Hi, I'm Todd Volmari and am currently studying Electrical Engineering under a tennis scholarship at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. When deciding what I wanted to do with my life once I had finished year 12, I hit a cross road. Should I continue playing the sport I love, part time (as I would need to work majority of the time to raise sufficient funds to cover the costs of such a demanding sport), or do I chuck it all in and attend full time university in Australia. I also had to think about my future with tennis, what happens if I attain an injury and can't play anymore; what will I have to fall back on? I knew I didn't want to become a coach for the rest of my life. Therefore a choice that really stood out was the American college system which for me sounded too good to be true! Continue playing tennis while still attaining a great degree at the end of the four years.
Going to college in a America wasn't obviously an easy choice to make, there are a lot of things you are leaving behind by getting up and moving to a whole new country. Firstly, your away from your family and friends for substantial amounts of time, then also your leaving everything that is familiar to you and moving somewhere that can be completely different than you have ever known. Though when making the decision the pros far outweighed the cons. I could continue my tennis career part time, mostly in the fall semester where they allow you to travel to tournaments such as futures and money tournaments. Than in the spring semester you play as a team against very high level opponents from other colleges, therefore still improving your game bit by bit. It occurred to me also that the average age of the top 100 ATP at the moment is around 25. At the end of my college experience in the states I will be age 22, therefore still leaving ample time to make it as a top player on the tour. Also, when you think of it it's America you are going to. The home of American pie the movie, Hollywood, New York. All these famous places and people to go and meet during the four years your abroad. I know I'm more preaching to the male readers when I say it is very much like what you see in the movies!
Once I finally did make my way over to LMU in Los Angeles in the spring semester, it was very much like what I had been told from past scholars/tennis players. Everyone I met so was so excited to meet me. "oh my god your from Australia" or "wow, I love your accent" were but a few of the first sentences I heard from varies people in my first encounter with them. My social life sky rocketed in the first month of being there, random people coming up to me just to hear me speak was mind boggling. It wasn't just the social life that was great as well. The tennis training and playing was at a high level every day, and the coaches push you and are there 24/7, but in the end it's how hard I pushed myself which got the results I wanted. The education side was also very important for me. I had to be sure it was going to provide what I needed, as I stated before I'm doing an electrical engineering degree which in all honesty is not easy by itself let alone it being accompanied by tennis commitments. Though because I was a tennis scholarship holder the staff and teachers worked tirelessly to make sure I was taken care of. If I was away from class due to a tennis match, each teacher would make sure that they emailed me what I had missed. It was a communication that had to work both ways, if I kept them in the loop of what was happening with tennis they made sure I was also covered education wise as well. Though my writing so far has been quite positive about college tennis, it does have some negatives. At least for me sometimes it did get very tough to balance the work load of classes, homework, exams, tests, as well as travel and training for tennis, and then also the social life. I got to a point where I did get caught up the glamour of American college life. It took me at least the first month to realize that I had to knuckle down and focus more on my scheduling skills, to make sure I could cover all my commitments to at least a satisfactory level. I wasn't there just to succeed at tennis but also succeed in the education side of things as well. Then also leave enough time for free time, to go explore the great city of Los Angeles, or meet new people or relax with friends and go to parties. Therefore for next semester I have to hit the ground running per say, with both education and tennis as a whole.
So far for me college tennis has been a great stepping stone in my life, I've been able to experience life away from home, meet new people, see new people, live the admired college life and I've only been there a semester and I can't wait to go back in August.