U.S. Merchant Marine Academy's Kyle Arestivo is not your typical college athlete.
Arestivo doesn't just juggle soccer and studying, but also all the regimental duties of being a midshipman. Arestivo said he makes every effort to achieve high standards in all that he does.
The senior's determination has paid off. Arestivo recently received the prestigious NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship, becoming the first USMMA player in any sport to be so honored, according to the school.
"I don't know how he does it, but I do know he does it on very little sleep," said Arestivo's mother, Audra, who added that her son is the hardest worker she knows.
"I never pride myself on being the most naturally smart person, but I do believe that if you work hard and want something bad enough, you can go get it no matter what it is," Arestivo said.
Michael Ales, USMMA's faculty athletics representative, nominated Arestivo for the scholarship through soccer coach Michael Smolens' recommendation.
"He really is a terrific leader," Smolens said. "He tries to make others better; he doesn't just worry about himself but he worries about those around him, which is really special."
Arestivo was a two-year captain and four-year starter. The midfielder has earned numerous honors, including being named the Landmark Men's Soccer Senior Scholar Athlete and being a three-year member of the National Soccer Coaches Association of America All-Mid Atlantic Region team.
Soccer isn't Arestivo's only focus. "I apply myself in everything I do, not just soccer or school," he said. "I think both of them can complement one another in the development of a person."
Arestivo has maintained a 3.66 GPA while earning his bachelor's degree in marine engineering systems. His course loads are heavy, too. By the time he graduates, he said he will have 175 credits.
Self-discipline and focus help Arestivo balance his time with everything he has going on in his life.
"Most people say they'll study for three hours, but what time are they actually studying for? If you actually sit down and study for an hour and a half, you can get done what people get done in three hours without any distractions," Arestivo said. "Just cut off the slack in anything you're doing."
Arestivo said he is committed to his five-year service requirement to the United States. He plans to use his scholarship money toward a part-time postgraduate degree as he continues his education around his service. His goal is to obtain his master's degree by the time he finishes his commitment.
The NCAA awards up to 174 postgraduate scholarships of $7,500 annually. The NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship funds tuition payments for full-time or part-time graduate students.
Arestivo hopes to be an example for athletes at USMMA and urges those who are qualified to apply for the scholarship, "I'm the lucky one to receive this award, there are a ton of people here who deserve this and I'm honored to represent them and my school."