Maya LaRosiliere: Winding Up and Letting Go

When senior Maya LaRosiliere of Plano, Texas first stepped foot into her tiny Curtis Hall dorm room back in 2018, she hadn’t anticipated just how much this unfamiliar new place would change her, but looking back, she is so glad it did. 

“I’m not the same person I was on my first day on campus, and that’s a good thing,” LaRosiliere said. “When I first arrived, I was nervous about fitting in … I was always trying to mold myself into what I thought I should be. Eventually, I realized life was so much easier when I was just being myself.”

Today, LaRosiliere feels more confident in her identity and its many facets than ever before. While she stays busy academically as a political science concentrator with a minor in sociology, she still finds time to be a dedicated member of the Black Student Union and the Abolish Greek Life movement. LaRosiliere is also committed to athletics, with her track and field accomplishments earning her a place in the top ten weight and hammer throwers in Colgate’s history. In her free time, she and her friends goof around, laugh their heads off and make their most precious memories together.

One of the greatest ways Colgate has changed her is through track and field. Coming into school, LaRosiliere had very little experience with track and field, nor any intention of pursuing it on a varsity level. However, this all changed a few weeks into her first year when she was encouraged to join the team by her peers and, in a leap of faith, decided to try out.

“I had a couple of friends on my floor who were recruits from the team, and they were like, ‘Oh, well you look pretty strong, and we don’t have a lot of women throwers. You should talk to our coach about trying out.’ So I met with the coach … did a little try out period … and two practices in, I was on the team!”

As a thrower, LaRosiliere competes with both the hammer outdoors and weights indoors. Winding her body around and around, LaRosiliere holds the hammer or weight outstretched before her, held horizontal on its wire by the force of the motion. After several turns, when its speed is at its greatest, LaRosiliere unleashes it and sends it soaring across the arena. 

“It’s a lot of spinning,” laughed LaRosiliere humbly.

Through careful practice and conditioning, LaRosiliere has honed her throwing skills so that once released, the hammer or weight will be launched as great a distance as possible, up to 41.53 meters, which is her personal best. These efforts have not only earned LaRosiliere awards such as a record for hammer in her first year and a place amongst the top ten throwers in Colgate’s history, but also resulted in enduring friendships between her and her teammates.

When LaRosiliere talks about her friends and teammates, her eyes light up and a smile takes over her face. 

“When I picture my time here at Colgate, I picture my friends and teammates,” LaRosiliere said. “Anytime I’m with the throwers at practice, we just have so much fun. We joke about everything, we dance around and more than anything, we encourage each other. I always say that I wish I could have the throwers around me just in daily life, chanting and cheering me on. They’re amazing.”

Following graduation, LaRosiliere will be packing her bags and heading to Northern Virginia where she has a job lined up at Capital One headquarters as a part of their Management Rotation Program (MRP). Although LaRosiliere is unsure of exactly what this next step will hold, she is thrilled by the opportunity and excited to see where it will lead.

“I don’t totally know what I’m going to be doing within Capital One yet, but I’m certain it will teach me a lot. I’ll be in a project management position for about a year. Then I’ll rotate to another one the following year in a different part of the company and get a brand new understanding of the business and the different aspects. … I think it’ll give me great exposure to what I like and dislike and help me to decide on next steps.”

Even farther down the road after the MRP program, she is considering going to law or business school. For LaRosiliere, the future is bright and the possibilities are endless. Though very little is certain now, LaRosiliere has learned from her experience joining track and field that uncertainty and spontaneity aren’t always a bad thing.

“I can’t imagine my time here at Colgate without track and field, and that was never something I thought I would do. I’m ready to embrace what’s next.”

As her time at Colgate comes to a close and every passing moment begins to feel more precious than the last, LaRosiliere has three pieces of wisdom she would like to pass on to those first years just starting their Colgate careers. 

“Try new things,” LaRosiliere began. “Try something new, even if you don’t know how it’s going to turn out and see where it leads. If it works out … you will be so grateful you did. … Also, try to authentically be yourself. You don’t have to have it all figured out, but don’t waste time trying to be like everyone else. … I guess the last thing is just to enjoy Colgate. I’ve had a great time here, and I’m going to miss Colgate a lot. I’ve met so many great people here, made connections that I know are gonna last a lifetime and gotten an education that I know is going to take me far. Your time here will go by fast, so really enjoy it.”