Dusan Vuksanovic '10
Growing up in Belgrade, Serbia, Dusan Vuksanovic learned to trust his instincts. “Put it to you this way: neither I nor my house moved an inch in years but during that time I’ve managed to live in four different countries,” he says.
Serbia—The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia then—was experiencing some dark times during Dusan’s childhood years. The country was falling apart because of civil war, hyperinflation, and conflicts with the U.N. In 1999, Vuksanovic experienced the NATO bombing campaign first-hand. “My family and I lived in a bomb shelter for about two months,” he says. “It made history unavoidable for me because it was happening right in front of me throughout my upbringing.” His childhood experience led him to consider studying history in college, as did a family that tended to science. “Everyone else in my family—with the exception of my grandfather—pursued pharmaceutics or engineering, so I was really drawn to the other side of things,” Dusan says.
Although the history seed was planted for the future Make a Difference Scholar, it would have to compete with Dusan’s unwavering love for sports. “I’ve always been interested in the thrill and demands of competition, but also with all of the behind-the-scenes aspects of the industry,” he says.
As an aspiring athlete, Dusan was influenced by his cousin who attended the University of Southern California on a water polo scholarship. When a classmate suggested that he apply for an athletic scholarship that would have him studying in America, Dusan—after a quick chin scratch—went for it, hoping to follow in the footsteps of his relative. “I’ve found that with big decisions—such as choosing a college—I tend to be pretty impulsive,” says Dusan.
Dusan felt—in one sense—sufficiently prepared for the trip overseas, as he has been learning English since he was six years-old in part by watching American cartoons. However, he realized that American standards for athletics were considerably higher than he anticipated. Even though his stats may not have landed him a big-time scholarship, “D”—as he’s often called—knew that it wasn’t the end of the road.
After being accepted to GMC, Dusan transitioned to the spectator’s role, but not, by any means, the average spectator. In the future, Dusan would like to work as a “sports analyst or historian” and seems to be well on his way. Over the past few years, Dusan has covered sporting events during his time as editor of the Mountaineer, interned for FOX sports in Serbia (where he interviewed one of his favorite athletes), and has focused his history seminar project on the relationship between sports and Serbian nationalism.
Few students manage to incorporate their lifelong dreams into their college careers. When asked what his secret is, Dusan replies, “You know, it’s good fun to be involved. Why not do it?”
Indeed, “Why not?” has been Dusan’s prevailing attitude as he continues to turn his long-time aspirations into fun stories and—in a fashion similar to the athletes he has long admired—satisfying triumphs that began from an undeniable impulse to simply go for it.
By Chad Skiles '12