Disaster turns to triumph

Meredith Somers

Ryan Stevenson encountered hard times shortly after he was born.

“My lungs began filling with fluid when I was two days old. I almost died,” the now healthy Quinnipiac sophomore said.

Stevenson is not a stranger to trials and tribulations, and the past two years have been testament to that.

A Boy Scout since he was eight years old, Stevenson completed his requirements for Eagle Scout in 2001.

But he encountered problems.

“My project was painting a gym. It took all summer because my advisor never returned my calls,” Stevenson said.

In November of 2001, Stevenson was in a car crash.

“One of the firemen at the scene said our crash was the worst he’d seen with no fatalities,” Stevenson said.

After taking a turn at 65 m.p.h., the car Stevenson’s friend was driving bounced off a wall and crashed into a telephone pole.

Stevenson only remembers the wall before he blacked out.

When he awoke, everyone was alive and conscious. His friend had to pull him from the backseat.

Stevenson had the worst of the injuries: cracked ribs, two black eyes and a sliced shin.

Then while taking a post-graduate year at Brewster Academy in New Hampshire, he was expelled halfway through the term for using a stolen credit card to make $800 worth of phone calls.

While working at Walgreens, Stevenson was fired for stealing DVDs and cologne.

By the summer of 2002, Stevenson had reached his nadir: expelled from school, fired from a job and still healing from his car crash. “Life didn’t look good,” he said.

Stevenson decided it was time to grow up. He applied to several colleges and crossed his fingers.

He was accepted at Quinnipiac and won a scholarship and a position on the cross country team.

Looking at his ups and downs, some people see Stevenson’s story as one of heroic triumph. But Stevenson views it differently.

“Everyone has stories to tell. Mine don’t seem overly traumatic or overly captivating, but I’ve lived and experienced them with the most current insights I had at the time,” he said. “On the road to further meaning I think that’s the best way to start.”