It’s been said that golf is the game that most closely resembles life. “You get bad breaks from good shots; you get good breaks from bad shots, but you have to play the ball where it lies,” according to the legendary golfer Bobby Jones.
SFU Varsity alumnus Kylie Jack (BA ’19) calls the game “humbling.”
The 23-year-old capped off her SFU golf career earlier this year by making history—joining teammate Jaya Rampuri as the first individuals ever to represent SFU, Canada’s only NCAA team, at the NCAA Division II Women’s Golf Championships. She completed her Bachelor of Arts studies, majoring in criminology with a Legal Studies Certificate, and is now contemplating next steps, including a potential career in law.
Kylie also built a solid track record as a volunteer. She was a counsellor in the Westbank First Nation Summer Youth Program, a Peer Cousin for incoming Indigenous students transitioning to life at SFU, and involved with the launch of MySSP, a 24/7 multi-platform mental health and support service for students. Not to mention being honoured with the Premier’s Award for Aboriginal Youth Excellence in Sport.
A recipient of the John Buchanan Memorial Golf Award in recognition of her contribution as a member of the SFU Golf team, Kylie recently shared her thoughts on golf, education and the importance of giving back.
SFU: What has playing golf taught you?
Kylie: Probably that you can never be perfect at everything. You always have different parts of your game to work on. As a college athlete, you have to have focus with whatever it is you are spending your time doing. It takes a lot of time management and getting your priorities straight.
I’ve developed a lot of people skills through golf. You learn patience. Resilience—if you’re going through a hard time, you know you can get through it. Trustworthiness—there is no cheating in the game. You have to tell the truth. If I didn’t hit the ball when I made a swing I have to count it!
SFU: What has been the best part of being a student-athlete at SFU?
Kylie: Meeting lots of people and competing against the best athletes has been amazing. We did a lot of travelling across America competing against Division II athletes. It made us better as a team. It’s been an incredible experience wearing the Canadian flag on our backs.
We got really close as a team this year and it was great to have a team that was so intertwined. There were five players on the women’s team who went to every tournament together. I built some friendships that will last a life time.
SFU: What inspired your interest in criminology and legal studies?
Kylie: I grew up knowing that the Indigenous population is disproportionately represented in the criminal justice system. I wanted to understand why. As a kid, I didn’t know about the social structures and systems that contributed to it. It was really important for me to better understand it so I could make a difference.
SFU: What difference did student awards and aid make for you?
Kylie: I did not have to rely on a job while I was at school, which gave me more time to volunteer. It was very helpful to broaden my horizons. I was able to graduate from school debt free and am very grateful for all the support I received.
SFU: Can you tell us more about your volunteer leadership?
Kylie: As a Peer Cousin, I would meet first year students for coffee, talk to them about what they are struggling with and be there for them. As a first year student, you often tell yourself ‘I’m fine, I’m fine’ but are you? Mental health is very important for living a happy life, for being able to do the things you want to do.
I’m in a position of privilege by getting a degree. If I can do my part and give back to people who may not have had the opportunity, I want to encourage them to see what is possible.
I grew up in a nice loving home. My parents helped me with everything. Not everyone is in that position. If I can make the journey better for others, I want to.
SFU: What’s next for you on your own journey?
Kylie: I’m exploring jobs related to criminology and what that might entail, and have signed up for the LSAT [Law School Admission Test].
Golf will be for fun, and I might consider coaching when I’m older. I need to do other things first. My purpose in life is not to play golf. My purpose is to help people.”