Life of A Student-Athlete – University of California, Berkeley

Hi, I’m Maddie, I go to St Columba’s which
is in Kilmacolm. The teams I have played for are, my school team, I’ve played for them since like, Junior school. Then I played for my district team,
club team, which was Kelburn, and also I played Scotland U16, U18, and now I’m in the U21
squad as well. I wanted to go to the States because, I kind
of wanted like a new experience, and it was different from, like, going to uni here. I
had just heard, like, really good things about it, especially from FirstPoint so, they kind
of just managed to convince me to go. And then, when I went over and, like, saw different
unis I was really excited to go – so that definitely swayed me, and made me want to
go. My family were quite excited, they wanted
me to go away as well, especially to somewhere like California, they were quite excited to
come out and visit me as well, and they’ve already been out which is nice. My brother’s
away as well so, they were just pretty happy to see me go – I mean, they were sad as well
but, yeah, pretty happy. I chose Cal Berkeley because, I went on an
official visit there and the girls there were so nice. I spent a whole weekend there, and
there was a big game day, went to an American football match, and it was literally so much
fun. And like, the facilities and stuff, were just literally, crazy. It just really swayed
me, and made me want to go. It was really nice because it was always sunny,
so it made it, it made my day a lot better. The whole campus and facilities are, like,
amazing – compared to anything here, they’re, just everything is just so much bigger and
better. Athletes over there are just treated like professionals so it just makes you feel
really good that everyone’s like, looking after you and stuff – so it’s nice. I think to be honest, America’s like, not too different from the UK. There’s obviously
a few things, but I found it quite easy because I knew the girls before I went out there.
And they all helped me, like, get to know them, and it made it so much easier just to,
like, settle myself in there – so, all the girls are really nice, as I’ve said, so it
was really good. For the first semester, it was pretty difficult,
because for me, there’s only four schools that play hockey on the West Coast, so every
second weekend, we were doing like six hour flights across to the East Coast so I went
to, like, Boston twice, went to Connecticut, I went to Massachusetts, so it was, like,
really difficult because it meant I was missing, like, a lot of class but, luckily I took quite
easy classes this semester. Just so, like, it was easy to settle in, which made it a lot easier. Like, for example, I took one class, ‘How to Solve a Rubik’s Cube’ so, that was really interesting. But yeah, it was pretty difficult, but if you stay on top of your work, it’s not too bad. My highlight would probably be, one of our
games against Stanford, because they’re our big rival and we managed to, like, smash them.
I think it was like 4-1 was the score, or 4-2. It was at, like, our home pitch and we
had a big crowd there, and it was, like, literally just so much fun. It was like the first time
playing them, and we all just got really hyped up, and winning just, like, made it so much
better – so that was really fun. So for me, I train in the mornings. So, I
either have hockey training, or fitness and weights. And that usually ends at, like, 11:00,
and my classes always start at 11:00, and probably go on until, like, 2:00 or 3:00 – and
then, in the evenings, that’s when I have time to myself. So, I can do homework or,
can do stuff with the girls, and can kind of chill out which is nice. The social life’s pretty good so far. The frat parties are really different to back
here, but they’re actually really fun, and it’s literally like, exactly how it is in the movies – no
joke. They’re really fun, and usually we go to them, like, once a week which is nice.
And, my suite mate, she’s in a sorority, so we usually go with her to the frat parties
which is really fun – so, it’s good. My advice for people going to the States would
probably be, to choose somewhere where they can see themselves going. So, like, I really
liked San Francisco, and it’s really close to my university, and being in a place where
I can go and do lots of things is really nice, instead of, like, just being stuck on campus.
The campus itself is amazing, so make sure, definitely, you make sure you go and see your
university before you go, or at least you know a lot about it. And also, I had my season in first semester so, if you are going out there, maybe try and take a bit easier classes
if you can, especially for your first semester, just so it’s easy to settle in.

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