For as long as I can remember, golf has always been in the picture. Before I learned how to walk or talk, I was immersed in the golfing environment, traveling with my parents to golf events and participating in them as a toddler.
Golf has always been the common denominator in my family, we play together, talk about it, and watch it. That it why when it came down to me and my brother leaving Venezuela to play golf in the US it came as no surprise.
In Venezuela you cannot play a sport and be a regular student. You have to figure out a way to do both, and it isn’t easy. So when it came down to me choosing if I wanted to stick with the sport and possibly make a career out of it, or just become a normal college student, I realized that this was the right time to start looking on whether I had any other possible options.
I was pretty lucky as I did not have to go through the process completely uninformed. My brother had gone through it ten years before and I had a vague idea of what I should be doing.
I began to prioritize English and golf even more. I did research on what documents and exams I needed to take, while at the same time I kept playing golf and going to high school. This was no easy task, but in the end, it was gratifying.
I graduated high school in June of 2012 and had the option of going to England to further my studies of the English language for four months in order to get ready to start the school in the US in Fall 2012. Or so I thought.
I ended opting out of school for that year for the simple fact that I was not ready golf-wise or academically. After completing my English course, I decided to go to Chile for six months to compete in their amateur tour.
When I finally went back home in February 2013, I decided to go study at California University of Pennsylvania, a small NCAA school with a proven record of attending several NCAA championships and great academic curriculum.
As a student-athlete my day consisted of going to class early in the morning, followed by a three-hour practice, and later by team workouts. It was hard at the beginning, but I got used to it. I am grateful to my coach as she put me in a unique situation of having a team filled with international students.
I appreciate the opportunities that I got from college, as I was able to compete in several NCAA championships, so the fact that I got a degree was just the icing on the cake.
Being a student-athlete is time-consuming, and comes with lots of sacrifices not only from the player but also from the family, however, if I had the opportunity of repeat the whole process again I will definitely do it all over again.