Lay down the tracks

Lay+down+the+tracks

Amanda Hoskins

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Many people who drive to campus will tell you that it is not unusual to see 14 young men running down Mount Carmel Avenue on a daily basis. Five-foot-11 Salvatore Siciliano is one of these men, but running isn’t all he does.

For the sophomore who grew up in Guilford, just 13 miles from campus, his life at Quinnipiac is far different than what it was back home.

Back at home, Siciliano was the role model. He’s the oldest of four, with two younger brothers and a little sister. People expected things out of him, especially his parents.

“I wouldn’t say my parents were controlling, but my parents were definitely focused on keeping me as that role model and keeping me as good as possible,” he said.

His mom, Clotilde Siciliano, says he worked hard to be the best role model he could be.

“He took it very seriously,” Clotilde said. “I have to say he is a really good big brother. He knows they watch his every move. Especially his two youngest ones, he couldn’t be a better big brother to them.”

Moving away to college allowed Sal to be on his own and to not have to worry about who was watching and the example he had to set for his younger siblings. He chose to major in journalism and figured he would continue running.

In high school, the focus was running. He was the top runner on his team and captain for both the cross-country and track teams. Sal was recruited to run for the Bobcats, and without thinking too much into it, he accepted.

“I just went for it,” Sal said. “I didn’t really look at any other schools. They just wanted me, so I said, ‘Sure, why not?’”

Since he wasn’t far from his hometown, Sal thought he would meet a similar crowd here at Quinnipiac. However, as freshman year continued, he started hanging out with different types of people than he did in high school. He started doing things because they made him happy, not because he had to.

“I feel like I became more comfortable when I left home and once I was living on my own,” Sal said.

Eventually, he started changing his style. He says he laughs at the face he sees when he looks at his student ID card, because it is such a different person.

“I think I’ve always been the type of person that just wanted to be completely different from what I thought was normal and just wanted to stand out,” he said.

His face lights up as he talks about the person he has become.

“I just feel like I had to contain it and I feel like once I got here I could just kind of explode and I have never stopped exploding,” he said.

Music was one of these interests that “exploded” for Sal.

He remembers the memories of when him and his brother used to rap Eminem lyrics. They would go back and forth for hours to see who could rap the fastest and the most accurately.

His parents love music and a few of his family members have careers in the music industry. Each day on the way to and from school, Sal was that kid on the bus with earbuds in his ears, moving to the beat and embracing the sounds.

During junior year of high school, he started his own YouTube page. He would make up his own raps and send them around to his friends to watch. Eventually, he became busy juggling everything, and his YouTube videos faded.

This might be surprising, because his mom says he was always a shy kid. She worried about what his passions were, if he had them.

“I was always a little worried about him because of his shyness,” she said. “He always had a lot of sensitivity and emotions that we never quite knew what he was going to do with.”

She says his first passion was his running, but his music has created an even deeper passion for him.

It was the spring semester of freshman year. Sal sat at a formal event about making money and having a successful future. The session discussed what students should be doing to make a buck and stay on track for a career.

Sal was miserable. He kept thinking to himself, “Of course I want to make money, but this is not how.”

Now in college, Sal has gone back to music. He started rapping again and putting together videos for YouTube. During the spring semester of his freshman year, Sal started thinking about how he wanted to make money in the future, and he knew that wasn’t in running.

Sal was blunt about that with his dad. He told him he wanted to make music. The next day, he knew for sure that his dad, a music lover himself, was behind him 100 percent.

“I guess he kind of saw himself in me and said, ‘Alright, I’m going to give this kid a shot,’” Sal said.

His dad went out and bought him a whole new set of equipment.

From then on, Sal’s dad acted almost as his agent. He says his dad is always critiquing the music he puts on YouTube and makes sure he is constantly putting out new content.

“We’ll keep getting him the equipment,” Clotilde said. “I think it’s great to have a passion like that.”

At this point in his life, Sal says he is at his happiest.

“People like to say I changed, and I like to say I just got better, just became myself,” he said.

Only a sophomore, Sal says he is a perfect example of how college is a time to find your true self, your true identity. Despite the changes Sal has gone through, running is still a part of his life. He has an unbreakable bond with the teammates he runs with every day and has true friendships with all the people he has met during his time so far at the university.

As for right now, Sal hopes to start playing his music live for audiences. He is going to continue running and doing what makes him happy. He suggests people who are uptight and constantly evaluating what the future holds should learn to live in the moment.

“You shouldn’t look at what you have to do, you should look at what you want to do now and go with it,” he said.