Aim high, because you never know when things will work out.
That’s the advice 18-year-old Kayla Guyton has for other Oamaru school leavers.
The former St Kevin’s College pupil is a step closer to her dream career as an FBI agent, securing academic and rugby scholarships at Washington State University.
The four-year scholarships cover most of the cost of her degree in criminology and psychology.
Guyton applied for a rugby scholarship after being told about the opportunity by fellow Waitaki Wahine player Emma Leonard, who had played college rugby, and qualified for the academic scholarship after passing NCEA levels 1 and 2 with excellence and 3 with merit.
“I was thinking about going to Victoria [University] in Wellington,” Guyton said.
But everything fell into place quickly after she emailed Washington State University.
“It took me a week to land a scholarship after emailing them.”
While there are some uncertainties because of the Covid-19 pandemic, she is not due to travel to the United States until September so she is hoping it will all still go to plan.
The scholarships will cover most of the costs of her study, but she has been working behind the bar at The Last Post since she left St Kevin’s College last year.
“Because I’m studying for four years and you need to be there for five years before you can apply for citizenship, [my plan is] is to get a job for one more year and then I can apply for citizenship,” she said.
Guyton said she had always wanted to be an FBI agent.
“I’ve always really wanted to . . . help the community out and protect people.
“And I’ve always been obsessed with the cop TV shows, to be honest.
“Since I was [about] 13 I’ve pretty much had my mind set on it.”
From viewing footage of the college rugby games, Guyton said the level of rugby seemed to be somewhere between the Dunedin club competition and the Farah Palmer Cup.
“They have the biggest facilities I have ever seen.
“There is a weights coach, a nutritionist – the team has seven coaches.”
Originally a fullback, Guyton is now a flanker, which is where her coach has told her she will probably play in Washington.
“They get excited when someone from New Zealand comes over,” she said.