The criminology program and the short distance from her hometown of Saint John made third-year rugby player Meghan Pollard choose St. Thomas University.
She first attended University of New Brunswick Saint John with hopes to major in criminology, but decided to transfer. She said that students were able to take those courses there, but not until their fourth year.
“It was kind of crappy for me because I wanted to get started from the get-go.”
She followed in her grandmother’s footsteps and came to STU to take criminology.
This is her eighth year playing rugby, but only her second year playing at STU. However, that is not the only sport she has played over the years. Growing up, she played provincial soccer, volleyball, badminton, ran cross country, did track and field, was on a swim team, played football and did jiu-jitsu.
Her father had coached her football team for three years, and became worried that she might get hurt by the boys when she got into the upper division. When she started going to Simonds High School, her father encouraged her to play rugby, like him and her older brother — so she did.
“I absolutely loved it, and I’ve just stuck with it ever since.”
She was nervous before joining the STU team. She did winter training, but was worried that she wouldn’t receive a warm welcome. However, once she became a Tommie and bonded with her teammates, she developed a sense of belonging.
“[In] my first year up here, on campus I didn’t really have any friends … and I’m kind of awkward so it’s hard … when I started playing rugby last year, I gained like 27 best friends, which was awesome,” said Pollard.
“It’s just nice to have a place that you can call [a] second home.”
With five practices, and one to two games a week, things can become overwhelming for the center and half scrum player. However, Pollard has handled balancing schoolwork and being a Tommie pretty well.
On the other hand, she has a hard time working during the school year. That’s one of the reasons she didn’t join the team in her first year coming to STU.
She began working at Roots in August, but had to put that on hold as her rugby schedule made it hard to do the shift work. Once the rugby season wraps up in early November, she will be able to start working there again because her schedule will be more flexible.
Pollard has goals that she hopes to achieve while on the field this year. She hopes to get a try, win provincials, and be a great leader. Although, she already achieved that when she was chosen to be team captain.
“That was pretty big for me, I didn’t expect to get that. And [I] was picked by my peers so that was even nicer.”
She has also gotten some big recognition as she was just named Athlete of the Week.
“Everyone’s really supportive when you get it. It’s just a little confidence boost.”