Special Feature

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The Student Recreation and Wellness Center (SRWC) was excited to bring back the first in-person Owen’s Condition for Tuition (OCFT) celebration since spring 2019. While the scholarship challenge continued throughout the pandemic with virtual celebrations, it wasn’t the same without the energy of everyone coming together for the excitement and grand prize reveal. The 2022 recipient of the semester of free tuition was third-year, kinesiology-exercise science major, Kolton Fernandez.

“I was actually in the middle of getting a drawing done with my friends when they began reading the numbers at the OCFT event. I immediately popped up and ran to the front stage,” Fernandez said. “I was honestly shocked. I wasn't expecting to win so truthfully my first thoughts were, ‘Wow, I really hope I didn't mishear those numbers.’ Then, my second thought was ‘wow, this is crazy.’"

As an exercise science major, Kolton is working towards pursuing a career in physical therapy. Fernandez said, “It honestly could not have come at a better time. Next semester is actually my last semester at CSULB and then I graduate and go on to a doctorate of physical therapy program, so being able to save more money is amazing and truly a blessing.”

He heard about OCFT during his freshmen year and after asking one of the staff at the front desk about the program he started participating. “I have always enjoyed going to the gym and when I saw the OCFT competition, I knew I could go at least 50 times,” Fernandez said. As students with busy class schedules, it can be hard to balance time for recreation activities, but Kolton enjoyed spending time at the SRWC and was even one of the early risers who would work out with friends at 6 a.m. “I would usually go again later in the day to either play basketball or sand volleyball,” Fernandez said.

The Owen’s Condition for Tuition Scholarship was designed to inspire students to prioritize their wellness, encourage them to try something new and build healthy habits. There are many benefits students gain from participating in the program and Fernandez realized this right away. He said, “I loved the fact that it added motivation, not just for me, but for others too. The rec is actively motivating individuals to go to the gym and make positive changes in their lives.” Kolton hopes to improve his flexibility, so he plans to step out of his comfort zone and try yoga at the SRWC.

As a regular participant of the OCFT program, and now the 2022 tuition winner, Kolton has some great advice for students who are new to the challenge for the next school year. “Try to find a workout that you are passionate about. Anything from running, to weightlifting, to yoga, etc. Just getting your body moving each day is extremely beneficial and gets you closer to winning OCFT,” Fernandez said. “I think the biggest advice I can give is to not think of going to gym as something you have to do, but rather something you can do. That little mindset shift in wording makes the habit of working out so much easier and also having the chance to win a scholarship is pretty amazing also.”

With a love for health and fitness, and a passion for inspiring others to live a healthy lifestyle, he encourages any students who see him in person to reach out and say hello, or find him on Instagram @kolton_fernandez.

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