As off season has started, my days here in Austin have changed a lot. We went from practicing every day to only having captain’s practices, which is basically just hitting on your own if you feel like it. After experiencing an end to our fall season that nobody was really hoping for, it was tough to transition into a more quiet life for the last month. I have been playing a bunch of tennis still, just hitting with some of the guys, and I feel okay. I have spent most of my off season trying to get in shape, starting with my hips. I have been going to a special kind of therapy called aquastretch, which is a form of therapy under water. The water makes your body able to move in ways that are not possible above water. This means that my hips could get into stretches that have been helping me with my mobility. I have been gaining some movement in my hips, and at this point I’ll take any kind of progress. I still feel very limited on the court, which is frustrating, but I am used to it. Hopefully this will help. 

The rest of my time is mostly spent in the gym. Since we are in our off-season and don’t play as much, we have time to work on whatever we want to work on, which is getting stronger in my case. I was at a good physical level in my last year, but I kinda let that slip so it was time to start getting after it again. Most of my workout routines are based around my hip strength, so I am hoping to gain some progress in the gym as well. 

Since ITA’s, which I wrote about in my last blog episode, my life as a student has changed too. I took some classes online, which were all compressed classes. This means that these classes are compressed into half a semester instead of taking a full semester. Although this was a lot of work for the first half of the semester, I only have three classes left now. At this point I have so much free time that it is even harder not to forget to do my assignments. Also, I recently found out that I will be graduating in May 2020 for sure. It was a matter of some credit hours that I lost, but we petitioned them and got some of them back. I am taking 18 credit hours this semester and 18 next semester, to be able to finish in time, which is great news. Now I can start thinking about what I am gonna do next year.

This free time has given me a lot of space to work on what I need to work on. Besides some work for Slamstox, I have been actively applying for internships and grad schools for after my graduation in May. I am trying to find a way to stay here over the summer, which means I have to find an internship. The general applications are difficult to get through as an international student, so I started reaching out to anyone who could help me and I am finally seeing some movement. Applying for grad school is a whole other issue. I have good grades, so I am not worried about not finding a school that will accept me, I am more worried about the funding. I am gonna have to find either an assistant coaching position or another graduate assistant position within a school, which will help me cover tuition costs. This is difficult as well, but I hope we will get somewhere soon. To be continued… 

Life is good here in Austin. Great people, great environment, and (compared to the Netherlands) good weather. Besides the hard work, I am enjoying my time and cannot complain. It is a very different life than the last three years of my college career, as D3 has less practice hours in the fall, which gives me a whole lot of free time. Also, Halloween happened, which is a big thing in the U.S., and it was great. We had some costume parties with the team and we went to Texas A&M, a really big college nearby my university. We were also able to plan a trip to Six Flags for Halloween fright night. I thought I’d get bored having so much time off, but I am not complaining. It is probably good for my hips to take it a little easy, and it certainly gives me time to explore this new part of The States!