In high school, sports were my preferred method of de-stressing. I played both varsity tennis and golf, and when I wasn’t in season I could be found playing both with my friends or family in preparation for the next season. As all high school athletes know, sports seasons are a great way to get exercise, hang out with your friends, and engage in healthy competition. Playing the sports I love with some of my best friends is something that I honestly miss about high school.
Last year, I wasn’t able to play tennis or golf as much as I wanted to. It’s not that I didn’t have the time to play, it’s that I always ended up doing other things, whether staying in and watching a Netflix episode in between assignments or going to the gym to refocus.
This summer, though, I got back into a rhythm of regularly playing tennis and golf. After a long day at work, you could find me on the driving range refining my golf game, hitting tennis balls, or playing nine holes as the sun was setting. As I played, I realized that I wanted to continue trying to play both sports during the school year. Though I knew that I didn’t have the time to join a committed club team, I promised myself that I’d make an effort to play either tennis or golf at least once a week.
So far I’ve been able to stick to my goal! I’ve had a blast playing both tennis and golf here. USC has tennis courts that are open to all students for most of the day and are super close to my apartment. My friend Max and I will often go at night to take a break from studying. We spend time hitting around and serving for a while, then play one or two sets. It gets pretty competitive (especially on days when we’re both serving well), and is not only a great way to exercise, but an awesome opportunity for me to talk about life and catch up with one of my closest friends.
Max and I have also been able to go golfing at a few different courses in LA! I didn’t bring my clubs out last year, but when I met someone else who loved golfing and went pretty regularly, I knew that I had to bring them this year. When we play, we make it competitive by playing a match play format. Basically, this means that whoever has the lower score on a hole wins the hole, and you want to win the most holes by the end of the round. We played Harding, one of two courses in Griffith Park, at the beginning of the year. As this was my first time golfing in LA, it took me a few holes to get used to the conditions, but after that I played a decent round, and enjoyed being outside on a beautiful afternoon.
Just last week we went to play Rancho Park, one of the city’s busiest courses. After spending some time hitting on the range, we were able to play the front nine and a few holes on the back before the sun went down. I played a great round (and as most people know, competing tends to be more fun when you’re doing well), but the highlight was definitely the meal we got after. My favorite restaurant in LA is just around the corner, so we treated ourselves to delicious burgers and pie after an afternoon on the course.
I know that I’ll continue to make time to play golf and tennis because they’ve allowed me to be active and have a lot of fun. The moral of the story: in college you can do the things you love, whether that’s playing sports, painting, playing video games, or any other hobby you may have. It’s all about prioritizing your time. By managing your time, and setting aside a couple hours every week to pursue your de-stressing activity of choice, you’ll find that you’re healthier and happier. So don’t think that going to college means giving up the passions you had in high school. Instead, view college as a way to continue doing what you love, and even more.