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Ryan Kim packs his volleyball — and smarts — all for MIT

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Ryan Kim’s early days at Bronx Science were rather forgettable, to say the least.

Making the long daily trip in from Bayside was tough enough. But when Kim was introduced to Science’s legendary workload, it was a bit overwhelming at first.

“I went to a pretty easy middle school in Queens, and so it was kind of a tough transition,” Kim said. “My first few months of my freshman year, I had a terrible time. But then volleyball came along and that definitely made things a lot easier.”

At first, volleyball was more an outlet from school pressures than anything else.

“One of the main reasons I stayed with volleyball was because it was a stress reliever,” Kim said. “But then it eventually became purely fun to me.”

But not for the Wolverines’ opponents. Kim became an integral part of a Bronx Science volleyball program that posted a 28-2 regular-season mark over the past three years, won three straight Bronx A Division titles, and this past season saw the Wolverines reach the quarterfinals of the Public School Athletic League playoffs — the furthest the program had ever gone.

It also carved out a nice niche in Kim’s high school experience.

“Volleyball is up there as some of the best moments of my high school career,” Kim said. “The first two years I played I was on the bench, but practicing with the team and being with the team, it was a fun journey. Plus seeing how much everyone had grown and all the fun we all had outside of volleyball, that will definitely stick with me.”

Kim described his coach, Dan Skilins, as a “strange and very unique guy,” but also one he will really miss.

Kim remembers a meeting with future teammate Jake Goldsmith in freshman year that helped mold the Wolverines into the success story they would become.

“I was in the same Spanish class as Jake, and we just clicked right away,” Kim said. “Then I convinced him to join volleyball in sophomore year, and that’s how we got to where we did. If he didn’t join, I’m not sure we would have gone as far as we did. And that friendship will be there for a lifetime.”

Now Kim will head north to New England for college in late August when he enrolls in the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

“I loved MIT because its academics are really up there and I feel it’s a perfect fit for me in terms of academics and workload,” Kim said. “It’s a lot like how Bronx Science treated me. It’s very similar, so I think it’s going to be a simple transition to the school for me.”

And volleyball will be part of his MIT experience as well.

“I’ve been in contact with the MIT volleyball coach because I plan on playing there,” Kim said. “I’ll be playing with the team in preseason in the fall and we’ll see where it goes from there. That starts in September, so I have to get conditioned before that.”

Kim got a real feel for the school on a trip he made in April.

“I think I’m going to love it up there,” said Kim, who plans to major in applied mathematics and economics. “I’ve been there for four days for orientation, and the people were great and the campus is cool. And they also gave me the most (financial) aid, so you can never complain about something like that.”

Leaving Bronx Science is a mixed bag of emotions for Kim, but the rigors of the school made him a better person.

“It was a bittersweet experience,” Kim said. “All the work and all the stress was pretty tough, but it also taught me a lot about who I am and who I should be in the future. I know Bronx Science prepared me a lot for the future and it was all worth it. But it was a little bittersweet.”

But now Kim is looking forward to the next chapter in his life, one that begins Aug. 20 when he leaves for MIT and a rather interesting introduction to college life.

“I got into this pre-orientation program called the “First-Year Outdoor Program” and there will be 20 of us going kayaking together,” Kim said. “I’m excited for that. I’m just so stoked to go to MIT. It’s less than two months and I can’t wait for it to happen. Can’t wait to get there.”

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