It has been nearly five years since I left St Hilda’s as a Year 13 graduate. The memories and opportunities that I have experienced have been life-changing.
In December 2016, I began my American college experience at Gillette College, Wyoming, on a basketball scholarship. I spent a year and a half in Wyoming until I transferred to the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF), a division two University to continue my education while playing on a basketball scholarship. Alaska was one of the most challenging experiences of my life, from living with continuous snow, darkness, and experiencing -40 degree Celsius, it was a shock to the body. I had the opportunity to go white water rafting, four-wheeling, dog mushing, snow shows, snowmobiling, and sledding. I learnt many lessons from the extreme weather in Alaska; don’t walk outside with wet hair in below negative weather and touch it, otherwise your hair will snap off; don’t hold a metal flask with no gloves in winter otherwise your hand will freeze to the cup; and no matter how pretty or warm it looks outside, don’t wear slides and shorts as it is cold out. I was lucky enough to escape the cold and travel away with the UAF women’s basketball team for a whole week every second week during basketball season. I was able to explore British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Alaska, California, Colorado, Texas and Montana. I never thought in my life that I would have the opportunity to travel and explore America while playing the game I love at no cost. Fast forward three years and I returned to New Zealand (March 2020, a couple of months earlier than planned due to Covid-19) and completed my degree online, graduating from The University of Alaska Fairbanks majoring in Business Administration with a concentration in Sport Management. I am continuing my education at Lincoln University, Canterbury, this year, studying for my Masters in Sport and Recreation Management and at the same time, continuing to play basketball on a sports scholarship for the Lincoln University Rams.