Hayley Degaust: Academic All-Canadian

The Wanderer may tell you otherwise, but the reality is many people got on this top-100 list because of schmoozing, who they know and how outwardly charismatic they work to be through selling themselves. I guarantee you, Hayley Degaust is NOT one of those people. She is part of a select few who are 100% deserving to be on this list because of her commitment to passionate hard work every single day. But for her, that is the point: passionate hard work, which enables her to involve herself in the activities that she loves on a daily basis. It is as simple as that for Hayley. It isn’t about beefing up her resume with hours upon hours of begrudged volunteerism, or being on a varsity team for any false sense of status, but rather for the simple pleasure that comes with injecting herself 100% into every single thing you do in life.

Through this simplistic and passionate approach, Hayley has achieved more than most of us can comprehend, let alone would be willing to attempt ourselves. During her undergraduate degree, Hayley has been a Captain of the Varsity Cross Country and Track Teams, arguably the most dedicated and involved member on those teams, while she simultaneously has coached for Edmonton Thunder’s Mini-Boltz kids track program, a commitment that also takes many hours a week. Sounds like a full plate right? Not for Hayley. Over the past two years she has also been a volunteer with Alberta Sport and Recreation’s Association for the Blind, as a program leader and guide runner. Oh and I forgot to mention, she did all of this while taking five courses each term (atypical for plenty of varsity athletes) and maintaining a high GPA which easily earned her the distinguished honour of being an Academic All-Canadian for multiple years.

For all I know Hayley probably does a few other things too, and just hasn’t told many people about them. That’s how humble and level-headed Hayley is. Seriously, if there was a ‘take your fellow undergrad to work day’, and one of us were tagging along, we would gain a deep respect for just how tirelessly this girl works. Honestly, that would be the only way to understand it, because she is to humble to ever willingly admit to it all herself.

Plenty of university students excel when it comes to investing in yourself throughout school and attaining an incredible degree of self-improvement. But few are able to do that, while simultaneously investing in others through consistently volunteering and improving not only the university community, but also a large community off campus. Hayley’s ability to invoke positive results in others and herself truly sets her apart. The interesting thing about it is, unlike others, Hayley would never see it this way or look back at it and think to herself, “man I’m a boss!” Instead, with a quiet confidence and unassuming attitude she will be heading off to another activity just looking to have some more fun.

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