Laura Smith, B. Sc (Biology) / Tennis
College: University of Charleston, Degree: Bachelor of Science, Major: Biology, Sport: Women's Tennis
What were some of the highlights of your time in the US?
Attending university in another country provided many opportunities to meet with people from all over the world which in turn lead to numerous memorable experiences. A definite highlight of the college experience was two conference championship seasons, along with NCAA tournament appearances all three years I attended the school. In addition to the team's success on the court, we were able to grow into life long friends off of the court. The culture behind being a student athlete makes it easy to meet other student athletes and also provides vast opportunities to travel both with the team and with friends.
Describe a typical day in your life as a student/athletic.
Typically you were able to schedule your classes around your personal preferences. For me I would generally have class from roughly 9am to 2pm, and then on court training from 4pm to 6pm. The reason I was in class for such long periods is that I choose to speed up my degree, and was able to graduate 6 months earlier than expected. During the off season, coach would also have us in the gym three mornings a week for extra cardio and weight sessions. Although it sounds like a hectic schedule it was easy to find times in the evening and on weekends to complete school work and socialise.
How did you balance your studies, sport and your spare time?
As a student athlete time management was the key to success. Although, I found it quite easy to juggle the tasks at it was usually quite regimented each semester. Once you get used to your class schedule and tennis related activities, it becomes second nature to make spare time. I would approach the week as kind of a work week; Generally I would like to focus on school and tennis regime from 9am to 5pm leaving the evenings and weekends free for other activities.
What would you say to a high school student considering a US Scholarship?
The ability to earn your degree while playing a sport that you love can not be found elsewhere in the world and for that reason I would highly recommend taking advantage of the opportunity provided by the US college system. I found it to be highly rewarding in every sense including academics, sports, and socially. Although you are a long way from home, your team becomes your family. Furthermore you meet people from around the globe which in turn provides more opportunities to travel to their countries and for them to travel to yours.
What are you up to now?
Since graduating in December of 2012 I have worked in a medical device company in Sydney, Australia, and have gone on to complete my Masters of Business Administration in Atlanta, GA, in May of 2014. I have been traveling for a month or so since graduation and have recently relocated to Troy, MI in pursuit of starting my career.