Dreams 2.0


“Find what you were made for.”

This is the slogan for To Write Love on Her Arms National Suicide Prevention Week 2017 campaign. For myself, this week provides additional meaning as it coincides with the birthday of my close friend who took his life in 2014, a sacrifice that has forever inspired me to find my happiness.

Two years ago I packed my life into my Altima and drove cross-country from Connecticut in pursuit of a California dream. When I arrived at the University of California, Riverside, everything and I mean everything was different. For starters, Connecticut has four very colorful seasons, cold winters and humid summers. Riverside is in the desert -it’s quite hot- and only varies between different shades of brown. Another striking difference- the demographics of Southern California compared to Connecticut. To illustrate, UC Riverside is known for its commitment to underrepresented, first-generation students, leading to a student body that is among the most diverse in the country. In my position on campus as an admissions counselor, many of my colleagues and students I worked with also identified as underrepresented, first-generation students. Through our interactions I became more familiar with their challenges, challenges much different from those at the University of Connecticut.

  • The transfer student who spent five years at community college paying class-by-class for the chance at a four year degree.
  • The commuter student battling the worst traffic in the country twice a day because living at home is the only way college would be realistic.
  • The daughter whose father took night classes while she was little to better help with her homework so she may graduate. A story you may already be familiar with.

“Happiness can only be found by identifying and striving to achieve meaningful purpose for one’s existence.”

-Jerry Hirsch (Lodestar Foundation), Barron’s list of high-impact givers.

Most impressive was that regardless of the individual circumstance or obstacle, these students were very happy. In most cases, I probably had more- money, experience, possessions- but they seemed to have the one thing I wanted, consistent happiness. As the months passed it became clear to me that the “what” – or adversity/obstacle – did not matter. The common theme I found with UCR students was the “why”- or purpose – and that made all the difference. Over the years I have worked with and observed all types of students from all types of backgrounds with all types of purposes. Though they are fighting an uphill battle, the students completing a degree with the motivation of creating a better life for their family are rich in purpose, and therefore, rich in happiness (generally speaking).

The unwavering commitment to education despite an uphill climb against the system invoked overwhelming feelings of guilt for a lack of effort into my own education, specifically the sacrifices I took for granted. Aside from education, at the crux of the issue was a recognition of a lack of accountability when I was at home- quick to place blame (usually on my family) instead of taking responsibility for my actions. This was certainly not part of the California dream I had envisioned, but the unexpected result from these realizations was that I stopped taking my life for granted. I stopped expecting a certain life to just happen to me and instead actively started creating the life I wanted for myself through a commitment to maintaining positive habits and accepting daily, incremental change as part of a long term goal. That goal? Treat others the way I would like to be treated. When I was finally honest with myself and identified my faults, change then became a commitment to correcting those faults hour-by-hour, day-by-day. Once I took the first step, my guilt transformed to motivation and happiness began to replace emptiness.


RIP Nate

Recently I was able to attract a nice girl into my life as a direct result of my commitment to change. She has introduced a simplicity that I seem to have lost touch with through years of solo journeying- a simplicity that revolves around family, a simplicity that I would like to return to. I have not been the best son, the best brother or the best friend, but I would like to change that and I finally know where to start.

“Find what you were made for.”

My purpose when I moved to California was strictly adventure. This purpose had little meaning as my worldview at that point was formed exclusively from experiences growing up on the East Coast- valuable experiences but only one side of the story. However, after two years on the other side, my interactions and experiences in California merged with those from Connecticut and blended into an updated worldview that is more reflective of who I am and what I am looking for, a worldview I will continue to refine.

After a summer of deliberation, I decided to resign from UCR and return home to spend September with my family. I want a re-engagement in what matters most- relationships with family and friends- and I will work at it hour-by-hour, day-by-day until I am satisfied. Thus far I have been able to see my dad’s side of the family at a reunion on the Cape, bring flowers to my grandparents grave and make dinner for my parents. Simplicity. Life is too short to waste time and there is no better time to begin.

Cape Cod Reunion 2017

Cape Cod Reunion 2017

Looking forward, I have long understood an underlying purpose of mine is to make others’ lives easier- whether it be through large scale innovation or individual interactions, that story is yet to unfold. What I do know is when I am able to live out that purpose in some way, shape or form, that is when I am most happy. I have a rejuvenated appreciation for the sacrifice and work ethic it will take to reach my goals. I am ready to put in the work and I know how to get the job done. The process translates. Effort, concentration and persistence combined with purpose will lead to success. I am committed to the process, no matter how long it may take.

I don’t know where this journey will end up, but I do know it was meant to start at home.

In the meantime, if anyone has any leads, suggestions or recommendations, either short or long-term, I would be more than happy to hear them. I am planning a return to Southern California in October to pursue experiences in the Los Angeles area that will continue to push me out of my comfort zone.



If the key to happiness is living a meaningful purpose, I will continue to re-purpose until I find what I am made for. For those out there who feel stuck in any aspect of life, I believe in you to always find the courage to do the same.




Reach your goals in 2017

Colorful 2017 New Year date in sparklers

If you are like me, you probably have a lot you want to accomplish in 2017. The problem is, with so many resolutions and so little time, where do we start? Last year, I wrote to you about the importance of making New Year’s resolutions, now, I want you to reach them.

What is the purpose of taking the time to set thoughtful resolutions if we do not strategize a plan to reach them? When the goals we set are work-related, they can be measured by quantifiable performance indicators unique to each industry. Thus, our strategy can be evaluated based on these indicators- if performance improves, we know our strategy worked.

But what about personal goals? After all, these are typically the goals that dictate our sense of purpose/happiness. So, how do we strategize to achieve personal goals that are more difficult to quantify?

Analyzing the habits of successful people, both in my life and in the news, I have identified two major themes, focus and time management.

First, you will need to develop a sense of clarity. Picture the version of yourself you want to see at the end of the year. Now, which resolutions will help you to achieve that vision? Here is an exercise I use to help myself identify goals that are most essential to my progress:

Warren Buffet’s 5-25 rule

  1. List your 25 most important goals.
  2. Circle the 5 most crucial to your progress.
  3. Items that are not circled become your “DO NOT TOUCH” list. These items receive no attention until you have accomplished one of your top 5 goals.

For the particularly ambitious, identifying your top 5 goals can be difficult. If you are stuck, use the 5 AM rule to discover which goals are most important. The rule is simple- ask yourself, “would I wake up at 5 AM to work towards this goal?” As sleep is typically the most difficult sacrifice to make, the 5 AM rule will undoubtedly identify the goals that truly motivate you.

Now that you have developed a sense of clarity, time becomes your next challenge. In my opinion, the saying “there is not enough time in the day” is nothing more than a widely accepted excuse. There IS enough time in the day IF you use it efficiently. So how do we use time more efficiently?

 It all comes down to one word…


Time becomes more and more important as it becomes less and less available. There is a common misconception that saying “no” makes us selfish. We hesitate to decline social invitations from friends or colleagues to pursue our own interests out of fear we are causing irreparable harm to our reputation. This is a dangerous practice that clutters our calendars and reduces the amount of free time available to work toward our goals. You would not reach in your wallet and throw money away, but why do we fail to exercise the same discretion with our time?

If you are committed to reaching your goals in 2017, you will need to take advantage of every free hour, every day of the year.

Successful people use the word “no” as a tactic to both guard and manage their precious time. This is not easy. I will be the first to admit that it does make you feel guilty and your circle of friends could change. Ultimately, as I have to continually remind myself, the people who think you are selfish for wanting to improve yourself, are not the people you want in your life. This process will help identify those people, but also, the people who understand your drive and will support you even if you don’t go out for drinks every Friday night.

I cannot claim to have made this discovery myself, rather, it was learned through experience. Two years ago, my good friend Ryan returned home to study for his Step 1 Medical Licensing Exam. After 8 years of medical studies, the score he received on this exam would dictate his acceptance to a plastic surgery residency program. For 8 consecutive weeks, Ryan studied 14 hours a day. I saw him for an hour each morning at the gym- time he used to give himself a mental break- but that was the extent of our interaction during his stay. To every invitation that did not help him to become a plastic surgeon, he replied “no”. The approach was simple but it paid dividends.

Months later, after sitting for the exam, Ryan received a score that placed him in the top 2% in the country. He is now a plastic surgeon in Houston.

This experience inspired me to view time as a resource that I need to manage and protect as I would my bank account. If you do not begin to practice saying “no” now, it will become less likely you adopt the practice, which can lead to regrets later in life. If you know this will be a struggle for you, check out these tips from Wharton School professor Adam Grant.

The process is not always fun, and it won’t make you the most popular, but it will work.

Good luck…

Randy Edsall is back and why you should hope it’s to stay.


I wish the UConn football program success because I love this school and understand the role football plays in progress for the University as a whole. However, UConn is not just a college to me, it is my home. So, in today’s press conference, when I hear Coach Edsall claim UConn is the only school he would return to as head coach, after calling Maryland a “dream job” just 5 years ago, it does not help me move on from the past as he suggested I do.

Please don’t get me wrong, I do think Coach Edsall is the right choice to restore our football program. But, if his intention is to parlay success in Storrs to another “dream job”, we will be right back in this situation 10 years from now. As a University, we cannot afford that. We NEED a stable football program. Without it, we will remain on the Power Five’s waiting list.

You don’t think Jim Calhoun received lucrative offers after the 1999 championship season, or Geno after 95? I can guarantee you they did. They stayed because they wanted to build a program and they wanted to do it in Storrs, Connecticut. A type of program that Randy Edsall was on his way to building before he left on a jet to Maryland just five years ago.

I will always support UConn but I left that press conference unconvinced this isn’t just another stop on the Randy Edsall revival tour. This isn’t just about football, this is about continuing the progress of the University, a University that for some of us is not just a step along the way to the “dream job”, it is the dream job.

It happened once and it was his fault.

If it happens again, it’s on UConn.

That being said, I will be rooting for Coach Edsall and the UConn football program. As all you loyal fans out there know, it’s the only position we take.

My Travel Paradigm: A Prelude

I’m going to start blogging my travel adventures. I think it’s important before I get started to explain why I travel- aside from the flashy tourist attractions and tropical beaches- the underlying lure behind my wanderlust…

It all began in May of 2011 when I was studying abroad in Florence under a man whose name rings familiar to college students across the world- Pierluca Birindelli. Pierluca approached education with much more freedom than the typical college professor. There was rarely a defined topic on a paper, no page minimum or maximum (or suggestion for that matter) and most astounding of all- papers could be handwritten. In a class of American students accustomed to a strict adherence to the syllabus and detailed study guides, there was a glaring disconnect. Perusing through Pierluca’s blog, I stumbled upon this anxious email from a former student that outlined our collective concerns.

Pierluca Email Zoomed


The course I enrolled in with Professor Birindelli was titled Identity and Culture in Italy: A Comparative Approach. The course centered on identity and awareness, specifically during the passage from youth to adulthood. Identity to find purpose in life and awareness to understand how that purpose fit into a global environment. I cannot claim to have understood the entirety of these concepts at just 21 years old, but I never stopped trying. 

I had caught the travel bug.

To satisfy my need for adventure, I sought out a career in college admissions. If you haven’t seen the Tina Fey movie, admissions counselors are assigned a territory to recruit prospective students based on a region of states such as the Mid-Atlantic or New England. Fortunately, I was able to land a position with a territory spanning Chicago to Miami, allowing for unlimited travel within my jurisdiction. Nearly five years after my abroad experience I have logged close to 50,000 miles and met people from all over the world, witnessing firsthand how travel can shape both identity and awareness. There are numerous surface reasons why travel is beneficial, however, I have identified three underlying reasons that inspire my wanderlust.  

  1. I want to know.
  2. I want to perpetually push the limits of my comfort zone.
  3. I want to be a Global Citizen.

I want to know.

To know, you have to go. Traveling alone, as is commonly the case in admissions, can get lonely. But, there is one HUGE benefit to solo travel. I see every place I go with my own eyes, independent from the influence of social perceptions and stereotypes. There is nothing like experiencing a new city for the first time and forming my own opinions without any outside interference. A basic principle of the law states ignorance is no excuse. It is my belief we should extend this principle to how we view the world. Don’t rely on the opinions of others to shape your perspective- go out and see for yourself! In 2014 I spent four months in New Jersey, a state otherwise known as the “Armpit of America.” I had never cared much for the Garden State but then again, I had never truly been. Once I got off the highway and explored further, I saw a much different New Jersey than the agonizing corridor of I-95 presents. As a matter of fact, New Jersey can look a lot like New England…

To December 2014 079

Ramapo Reservation, New Jersey, @mattwemet

Travel not only opens your eyes to new places, it opens your mind to new perspectives allowing for enhanced awareness. This fall I was at a painfully slow college fair in Toronto, agitated by the poor attendance and exhausted from the time change. Just as the night was finally ending, I was approached by the lone student left in attendance. Though I was tempted to give him my card so he could email questions, I’m glad I didn’t. This particular student was interested in learning more about our international admissions process which was ordinary as California attracts a large international population. However, as I spoke more at length with the student, I came to realize he was anything but ordinary.

The student was a Syrian refugee who had fled in the middle of the night with 6 family members when his hometown was raided. From there, he made his way to a camp in Jordan awaiting official refugee status from the United Nations which is required to enter Canada. After finally arriving in Toronto months after fleeing Syria, he lived with his entire family in a one bedroom apartment while they applied for work permits. As he told me his story I could sense no anger or resentment, only hope and appreciation. Our conversation- albeit brief- was a humbling reminder that certain things we take for granted in America, such as safety and shelter, are not always guaranteed elsewhere. Needless to say, I felt ashamed of my prior agitation. Yes, life as a young professional can be difficult but it will never be dangerous. Struggling to make ends meet is frightening but not nearly as frightening as struggling for freedom. I had read numerous articles on the crisis in Syria but never felt more aware of the implications than I did that night. Travel helps to raise our awareness through exposure to circumstances far different from our own, allowing us to view our current situations through a more enlightened perspective.  

I want to get out of my comfort zone.

What if I told you our true identity may not rest not in comfort, but just past it…

In 2013 I altered my career path in an effort to push my limits of comfort and contBlog Listinue my search for identity. However, a few months in I realized a career change alone was not enough. If I followed the same routine I always had, I would get the same results I always did. I knew I needed to force myself out of my comfort zone- but how? During my first recruitment trip to California I created a game. In this game I challenged myself to do something I had never done before each and every day of my trip. Then, at the end of the day, I logged every new experience to hold myself accountable and track progression. As a general rule, the first idea/suggestion/invitation I immediately thought “no” to, I did. The purpose? To fight habit and discover what I was truly made of, not what I thought I was made of.

On September 28th, I was invited to a fun run by a Nike store employee who sold me new cross trainers. While I have always been an extrovert, meeting up with complete strangers in a foreign setting was by no means appealing. Upon returning to my hotel, I had a sudden change of heart. This was exactly the type of activity that would put me out of my comfort zone. I went. To my surprise, I discovered I am much more outgoing than I initially thought. Additionally, local runners went out of their way to make me feel at home. One fellow NBA fan even went as far as offering a free ticket to that nights Golden State Warriors game! In the end, the reward FAR exceeded my initial angst. For this type of positive response to occur so early in my trip both validated my efforts and encouraged me to push further. 

Today, I have no problem venturing off by myself because I am confident I will be able to make friends anywhere I go. In fact, I now seek out these types of potentially awkward encounters just to prove I can do it, opening the door to new opportunities and friendships along the way. This is one aspect of my true identity I would never have discovered had I not made the initial push.It is far too easy to fall into habits and routines based on comfort and comfort alone. Rest assured there is a reward waiting on the other side of comfort for those willing to seek it…


Oracle Arena, Oakland, @mattwemet

I want to be a global citizen.

Whether you accept the idea or ignore it, we are all global citizens. According to census reports, “the United States is expected to experience significant increases in racial and ethnic diversity over the next four decades.” Among these increases, the Hispanic population is projected to more than double between 2000 and 2050 while the size of the Asian population is projected to increase by nearly 80%. The United States is trending towards unprecedented diversity, but also, unprecedented integration. In my professional experience, a major indicator of success relies on how well we are able to work with teams of diverse individuals and opinions. This is easier when people are like you, but, as the census predicts, the majority of people may not always be like you. Travel. When you travel you no longer see borders, you see humans. You are able to see people with your heart and not your mind which allows for a more personal connection.

My previous employer, the University of Connecticut, was filled with people who were just like me in a state where everyone was just like me. My current employer, the University of California Riverside, is one of the most diverse public institutions in the country. People are not like me. In my unit alone colleagues hail from Mexico, Portugal, Turkey and Singapore. When I started back in August I had no clue how to eat a tamale. Do I eat the wrap? Do I unwrap it? Seven months later I not only know how to properly eat a tamale (unwrap it), I can identify if a tamale came from Central America (banana leaf) or Mexico (corn husk) based on said wrap. Though tamales may not be common among the 15 million residents of New England, they are wildly popular among the 560 million residents spanning Mexico to South America. To see yourself as a global citizen does not mean you have to abandon your country, ethnicity, religion or beliefs. It doesn’t even mean you have to travel the world. It simply means your eyes are open and your awareness raised.

Italian Sociology 2011

 2011 Section, pierluca-birindelli.blogspot.com

During my abroad experience Professor Birindelli challenged us to challenge ourselves by questioning all we previously held as fact. To understand the dynamics between ourselves and our interactions through a global lens with far more scope than the town we were raised or our country of citizenship. And if we didn’t understand, to start asking questions. At the conclusion of the semester there was much concern similar to the aforementioned email regarding the content of our final paper. I honestly had no clue what he was looking for but I think that was precisely the point. You won’t always know. As we continue to grow and shape our identity in a dynamic global environment, the answer constantly evolves. Therefore, the focus should not be on the answer, but the questions raised during our individual journey. As I am reminded time and time again, the answer is not in the end result but locked away in the process.

Travel holds the key.

It is now 2016. I am nearing five years removed from Florence and my future only brings more adventure. I voyaged over 25,000 miles in 2015 and am expecting to far surpass that total in 2016. As I continue to travel I want to challenge myself to share the places I go, the people I meet and the stories I hear. You cannot force people to think the way you do, but, you can inspire them by living an example of everything you defend. I hope you enjoy.

Oh and as for that final paper…

I got an A.

I frequently questioned this grade to myself, I didn’t think I deserved it.

Until now.

Ask your own questions and find your own answers.

Please follow my adventure on Instagram and Snapchat @mattwemet.



Why New Year’s resolutions are more important than you think

I have been keeping a journal since my dad gave me one for Christmas in 2009. I write down pretty much everything- places I go, people I meet, random thoughts, jokes and even New Year’s resolutions. Growing up, I never took resolutions seriously. Most years I would simply jot down a few hurried thoughts minutes before the clock struck midnight like I’m sure many out there can relate to. Let’s face it, there’s just not enough time in our busy schedules- especially around the holidays- to write thoughtful New Year’s resolutions.

A few years ago when I was desperate for a change, I tried something different. I made time. I began a tradition of finding a quiet place on New Year’s Eve to write my resolutions. I wanted these resolutions to be different, I wanted these resolutions to accurately portray my ambitions for the close of the following year. So, before I even lift a pen I sit and read through everything I have experienced since I was a sophomore in college. I find it helpful to refresh myself on where I have been before deciding where I want to go next.

“Life is a journey, not a destination.”

I noted this quote on five separate occasions over the last six years. Coincidentally, I have been thinking a lot lately about this quote and how it pertains to not only my life but life in general. Recently I have come to conclude that there may not be a destination after all- that maybe the joy of life is found in the continuous journey with no end required. I know personally that much of my joy in life comes from adventure. The people I meet, places I visit and lessons I learn from travel have taught me much more about myself than any textbook ever could. I am a big believer in the necessity of the process. However, as I reviewed prior years resolutions, I couldn’t help but notice the top recurring item was a destination.

  1. Move to California
  2. Go to the gym daily
  3. Write More

This recognition forced me to ponder the relationship between journey and destination. I have reached my destination, I am in California- I live here. But, as I began to write my 2016 resolutions I realized there were many more destinations I wanted to reach. I have been on the journey for so long- 39 months to be exact– I seem to have forgotten the importance of the destination. If life is a journey and not a destination, what purpose does the destination serve? I have reached the destination through a testing journey so what can explain my desire for more? I took a look back at my own journey to find the answers.

Two additional resolutions I emphasized over the years were going to the gym daily and writing every night- two of my stress relievers. In order to live the life I was striving for, I needed to incorporate these activities into my daily routine without sacrificing my drive to reach California. It was a pretty easy start, everything I had done up to that point hadn’t worked so I already accepted change was necessary. Unbeknownst to me, my biggest hindrance was learning to manage time effectively. In other words, how can I balance my goals into a full-time work schedule and typically active weekends. We are always battling time and I’ll be the first to admit, there is never enough of it, but as I learned, there are ways to maximize it.

My moment of clarity occurred when I committed to shifting my priorities. This included making sacrifices in areas I previously never thought possible- sleep and the weekend. As painful as it was to leave the house at 5:30 AM into negative temperatures, I went to the gym before work. A week later I found that I was much more focused and less stressed in the office knowing one goal was already completed. In turn, this allowed for a much more productive work day. Returning home from work, I found I had more energy to write and work on job applications. Another unanticipated result of my early mornings was I went to bed earlier. This eliminated those countless late night hours spent perusing social media. I also cut out many of my weekend antics which granted two more days of the week previously spent viciously hungover and melted into the couch. Once this new lifestyle became habitual and I started seeing results, I couldn’t stop. I had finally learned how to maximize my time.

Months later, when positions weren’t opening, I became proactive for the first time in my life. I arranged informational interviews at 8 schools spanning California. I knew I was ready. I knew it was time. Almost immediately, like a reward for my efforts, I received a call for an interview with my current employer. It just so happened to be during the 3 days I was in LA, during the random week I chose to visit and the rest is history. My journey was not a physical trip to some foreign land where everything finally made sense, but an internal journey. A journey to change my lifestyle, my habits and the status quo.

As I look back on my process and the changes made I realize they were all to reach a clear destination: California. Then, it hit me. Setting a clear destination is imperative to the progress of the journey. If you don’t know where you want to be, how will you know what changes you need to make? Though admittedly frustrating at times, my journey was defined by the goal of getting a job in California. Once I understood this as my purpose, everything else fell into place. Although I may not stay in California my whole life, I not only made it, I gained the knowledge to make it even further.


Now that I have reached my destination, how can I explain my desire for more?

The relationship between journey and destination is not mutually exclusive, but progressive. One is not more important than the other, they are both equally essential for personal growth. You don’t reach the destination and stop, rather, the skills learned on your initial journey enable you to reach even further destinations. Through my journey I learned how to manage my time, make sacrifices and most importantly, commit to a long term plan and execute. California is not my end destination but instead a stop along the way to a whole new realm of destinations I never thought possible. In that sense, as I sit on my couch on New Year’s Day, I am content in knowing I am not melted but continuing to live my changes.

At this time last year I was as firmly rooted in Connecticut as I’ve ever been. Today I sit 3,000 miles away from all I know, as free as I ever will be.

Next year, when you are inevitably rushing around on New Year’s Eve, I encourage you to take a few moments out of your day and write thoughtful resolutions. As long as you are headed where you want to be, you will never fail on your journey.

Cheers to 2016 and cheers to the journey, may it never end.

UConn Sport Management Alumni SportPath: Matt Ouimette

A few weeks ago I was asked by the UConn Sport Management Program to contribute my experiences working in the industry or “SportPath” to share with current students. Though my story is sport-specific I continue to use the lessons learned on a daily basis. During my sports career I have worked over 200 NCAA basketball, NCAA football, FCS football and NFL games from Connecticut to Hawaii- and it all started with an email.

Net Cutting

2011 Big East Tournament, MSG

Alumni SportPath: Matt Ouimette

As an incoming freshman to the University of Connecticut, I knew I wanted to get involved with the athletic department. While I was still in high school I emailed a former classmate working in athletics in the hopes of obtaining a position. After a few emails back and forth I found a home in the football equipment room- not what I had hoped for but I graciously accepted. Soon thereafter I was asked to fill a vacancy as a video assistant to the men’s basketball program. What started as a simple email resulted in working over 100 UConn basketball games all over the country.

Lesson 1: Maintain and utilize connections. Be genuine.

My position as video assistant required me to work home games and the occasional practice. Instead of limiting myself to the required duties, I tried to get as involved as possible. I attended as many practices as I could, assisted team managers when needed and completed each task I was given quickly and effectively. Due to my commitment I was given more responsibilities and was fortunate enough to work events such as the 2010 Preseason NIT, 2011 Maui Invitational and the now historic 2011 Big East Tournament.

Lesson 2: Take pride in your work no matter how small the task may be. Have passion.

In the excitement following our victory over Louisville to take the Big East crown and complete “5 Games in 5 Days” I was approached by a stranger. He told me UConn had forgot to cut down the second net and the MSG staff were about to remove the basket. He provided me a ladder in exchange for a piece of net. Unbeknownst to me, the man was the CEO of the software company I had used the previous four years at UConn. He offered me an internship on the spot.

Three months later I was in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on the sidelines of Heinz Field testing Still Shot equipment for NFL use. Through the course of my internship I was exposed to numerous NFL, NBA and NCAA clients, creating valuable relationships in the process. I was also able to test instant replay software that was eventually adopted for the NCAA men’s and women’s basketball tournament.

Lesson 3: Network! Not just a simple exchange of contact information but tell your story and detail where you want to be. You may just find yourself in the right place at the right time!   

Link to original

Oh and I still keep my lucky piece of net with me at all times…



Never give up.

I am 25 years old. I have a full-time job with medical and dental coverage as well as a generous retirement plan at my alma mater, the University of Connecticut. I have an incredibly rewarding job as an admissions counselor, serving as a liaison between the school and prospective students. Storrs, Connecticut will always be my home.

Although raised in Connecticut I was born in Los Angeles and have been infatuated with California ever since. When I was younger I would stare at pictures of the boardwalks and endless coastline for hours. The infatuation quickly turned into a dream.

Every month since I graduated college I have applied to jobs in California and every month, for 39 months, I have been rejected. That’s 39 months of deep disappointment only experienced when a dream is crushed again and again before your eyes. No matter how positive your approach or how strong your intuition, 39 months of rejection takes its toll. It makes you question your purpose and ability leading to the darkest of days. It can even turn dreams into nightmares.

A close childhood friend of mine passed away last year. In our last conversation he mentioned he had always been impressed by my drive and added that 25 would be our year to shine. Tragically, he never made it to 25 but his words left a lasting impression. We all face adversity, it’s how you respond to that adversity that defines who you are.

No matter how many times you fail, never give up.

This March, on my 25th birthday, I had the most important epiphany of my life and committed to the most important decision of my life. Suddenly, it all made sense. I no longer felt the nagging pain of disappointment. Like everything in life, this was just another sign. Our next move depends on how we interpret that sign. I refused to be defined by my failure but instead used it to improve. Each rejection has forced me to re-evaluate my approach and alter how I market myself. Every new application I sent out was better than the last, each interview question prepared more carefully than it’s predecessor. Each rejection has made me better and I realized I was not in the midst of 39 months of failure, I was in the midst of 39 months of improvement.

You see the epiphany I had was that nobody can crush your dreams but yourself. I have read these words time and time again but never saw them as clearly as I did that day in March. The day I decided nothing could stop me.

No matter how many signs point to “no”, never give up.

Today I resigned from my position at the University of Connecticut. I have nothing but the utmost respect for my colleagues at a University I have grown to love, but I am overdue for my next adventure. After 25 years I am finally moving to Los Angeles to chase my dream. I don’t expect it to be easy, but that is not what I am looking for. I have always found I perform better when challenged and this will be the ultimate challenge. I am not fearful of what is to come but rather excited to finally discover what I am truly capable of. Over the years I have been asked many times what exactly I am looking for in California. I’m not looking for anything, I’m looking for everything.

To my late friend, 25 is our year to shine and I promise nothing will ever stand in my way, especially myself.

To my friends and family, thank you for the unwavering support and encouragement. I could never accurately express my appreciation.

In my lifetime I have cliff jumped into the clear waters of the Adriatic Sea, swam in the Blue Grotto, viewed picturesque Italian sunsets in Tuscany, partied late into the night at New York City’s finest clubs and witnessed my childhood idols, the UConn Huskies, win two National Championships. I have worked the sidelines of an NFL game, played pick up basketball at Madison Square Garden and stood on the field at Fenway Park. I have traveled all over this beautiful country from the mountains in Montana to the warm waters of Maui, crossed the bridges of Pittsburgh to the rolling hills of New England. But you know what?

This is the first time I feel truly alive.

It is now time for me to follow my dream. When your time comes, I encourage you to do the same.

And always remember, never give up.

If anyone has any leads on housing in the Orange/Riverside County area please contact me at matthew.ouimette@gmail.com!

New England products dominate Top Ten Plays of the Lega Basket Quarterfinals



This week’s Top Ten plays of the Lega Basket Serie A quarterfinals feature four players with ties to the New England area.

  • #6: Milan’s MarShon Brooks played collegiate basketball in the Big East Conference for the Providence Friars from 2007-2011.
  • #5: Dinamo’s Rakim Sanders was born in Pawtucket, Rhode Island and played his first three years of college ball at Boston College before transferring to Fairfield (CT) for his senior year.
  • #3: Dinamo’s Jerome Dyson (UConn) throws down on American Josh Owens. Though a Stanford grad I am seriously doubting Owens’ basketball IQ…
  • #2: Brindisi’s Delroy James attended the University of Rhode Island from 2007-2011, earning All-Atlantic 10 Second Team honors in his senior season.

Lega Basket Serie A: Jerome Dyson and Dinamo Sassari advance to Semifinals



Jerome Dyson and #5 Dinamo Sassari have advanced to the Lega Basket Serie A semifinals upsetting #4 seed Trento 3-1. After dropping Game 1, Dyson and company rode a three game winning streak to keep their Championship hopes alive. Series MVP David Logan led the way for Dinamo, dropping 27 points in the Game 4 clincher. Dyson struggled to find his shot in the series but still found other ways to contribute, dishing out 6 assists in the final game.

As I discussed in my quarterfinal preview, Dinamo’s keys to the series included:

  1. Contain League MVP Tony Mitchell
  2. Post-production
  3. Find shooting touch

Following the Game 1 loss, let’s see how Dinamo responded to each key.

Game 1: Trento 81, Dinamo 70

Game 2: Dinamo 88, Trento 79

  1. Mitchell: 6-18, 6 TO
  2. Rebound Margin: Even
    1. Shane Lawal: 18 points, 7 rebounds, 1 block
    2. Jeff Brooks: 13 points, 9 rebounds
  3. 66% from the field
    1. Edgar Sosa: 21 points

Game 3: Dinamo 103, Trento 78

  1. Mitchell: 2-12, 9 TO
  2. Rebound Margin: -1
    1. Shane Lawal: 8 points, 7 rebounds
    2. Jeff Brooks: 18 points, 7 rebounds, 2 blocks
  3. 76% from the field
    1. 103 points scored
    2. Edgar Sosa: 23 points, 4-7 3P

Game 4: Dinamo 84, Trento 80

  1. Mitchell: 5-15, 6 TO
  2. Rebound Margin: -9
    1. Shane Lawal: 10 points, 9 rebounds, 3 blocks
    2. Jeff Brooks: 5 points, 6 rebounds, 2 blocks
  3. 61% from the field
    1. David Logan: 27 points, 3-5 3P

Mitchell, a player who had caused problems for Dinamo in the past, was harassed into a woeful performance- managing only 29% from the field and commiting 7 TO per game- during the final three games of the series. Dinamo received the post-production they desperately lacked in previous battles with Trento, as forward Jeff Brooks provided extra strength inside to complement center Shane Lawal. However, the most impressive statistic of the series is the 68% Dinamo shot from the field in the final three games, including a 103 point explosion in Game 3. When you shoot the ball at such a high mark, it becomes almost impossible to lose. Here is a look ahead at Dinamo’s semifinal matchup.




Dinamo has reached its third semifinals in only five years of Serie A play, drawing a matchup with #1 seeded Milan- fresh off a 3-0 sweep of #8 Granarolo. The clubs split the season series 2-2, though Dinamo came out victorious in the most important games, defeating Milan in both the Italian SuperCup at the beginning of the year as well as the Italian Cup in February. It comes as no surprise that the winner of this series is the favorite to take the Serie A crown. Below is an inside look at the Italian Cup Finals matchup in February to give some perspective on the history of these two clubs.

This star-studded matchup features numerous former NBA players on the Milano side including MarShon Brooks (LA Lakers), Linas Kleiza (Toronto Raptors), Alessandro Gentile (Minnesota Timberwolves) and Samardo Samuels (Cleveland Cavaliers). Though Milano is favored and equipped with a deep bench, Dinamo possesses both the athleticism and momentum to eliminate the #1 seed for the third time this season. Here is a look at the probable starters for each team.

#5 Dinamo Sassari

Pos Name Nationality College/Former Club PPG RPG APG
PG David Logan USA/Poland Indianapolis ‘05 16.5 2.8 3.0
SG Jerome Dyson USA UConn ‘10 16.1 3.9 4.2
SF Rakim Sanders USA BC/Fairfield ‘12 12.0 3.5 1.2
PF Jeff Brooks USA Penn State ‘11 8.6 7.2 1.3
C Shane Lawal Nigeria Oakland/Wayne St ‘09 10.8 9.2 1.2
Notable Bench Players
G Edgar Sosa Dominican Louisville ‘10 11.9 1.7 3.2

#1 Milano

Pos Name Nationality College/Former Club PPG RPG APG
PG Joe Ragland USA/Liberia Wichita State ’12 12.1 3.2 3.4
SG MarShon Brooks USA Providence ’11 14.7 3.5 2.2
SF Alessandro Gentile Italy Timberwolves (NBA) 12.7 4.6 1.9
PF Linas Kleiza Lithuania Ulker (Turkey) 9.4 3.7 0.7
C Samardo Samuels Jamaica Louisville ‘10 13.3 5.7 1.9
Notable Bench Players
G Daniel Hackett USA/Italy USC ‘09 8.9 3.3 4.1

The series tips off tomorrow with two games in Milan before returning to Sassari on June 2nd for the final two games. Television information is unavailable at the time but the games should be available by following Lega Basket Serie A on the Twitter app Periscope. Best of luck to Sassari in their quest for a third trophy!