concentration in Dietetics, and is looking to take those high marks into graduate school. Her accolades as a bowler are equally impressive and are among the highest an athlete can earn, including a 1st team CoSIDA Academic All-America honor, while also earning two straight NCAA Elite89 awards. Megan bowled four perfect games prior to her admittance to UMES, and has a high score of 266 as a bowler in college. “Things have worked out well, and I’m glad I made the decision I did to stay.”
With one more season to go, Megan is set to finish her bowling career strong while completing her degree. She hopes bowling will be a part of her life someday, either as a bowler or as a coach, but her master’s degree and a career as a physician’s assistant comes first. She attributes her success to “giving 100% in everything I do” and holding herself to a high standard. “I do things not to impress someone else…it’s what I expect for myself” she says, although she did acknowledge that making her parents proud is a motivating force as well.
With attributes and achievements like these, it is certainly easy to understand how Megan overcame her first semester woes to build an impressive collegiate career. However, the main point that should be made about her journey is that anyone can still enjoy great success despite having to adapt plans. Some freshmen would have handled news of losing a major as a crushing blow to their dreams, but instead Megan founded a new way to stay at the school she wanted to attend, all the while still keeping hold of her dreams. By doing so, Megan became the true embodiment of Dale Carnegie’s phrase, “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”
Now she has four national championships and a 4.0 GPA to show for it. Lemonade, indeed.