College tennis has played a huge role in getting me to where I am today, but it was far from the best years of my life. During my freshman year I heard these two phrases a lot: These are the four best years of your life, and, you don’t want to leave with any regrets.
I came into UCLA in September of 2008 as a top-ranked recruit and transferred during my senior year. Entering college, I thought transfer was an ugly word that meant failure and disloyalty. But to be perfectly frank, I also, incorrectly, thought playing college tennis itself was a failure.
I had grown up assuming I would become a professional player. Everything I did from early childhood was targeted toward that one goal, and when that didn’t go as planned, I arrived at UCLA with a chip on my shoulder and never really shook it off. There were still some great friendships and epic memories like coming back from a set and 5-3 down to send the Bruins to the Sweet 16 my freshman year, winning the invitational title in Ojai my sophomore year and being a part of our Final Four run my junior year, to name a few.
But by the end of my junior year, the reality was that UCLA and I just didn’t fit right. The school staff supported my desire to graduate early, and made the transfer process as smooth as possible. After years of stumbling, smoothness was a welcome relief. Armed with a Bachelor’s Degree in English, I headed to the University of Missouri for its journalism graduate school in January 2012.