Hit the slopes or hit the books? At UO you can do both

Sydney Seymour wears ski goggles and holds a snowboard while standing in front of a ski lift rising amid evergreen trees
Sydney Seymour, SOJC class of '25, enjoys hitting the slopes of Willamette Pass on weekends. Photos courtesy of Sydney Seymour.

Back in high school, my life revolved around two distinct passions: journalism and snowboarding. So when it came to deciding what college to go to, I considered many variables, but a solid journalism program and proximity to powder were the two criteria I prioritized. Being from Portland, I was torn between sticking to the familiar Pacific Northwest or going to a well-known journalism school in New York with the Vermont mountains in reach.

After talking to a few of the UO School of Journalism and Communication (SOJC) students and alumni in my community, their glowing reviews made the journalism program at UO seem like an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. That, coupled with the comfort of being close to home and the easy hour-plus drive to hit the slopes at Willamette Pass or Hoodoo ski areas, sealed my choice.

Now, as a UO Snow club member, aspiring journalist and media studies scholar at UO, I am truly living the intersection of the two passions I’ve dedicated countless hours to.

Sydney Seymour performs a jump on a snowboard amid snowy pine trees
Sydney Seymour, SOJC class of '25, likes to freeride at Willamette Pass on weekends after hitting the books during the week. The proximity to the slopes was a big factor in choosing UO.

When I’m not hitting the books, I’m hitting the slopes

Being a part of UO Snow comes with balancing a rigorous academic schedule and the demands of the sports club team. UO Snow is the official club freestyle ski and snowboard team, and students of any skill level are welcome. The team goes up to Mt. Bachelor every Saturday to freeride casually or participate in competitions, sometimes staying for weekend-long cabin trips.

On the days when I don’t feel up to the long drive to Bachelor, I tend to go to Willamette Pass with people on the team or my friends who ski and snowboard. Its proximity is one of the many perks that come with studying at UO. Plus, the Oregon Coast is just a two-hour drive from Eugene when it’s time to swap the snow for sand.

Program flexibility lets me be a scholar and a snowboarder

To manage it all, I’ve become a master of the weekday grind, working to keep my weekends free for the mountains. The SOJC favors a project-based approach, especially when it comes to finals. This format has been a game changer especially at the end of the term, allowing me to submit projects during week 10 and free up my finals week for snowboarding. Nevertheless, the time I’ve spent on the club team has taught me about time management and teamwork — two essential skills for any journalist or communications professional.

My experience at the University of Oregon is a testament to the idea that when you align your education with your personal interests, the outcome is more than just a degree, it’s a lifestyle that reflects what you love. The UO has allowed me to pursue my dual passions, and the experiences and connections I’ve made here are not only shaping my academic and professional pursuits, but are also deeply personal. Whether your passions include club sports, student government, Greek life or of the hundreds of extracurricular activities that abound on campus or in the greater community, I urge you to get involved. As I continue to navigate developing as a journalist and contributing to UO Snow, I’m constantly reminded of the value of following one’s burning passions.

—By Sydney Seymour, class of ’25

Sydney Seymour '25 (she/her/hers) is a media studies major minoring in ethics. She is a writing intern for the SOJC and the executive writing editor for Align Magazine. Connect with her on LinkedIn.