07 Dec My College Experience
Written by Ellen Chambers
My US college experience was nothing short of life-changing and if given the opportunity, I’d re-live it ten times over. Looking back, I can offer the following reflections on what I gained from my experience as a student-athlete on the golf team at Lynn University.
Family and a Home Away from Home
As cliché as it is to say, I gained a second family in college. From the moment I stepped foot on campus, I was surrounded by a community of people that had my best interests at heart – teammates, coaches, professors, classmates and countless other university staff. It didn’t take long for these people to become friends, and not much longer for them to feel like family. I had a true home away from home on my college campus and a network of people to help me through any challenge I encountered. The families of my teammates and friends welcomed me into their homes for holidays, celebrations or just a simple home-cooked meal on a Sunday night. Although I was far from home, it never felt like family was far away.
College is synonymous with being out of your comfort zone. You arrive in a new country, study within a new education system, and are required to adapt to different ways of doing things. However, it was in overcoming challenges and navigating through uncertain situations that instilled a newfound sense of confidence in me. I learnt that I could thrive on my own, that the things which scared me all of a sudden didn’t, and that I could make friends anywhere I go. It’s these less tangible aspects – the personal growth and development – that have had the biggest impact on my life and still continue to benefit me today.
Academic Support and Mentorship
Being a student-athlete in college afforded me every opportunity for academic success. It was quite challenging at times to balance study and sport, especially in peak tournament season, but the flexibility and understanding of my professors was incredible. They genuinely wanted to see me succeed and were always accommodating when I had to miss class due to a golf tournament. Small class sizes also meant every professor knew me personally, which proved so valuable in gaining internships, as well as opportunities after college. With passion and hard work, my professors became my biggest advocates and to this day remain my greatest mentors.
Golf is an inherently individual sport and provided limited opportunities growing up to be part of a team. College was the first time I experienced what it was like to play for something greater than myself. The highlight, no doubt, was winning two National Championships with my team. To compete for something of this magnitude was truly special and the opportunity to be a student-athlete in college was never lost on us. Before we started any tournament round, we would gather as a team on the first tee where our coach would say to us: “ladies, you have the opportunity to go out and accomplish something remarkable today.” This, to me, is what college is all about. It’s not just the opportunity you are given, but what you choose to do with it.
Ellen is a Talent Coordinator at Study and Play USA. So, if you have any questions, feel free to send Ellen an email here