Life can be a wonderful journey.
As I reflect back on my years and reminisce, I’m very proud of my journey — one that started just outside of Manchester, England, and has now brought me here to Dallas.
As a child, I taste-tested all the sports before finding my groove in track and field. This sport was a perfect marriage of my strongest athletic traits.
Shorter distances are what I excel at, and implementing hurdles really sparked my passion for running and solidified my love of this sport.
Before long, I was good enough to weigh my options for athletic achievement past high school.
For me, college in the United States was always the goal.
I’ve heard wonderful things about the education system and the competitive level of athletics there, and I knew it was the place for me to be.
The only question I had was — where should I go?
I’m not sure how others feel about it, but the recruiting process was a whirlwind for me.
Lots of calls, messages, and campus visits.
Ultimately, my main options involved a school in California, one in Florida, and SMU.
Obviously, I chose the latter.
When I made my decision, it ultimately came down to picking the place with the best education.
They all had great athletic programs, but I felt like SMU would nurture my academic mind best.
Transitioning from high school to college is hard, and doing so as an international student is even harder.
It’s difficult to prepare for what you don’t understand, and I hit a wall around week six that was tough to overcome.
Those first few weeks were more like a “honeymoon” phase.
I was getting to understand the campus, my classes, and the workload — it didn’t seem too bad.
But around that week-six mark, school work and athletic demand reached a boiling point and spilled over into a stressful situation.
If it wasn’t for the community here in Dallas, I’m not sure I would’ve made it.
I had a great group of teammates and classmates who could relate to my situation.
International students who understood how homesick one could be when living abroad.
Upperclassmen who remember the struggles of adjusting to college life and have mastered the balancing act.
And faculty who were always helpful and flexible, knowing we all have different backgrounds and challenges.
Thanks to the people of SMU, I eventually got my footing and was able to find my path forward.
The path may have been clear, but the road wasn’t easy.
During my freshman year, the world was dealing with Covid, and that altered not just my collegiate experience but life as we know it.
It was tough to adjust, but I feel like I made the most out of a difficult situation.
Unable to interact with many, I bonded with the community around me.
I felt like we all got closer together since we couldn’t travel outside.
The isolation was tough, but it gave us new friends and a shared experience, even if that experience was a difficult one to go through.
The bad times strengthen us for the good times.
Now that things are improving, I have so many more friends here, and we can move forward in this new normal together.
Injuries have plagued me throughout my collegiate career, too.
I had a fracture in my foot freshman year, re-fractured it in my sophomore year, and now in my junior year, I still feel discomfort.
It’s frustrating, for sure — feeling like you can’t give your all and constantly take one step forward and two steps back.
But I continue pushing through, trying to get back to full health.
I know I have so much more to give to the sport and the university, and I think this is the year I’ll be able to finally show it.
Going through those injuries and experiencing life here at SMU gave me time to grow and think.
Ponder what life will be like outside of these walls, and I’ve realized that the mental aspect of the game matters just as much as the physical —arguably even more.
It may sound cheesy or cliche, but we are more than athletes, and understanding the person helps maximize one’s potential.
That’s why I’m pursuing my degree in sports management and psychology. I want to delve into sports psychology and help athletes be the best version of themselves.
So many have helped me do the same, and being able to do that for countless others excites me.
I still have time left and work to do.
The main focus of my remaining years is to keep my grades up and stay healthy.
I just want a season where I’m 100% and able to really demonstrate what I’m capable of.
I’ve gotten so much from my experience at SMU, and a season where I can tear it up on the track would be the best way for me to give thanks to Dallas for all it’s done for me.
I’m so proud of my journey from the UK to Texas, and although I have a lot more road to cover, I’m already pleased with how far I’ve come.