It’s been a reflective time for me and in the next couple of weeks, freshmen from all across the world prepare themselves for what may appear to be a daunting experience entering college, but they have, in my personal opinion, the greatest four years of their entire lives ahead of them. See here’s the thing with college (university for my U.K friends), it grants you the opportunity to meet some of the most inspirational people in the world, travel to places that you could only dream of, and have a really bloody good time doing it, no screw that, an absolutely amazing time! You may not think or know it at first, but you will eventually. The people you meet, the experiences you have with them are what make the memories, both good and bad, and one thing for sure is everything seems like a chore at times, just another day at ‘the office’ with early morning workouts, classes and practice, but my goodness does it go quick. Cherish it, like your monthly salary, like sand through your fingers, it goes in a heartbeat, trust me, please.
I was incredibly lucky, I had 4 years at a school where we effectively had a silver spoon in our mouths. I joined a program that has the best rotation of golf courses in the nation. (the U.S that is). I challenge any school to tell me different. Olympic Club, Lake Merced, San Francisco Club, Meadow Club, Spyglass Hill, Cypress Point, Sonoma Country Club, Presidio Golf Club etc. I rest my case. Forgive me, this isn’t to sound arrogant, this is just pure matter of fact, the University of San Francisco offers some of, if not the best rotations of golf clubs in the whole of the United States and do I miss it? Damn bloody right I do. There isn’t a day goes by where I wish I could hit rewind, go all the way back to my freshman year and the first day of school (which by the way was about two weeks late into the semester, but best not dive into that) but you get the picture. Internally, I was absolutely terrified, I’d flown out from England on my own, leaving at the time my family and long-term girlfriend behind. I was confident with my golf, I mean hell, I was an England International, nobody was going to tell me differently, I was going to walk into the locker room swagger on thinking I was the next big thing. Academically, well, that was a continual work in progress, not that I wasn’t smart, I was just lazy. It certainly took me a while to grasp the U.S schooling system but we got there in the end and I got out of study hall baby! But on the course, my ego was quickly put in check as I met my family, and over the next 12 months, they put me in my place, coaches included, not that I didn’t like to keep them on their toes, however. But each year, we continued to build our family, even after graduation, you still remain a part of it and it just continues to grow. Weird concept to those that have never experienced it, but to those that have, as frustrating as some of those days may have been with fellow teammates, we’d take it all back to have those college experiences again. The family, the team house comradery, the beer boots, late-night jack in the box visits and all of the other memories that went along with the experience, it just makes me smile thinking about it now. I loved travelling as a team, you knew each event was going to be fun, receiving a bunch of swag, great courses, new cities, the early morning airport calls, some guys still wobbly from the night before, some still fast asleep as we’re sitting in the taxi waiting to leave for the airport, just makes me chuckle now thinking of it, but maybe not so at the time.
My point is I guess, that whether you’re starting college or currently going through it is to enjoy every single second of it. Time flies. Plain and simple. Graduation on your first day of school may seem a long long way away, but it quickly approaches you like a random drug test (if you’re an athlete that is). But even after graduation, hopefully, you’ve taken enough snaps along the way to look back and reminisce, it sure goes in a heartbeat. I was lucky. I gained a lot of friends along the way, I also learned a lot of life lessons, some nice, some not so nice. It’s part of the spectrum and venturing through the jungle, ultimately having to find our way. But to be honest, the hardest part of college for me was having to return home, back to your home country with an expired visa in hand desperately trying to figure out how to get back. I had a degree, I’d spent 5 years combined with school and work in the U.S on cloud 9, thinking that I had all my ducks in a line, life was so sweet and I was set, not so much. I will say best of luck on that journey when you get to it. But if I can offer any advice, plan ahead, well ahead, because senior year is too late and returning home isn’t as good as your memories or photo albums will recall, college and America is an experience of a lifetime, and as Billy Maddison quotes “Stay here, as long as you can, for the love of God, you’ve got to cherish it, cherish it!” If you haven’t seen Billy Maddison, you’re missing out big time, go watch it!
But as I sit here, rambling to you, wine inclusive as to whether or not you are going to or whether or not you should consider going to the U.S for College (University), I’d say unless you were dropped on your head at birth, you’d be ridiculous not to try it or at least seriously consider it. Sure it’s expensive, scholarship or not, although I highly, highly, recommend working your butt off for one, because in the grand scheme of things, you’re creating vast global opportunities for you to change your life for the better. I do speak in a bias of USF because obviously, I went there. Sure, I wish we had a ‘football’ team, that would have enhanced things slightly but that’s what makes USF, USF. We are a small but mighty school and a school to be reconned with, and as sure as eggs are eggs, living in the best city in the world, people, whether athletes or not, are going to ask you what it’s like to attend a school that sits in the heart of the San Francisco.
Want to know the answer?
It’s a huge smile and a double fist pump of absolutely f**king awesomeness! Cherish it my friend.
Until next time,