The Art of Balancing
My journey at Plymouth State University began with uncertainty, but it has transformed me in countless ways.
The people and experiences I’ve encountered have shaped me into the person I am today.

When I first arrived, I was involved in track and videography on the side. The gym was also a big part of my life, which I used on campus five times a week. Things started to change for the better as I progressed. I now run my own freelance videography company, Sylvain Productions, and joined the Plymouth State Communications and Marketing Office to create videos for their brand my junior year. I have also pulled away from track to focus more on body building. Not only that, I also run my own fitness page, where I create my own videos and other media to help those in need of fitness advice.

Sam Taksar in grey tshirt in front of Plymouth building
Rolando Sylvain ’24. Sam Taksar ’25 photo.
My major in psychology has not changed but I have shifted my focus from therapy to marketing. I like the media side and am minoring in communications and media studies.

I have a goal of working for a marketing firm in the digital media sector and am very open to working anywhere in the world. As I am preparing to graduate, those are the jobs I have been applying for.

Fitness has always been a significant aspect of my life, but it became even more important when I chose to compete as a natural bodybuilder. While training was automatic, preparing for competition by reducing my calories and water was challenging. The hardest part about competing was that prep for my shows happened during the semester. That made it challenging for me to stay on top of my game. However, my drive to succeed in all aspects of life helped me persevere and ultimately achieve the rank of professional bodybuilder after winning my pro card in 2023 at the Shamrock Cup Classic.

With wins also come failures. Several months later, I competed in a more competitive show called the Yorton Cup after months of preparation. I didn’t even place due to insufficient level of leanness, which is a crucial factor for success. My coach and I had believed that I was lean enough, but we were blind to the facts. When the judge told me, “You have a perfect size, a balanced physique, and no lagging body parts. Your issue is that you just weren’t lean enough,” there was no longer any question.

With wins also come failures.
It was a tough pill to swallow. I initially thought I was going to win the whole thing. It took me a few days to accept my losses, but once I did, I started taking steps to ensure that I never lose a show again due to insufficient leanness. Failure teaches valuable lessons.

Academics are also a significant priority for me. To achieve success, I developed a consistent study routine and met with my professors regularly. Although it took time to catch up to my peers after coming from Haiti without fundamental academic skills, I now consistently earn spots on the President’s List.

Sam Taksar posing during fitness competition
Pedro Blanco photo.
I also devote at least three hours per week to activities related to Haiti to keep up with the culture and can now speak Creole fluently. Lastly, I ran for president of the Black Student Union Club and received all the votes from its members. I am in charge of running the club, and it entails a lot of responsibility because any issues that arise are placed on my shoulders. Despite the challenges, I take pleasure in leading the club and am determined to make it successful in all aspects.

Balancing everything while maintaining a high GPA is possible with the right mindset and tools. I meditate regularly, reflect on my goals, and aim for improvements in my life. My meditations are so important because they allow me to see my life from a 360-degree viewpoint. Surrounding myself with motivated individuals who are chasing their own big goals helps keep me motivated as well. Eating healthy foods that fuel my focus is also significant. Using software tools helps me manage my life on autopilot. At the end of the day, the only way a person can do more without being overwhelmed is by putting all the things they can on autopilot.

Despite having a full plate, I still make time for family and friends, which recharges me. I know it can be challenging for many college students to balance academics and social lives, but with dedication, it is possible to succeed. ■ Rolando Sylvain ’24