10 Questions News

10 Questions with Devin O’Reilly

As he completes his fifth year at Andover, Devin O’Reilly works as an athletic trainer in the Snyder Center, a house counselor in Foxcroft, and one of the class advisors for the Class of ’23. He also enjoys working out in his free time.

  1. What led you to be an athletic trainer, and what did you do before you were an athletic trainer here?

I came here right from college. I went to University of Albany right from high school and played football there. After that I transferred to Merrimack College, played football there, where I got my degree in athletic training. That’s what I was doing before Andover. I came for my interview, I met with Mr. [Michael] Kuta [Head Athletic Trainer and Instructor in Athletics], the rest of the athletic department, and [Linda Carter Griffith, Associate Head of School for Equity, Inclusion, and Wellness], and I had a great time. They introduced me to some of the kids on campus, and showed me the resources they had here to help the kids and I fell in love with it. That’s how I got here. I played sports all my life, and the athletic trainers I had growing up always gave me a sense of calm when I was scared about being hurt. That’s why I love athletic training; I can feel a sense of peace and calm when kids are injured or scared and I can provide that sense of reassurance that everything’s going to be okay.

  1. How was the transition from being an athlete to an athletic trainer?

It was easy in the sense that I kind of understood what kids were going through but it was also tough because I wanted to still be playing. I think I bring energy and joy to sports, but also care. There’s so much more that goes on than besides just playing the sport. There’s the mental health side of it, and just feeling like I can be there to support the kids when there’s life going on and they’re playing sports. I think that’s the best aspect that I bring to the kids here.

  1. What’s your favorite part of your job?

I would say the common answer would be the kids, but I really have the greatest time of my life in the afternoon. Obviously game days are great but during Monday through Friday in the Fall I would work in the rink with football and field hockey, in the winter I work in the Snyder Center with squash and indoor track, and in [the] spring I work with outdoor track and tennis. Having the kids just come and hang out is really great. There’s so many times before we close at six where we’re just hanging out having a conversation about the day. They give me a lot of joy and peace in my life and I love being there for them.

  1. How is your experience as a house counselor in Foxcroft?

I’ve been in Foxcroft ever since I got here, so five years in Foxcroft. Being able to mentor kids outside of school or outside of the athletic training room is something I’ve really found a passion for. We talk about life and everything that comes with it, and how to make everything viable. We talk about how to see everything as an opportunity and how to be there for others and find joy in that. I love being a house counselor, I think it’s one of the best parts of my job. It’s a powerful place to help students learn and I also learn so much from students. I truly enjoy my time when I’m on duty, and our Sunday dorm meetings that we have and it’s been an amazing experience.

  1. What’s been your most notable experience at Andover?

One would be being the class advisor of Class of ’23. I love the Seniors, I’ve been rolling with them since their Lower or Upper year. I’ve got to know them and seen them grow, succeed and help them through their failures. It’s been a great accomplishment of mine, because it’s something I did think I could be able to do good, but helping them succeed and teaching them how to grow up and mature and find joy and passion in their life is awesome. 

Two would be being an advisor to my advisees. We meet almost every Tuesday. We have good conversations and have worked a lot through what the world has thrown at the Seniors now including Covid[-19], being online, applying to college. That’s a great joy and I’m very proud of being their advisor. I’m sad to see them go on June 4 but I’m super excited to see how they succeed in life and hopefully I made an impact on them. 

The last thing I think is that sometimes athletes give me notes after the season or school year. It’s really emotional for me to see how our relationship as an athletic trainer and athlete grows and it’s something really special. They’ve given me so much joy and I just hope I’ve made an impact on their life where they can feel proud of themselves and successful in who they are.

  1. Which one of your jobs have been most important to you?

I don’t really know if it’s a role I get paid for, but it’s just being a supportive adult on campus. Yes I’m an athletic trainer, a house counselor, an advisor, an EBI teacher, but just walking down the paths and being someone for kids to lean on or come to if they need support or share an important life event. That’s my favorite role. Every time I step out of Foxcroft I’m looking to help and serve the students around me. Even though I don’t get paid for it, being a supportive adult on campus is my favorite job.

  1. How has your experience with LIFE Sports been?

I’ll be H.O.T. here (Humble, Open, and Transparent). Students try to take the sport that is the least amount of time which I understand. Students here have so much to do, and there’s a lot of work and stress. There’s a lot of students who enjoy intramural basketball in the winter, but most of the student body don’t want to engage. Like I said, I completely understand but I also hope and wish that the program gets reinvigorated so students feel a sense of joy doing it. It’s important for mental health to move and have social connection and find joy and understand how to pursue joy. I think LIFE sports are awesome and they give students an outlet rather than doing homework all the time. We’re looking to make it better so kids feel energized to move after school whether it’s pilates, stretching meditation, trying out new sports, dancing, playing badminton, but trying to make it better.

  1. What’s an important piece of advice that you want to share?

I’ve mentioned H.O.T. before, it’s Humble, Open, and Transparent. If you can live your life that way being humble about who you are and humble about the advice people give you, open about sharing who you are and receiving advice, and transparent in always being you. I think that’s so important because if you’re able to live your true life you’ll be a light for people around you so they can feel like their true selves. Also, resiliency. Being resilient doesn’t mean you just force through hard times. If it’s good or it’s bad, you remain your true self. You can feel emotion, you can feel happy or sad but you are always who you are. Being H.O.T. and resilient no matter good or bad you always remain who you are, and I think people can make a difference that way. Third is to love the people around you. Those would be the pieces of advice I would like to give people. 

  1. What do you like to do in your free time?

I still work out a lot from my college days and I’m trying to be a triathlete, or run a triathlon… I also like to just chill and listen to music. I’m a big chiller. People are like ‘you wanna go out?’, and I’ll go out sometimes, but if I get a chance to just relax, I’ll just chill. 

  1. What is your spirit animal?

It’s changed over the years. I would say an eagle. Like an eagle, they can be in the air and chill and fly and take in the beauty of the world, but if it’s time to go to work they can be vicious… An eagle can go to work and be strong… So they can be peaceful and calm, but also passionate about what they’re doing.