Every semester I end up saying the same thing. How can something seem so long and yet fly by so fast. Thinking about the beginning of the semester seems ages ago, but me leaving the airport for the start of the semester at my new university seems like a week ago. As a student athlete, you are always busy and whether it is a hectic period or an “easy” period in the semester, you will never be bored. Therefore, even though the semester flies by, I am always ready for a break when the semester is coming to an end.
It has been a big change for me to switch universities and I have gained countless of new experiences. While it was not always easy, I have made myself at home at my new school and, even though I am super excited to be home for a month, it feels weird not being there. The transition did not start easy for me. My new university turned out to be a little more religious and strict than I had anticipated and, than I was used to. It was really not anything major, but I let myself worry about little things for at least a month or two and the only person that I really affected with my negative thinking was me, and I only made it worse for myself.
After a good period of time I started to realize what I did enjoy rather than focusing on whatever bothered me. The tennis team is great and I enjoy my time with the friends I made. It is funny to see how this is now my new team and how I now have a new coach. Whenever I refer to “coach” I still automatically think of the coach at my old school and the same goes for my team. I was scared before coming this semester that my new team would not live up to my old team and that things would simply not be the same. And they aren’t the same, but in a good way.
On top of the transition I started off with a rocky start. Having had my second hip surgery over the summer, I was unsure about when I would even start playing again and I couldn’t help but worry if I would even play again at all. The pain from my surgery carried on for a good while and the recovery process was, and still is, not easy. It is a lot of hard work on top of the already busy schedule of a student athlete. However, going to rehab every day, putting in extra work, and having a goal and mindset like that gave me some sort of purpose and motivation to get through it.
It has always been a question for me where I ended up playing, especially after my surgeries, but I always knew that it would have something to do with tennis. So, the thought of being able to get back to the sport that I love made it rather easy to put in the work. Now, I am not back to my highest level, and I probably never will be. It took some time, but I have reached acceptance of my physical situation and am now happy that it is looking like I will at least get back to playing, no matter at what level.
My first matches back were very rusty. I began the semester by just playing doubles at #3 without really moving. Somehow this went surprisingly well and me and my roommate won almost all of our matches this semester. We also won the B flight in a tournament where almost all of the schools from our conference were present.
I have also been able to play a singles match in the last match of the semester and I was able to pull off a win. I played at number 6 and it was a relatively easy win, but it still felt amazing to be out there again and to leave the court with a W. As a team we have a lot to improve on for next semester. We had some close losses, and some not so close losses, that were unnecessary. It has not been an easy semester but everyone is ready to do better in the spring and continue on the great season the guys had last year.
However, late in the semester, one of our top guys let us know that he was leaving to go back to Australia for his studies. Even though the choice is understandable, this leaves us in a tough spot. We had high hopes for the season, but now we have to deal with the issue that we don’t really have enough guys to compete with the top schools in the conference. This is just another obstacle we have to deal with and play through next semester.
Even though the semester was a lot of fun and I am going to miss my friends, I am ready to be back home for a good month. I will have time to relax, enjoy my time with family and friends, but also to keep working and to get to the highest level I can get to, to be ready for my junior year season!