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David Taiclet

Name: David Taiclet

Year: 3rd

Major: International Relations

David is one of those St Andrews faces that tends to be seen at night. Not in a creepy way, I’ll add, but in a very fashionable way, at some restaurant or bar with a small group of very attractive friends. The kind of scenario everyone secretly wants to be in, as we bump and grind our way through a sweaty night at the Lizard. Hence why he is this week’s “Campus Cutie”!

David arrives at Northpoint right on time, with a big smile on his face, keen to start. After ordering his breakfast and hot chocolate, David takes off his elegant black peacoat to reveal a vintage New England Patriots t-shirt— certainly not what I was expecting. As the interview goes on, however, it becomes apparent this is very typical of David, who has found a balanced combination of work and play in his style, business chic and retro casual, and his personality, intensely driven and yet calm.

As he tucks into his breakfast burrito, David explains how he found himself in St Andrews, a very different story than most have. St Andrews is actually his second University. He came here as a first year in 2010, after leaving the United States Military Academy at West Point, having sustained his fifth concussion during a boxing match (the previous four were from his high-school American Football team). When asked if he was upset to leave West Point, he shrugged, “Yea I was upset, but you get dealt a hand in poker and you just deal with it…I’m not going to moan when a lot of people have it worse.”

The hardest part, it seems, besides the reconfiguration of his academic life, was leaving the people he had met behind, “we were all upset. You have your best friends that you work out with everyday, and suddenly you’re missing one….you realize you won’t all be hanging out anymore. We still stay in touch though; they always have my back and I have theirs.” Fortunately for David, unlike others, he had never planned to make the military his career, and was already thinking about working in business after serving.

With high grades, a strong recommendation and drive, David chose to ‘deal’ with the hand he had been dealt, by placing his metaphorical bets on three of the American Ivy Leagues: Harvard, Princeton and Yale. However, as David was applying so late in the year, the schools admission for 2010 had already finished. This meant he would have had to wait an extra year just to get an interview and, “I didn’t want to be a 21 year old freshman—for me, that’s unacceptable. I just want to get going.” It was at Princeton that David first heard of St Andrews, when one of the Professor’s asked if he had applied to other countries. David started to laugh when he remembered his response, “I was just like, ‘what? There are other countries? People go to school outside of the States!?’” As students here, I see how it’s easy to assume that every American actually studies right here in Fife, that’s actually not the case—many people don’t consider studying abroad for the full four years.

David being David, he took the most efficient route towards coming to University in the UK, and looked up the top five in the Guardian League Tables. “Oxbridge admission dates were long past, but St Andrews and—I don’t even remember the other two Unis—were still open for like, five days. So I filled out the applications and applied. A few days later, I had gotten in.” As everything was so last minute David never had time to come over before September, and in fact, came to the UK for the first time ever when he flew in for Fresher’s Week. When I asked him what he thought of St Andrews, he gave a cheeky grin and replied, “It’s not the army—let’s put it that way.” (Special Forces friends of his father’s still tease David about his “princess life in St Andrews”, but I’m sure 9am lectures are better than 6am runs—there’s always a silver lining!)

Having been placed in DRA in his first year (with third year flat mates), David made a conscious decision to go out and meet people. “I literally went to DRA night, walked up to people and said, ‘Hey! I’m Dave!” and I made a lot of friends that way… also in class. My friend Anu and I met because she lived downstairs, and I gave her my jacket during a fire drill; now we’re best friends.” That year he also went out for the University’s fencing team, having been ranked as one of the top 8 club fencers for Saber in the United States before West Point. “I couldn’t play American football anymore with all the head injuries, so I found a non contact sport to do” (until boxing, that is) but quickly turned the majority of his attentions to the Global Investment Group, which he continued through his second year before deciding that he wanted to try his hand at running a real business. Without going into too much detail, David’s business is a technology start up for companies dealing with conversion rates to help them better serve their consumers.

When he’s not studying or running a company, David is either working out at the University gym, “I don’t need to worry about jumping off of roofs anymore, so I’ve toned it down a bit…” or watching Netflix, “Comedies mostly, and for dinner, I like a documentary. Especially if you’re eating by yourself!” Though he’s well grounded, and down to earth, David is also a very goal oriented individual, and so I was pleasantly surprised when he wasn’t totally sure where he wanted to be after University, “Something more along the lines of general management for a big company maybe…at West Point there was a sergeant who always gave us the same line, ‘don’t aim for the 300m target, you’ll miss it. Aim for the 50m, and eventually you’ll get there.’ Obviously you have to keep your eye on the far goal, but you can’t obsess over it.”

David has been in a happy relationship for almost a year with his Romanian girlfriend, Allya. The two met in the summer of 2011 while taking a language class in Paris, “I went up to her after class and said, ‘we’re getting dinner, by the way’ and we did!” As someone who enjoys being in a relationship, David finds the dating scene in St Andrews curious, “it tends to be the American guys who ask women out for dates, not the English or the European, which I just find interesting.” Thankfully he won’t have to worry about dating anyone again for a long time…

Thank you David for your time, and best of luck with your new Technology venture!

Rapid Fire:
Hardest part of being at Uni in Scotland:
Finding a solid sandwich place to eat. Also, understanding men’s fashion, especially after the army. I mean, really? We’re all wearing pink trousers now?

Favorite part of St Andrews:
Rendezvous, definitely. The guys there are so nice. Also my friends…I guess.

Favorite memory:
Seeing the whiskey collection at Luvian’s for the first time!

Favorite place to go for a drink:
40’s, I’m a 40’s guy

Hidden talents:
I can’t share them; they’re not appropriate for a Campus Cutie.

Biggest Fear:
Fear itself…just kidding! Probably not having my blanket and bear when I go to sleep at night… [he was also kidding here…I think]

Little known fact:
Probably the Army story, I don’t really tell that to many people. Also, I love teddy bears…

Quiet night in or wild night out:
Quiet night in, that’s more my style. I don’t necessarily have to stay in though— I suppose I like drinks where you can hear people. Maybe a dinner, then go to 40’s.

**Oh, last thing: David asked for one favor, so here it is (you’re welcome!)
“I love teddy bears and cute animals and long walks on the beach. Can that be the last line? Can we do that?”


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