Spencer Bozsik: Finding Success On and Off the Court
To say a young Spencer Bozsik was serious about his sport would be an understatement.
“I was unbelievably passionate about tennis,” recalls Spencer, who graduated from Laurel Springs School in the class of 2017.
So it came as a challenge when the Bozsiks moved from New York to Charlottesville, Virginia, and the public school systems informed them Spencer wouldn’t be allowed to take much time away from the classroom for his tennis competitions. Unwilling to jeopardize his ability to graduate, the young athlete would have needed to scale down his ambitions on the court to fit within a traditional on-ground public school schedule.
But competitors find a way to win, and, for Spencer, this meant seeking alternative options. His family chose Laurel Springs, attracted by the flexibility offered by the school’s unique curricula.
“Laurel Springs freed me up in a way I didn’t realize could be done with school,” Spencer says. “I think—more than anything—it gave me the reins to take ownership over my education, taking pressure off school and shifting accountability to me.”
His early adoption of self-motivated learning has stayed with Spencer to this day. After graduating from Laurel Springs, he went on to the University of Virginia, where he played on the tennis team—earning sportsmanship awards and serving as co-captain his senior year—while majoring in finance and IT with a minor in business analytics. Today, Spencer is still at UVA pursuing a master’s degree in data science.
He’s undoubtedly come a long way since Laurel Springs, though the lessons he learned through digital education helped drive his successes on and off the court. Still, he says it was a transition to an online format of learning.
“I think you get a lot of hand-holding in a public school system. Going to school online, you become responsible for all of your learning,” Spencer explains.
Even though he found online education a little more challenging at first, he soon discovered taking on the responsibility of his education came with plenty of upsides. Spencer had the opportunity to focus on combining competitive tennis and his education. He joined the Junior Tennis Champions Center (JTCC) and trained for the sport that he loved while also working with dedicated academic tutors. Centers like JTCC are devoted to providing academic and athletic opportunities for high-performing, non-traditional students like Spencer.
“At one point, I was up to like five or six hours a day of hitting the ball and getting in the fitness room,” Spencer says. “I didn’t really expect to be able to play that much.”
The self-paced nature of the Laurel Springs curricula meant he was able to accelerate classes in subjects that he excelled in through the Laurel Springs model of students gaining mastery in their courses. This allowed Spencer to dedicate additional time in his schedule for more challenging subjects and was pivotal to maximizing his time on the court.
“It’s not even just a little bit better compared to a public school. It’s just completely different,” Spencer reflects now. “If you want to travel to Europe to play in a tournament, you didn’t even have to bring your computer with you or think about school if you didn’t want to—as long as you knew to be on top of it the second you got back.”
As he moved into university and the fast-paced life of a student-athlete, Spencer was pleasantly surprised to learn his self-paced experience at Laurel Springs translated easily into managing his schedule at UVA. Unlike some of his peers, he said he never really had to worry about juggling tasks as a freshman, even with plenty of activities on his plate.
His time management skills continue to pay off. Earlier this year, Spencer received the T. Rodney Crowley Scholarship for 2021-22, a recognition given to athletes who show the character of the respected UVA alumnus of the same name. He also won the Gus Tebell Award, bestowed to the graduating male student-athlete with the highest grade point average. And, in 2020, he was honored with the Virginia Tennis Coaches’ Excellence Award.
Spencer wasted no time proving himself in the classroom and on the court, and he’s gone even further in carving his legacy at UVA. During his time in university, he also co-founded two community organizations: The first, Refurnished C’Ville, collects gently used furniture from students for donation to community members in need. The second, Student-Athletes in McIntire, provides support to student-athletes in UVA’s business school.
Spencer recently jump-started his professional network by participating in services and a master class provided by The LinkedIn Guys. LinkedIn experts and former employees, Jeremy Schifeling and Omar Garriott provided guidance for optimizing Spencer’s LinkedIn profile, advice for connecting with the right people and companies, and strategies for growing an army of supporters mobilized to help him secure the right job.
He explains the program condensed years of experience into engaging webinars and online coursework that is now available exclusively to alumni at Laurel Springs through the LSS Alumni Connect platform.
“As I’m in my master’s program, I’m not necessarily currently looking for a position, but I’ve been using all of the skills they taught to put my feelers out there and to get an idea of what other people do in their positions,” Spencer says. “It’s been extraordinarily valuable to see what professions and positions look interesting to me as I get ready to make this transition out of school.”
Looking back at the foundation of his collegiate journey, Spencer says he’s “definitely grateful” for the flexibility of Laurel Springs for helping him follow his passion for tennis.
“They have done a lot for myself and other students, just in letting us do the stuff we love at the end of the day,” he says. “You know, tennis to a lot of people isn’t unbelievably important, but to me, tennis was my world for about a decade or so. For Laurel Springs to give me a chance to make it almost my entire life for four years was like an absolute Godsend.”
On Oct. 5, 2021, join Spencer and fellow alumni at the upcoming webinar, “How to Use LinkedIn to Accelerate Your Career” presented by The LinkedIn Guys. You’ll gain free, lifetime access to the only LinkedIn online masterclass designed by insiders.
Jeremy Schifeling and Omar Garriott led education marketing at LinkedIn, so they saw first-hand how powerful a tool LinkedIn is for students and alumni going after the world’s most competitive jobs.
Now, they’ve compiled all the most advanced techniques they learned inside LinkedIn to help you do the same in your own career. From understanding how recruiters use the platform to getting an edge in any interview process, get a crash course in LinkedIn’s essential techniques.
This is an LSS Alumni Connect Members-Only Event. Become a member of LSS Alumni Connect today to register for the “How to Use LinkedIn to Accelerate Your Career” webinar and exclusive access to additional opportunities, benefits, and perks.