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My second semester here at UH Hilo has been going really well so far. After a summer/winter (depending who you ask) back home in NZ to earn so much needed cash and spend some quality family time, I'm back here on the Big Island for another semester of adventures!
This semester is very different from my first one for a number of reasons;
1) I am now living off campus in a house with two of the volleyball girls and two girls on the soccer team instead of in the dorms. This has been a big adjustment having to cook, clean and pack lunches. It's time consuming trying to fit all of this in as well as tennis, volleyball and 6 classes, but after a few weeks of Skyping mum at dinner time so she can talk me through how to make an omelette, I am getting the hang of being a real grown up and am having so much fun flatting with some great friends!
2) Its volleyball season! Being a dual athlete, I didn't train with the volleyball team much last semester because I was busy with tennis season but now that its fall, volleyball training has been really intense, a lot more so than I am used to in New Zealand (I have countless bruises to prove it!) but also really rewarding! Just in these first few weeks I have improved my skills so much and my coach has been happy with my progress- While my coach and I have talked about red shirting this season (not playing any matches so I keep my 4 years of eligibility to play), I am well on the way to being a valuable member of the team and am confident that I will play some great volleyball for the UHH Vulcans in the next four years. This also opens up the possibility of staying here for an extra year after my tennis eligibility is over. We had our first two home games last week. We had two victories over Hawaii Pacific University and Chaminade University, on both occasions the team played well and the gym was packed with supporters. Experiencing my first two college volleyball games, even if it was from the bench, in such a positive way has made me so excited to be a part of Vulcans Volleyball!
3) We have a new tennis coach. Unfortunately our tennis coach left at the end of last semester to complete his masters degree in Texas so we had a new coach assigned just last week. Our new coach Carlos Quijano who is Brazilian and an Alumni of the team and seems like he will be a really great coach both on and off the court. Even though this semester is the off season for tennis, Carlos is keen to get our team in prime shape for the season in the fall so my training load between tennis and volleyball is a lot to handle at the moment but Carlos and his assistant Coach Tom Greer-Smith have been helpful in making sure I manage my time well with my classes, as well as eat and sleep really well to ensure I have enough energy for volleyball, tennis, conditioning as well as classes and homework, I feel very supported!
Somehow, along with all of these changes, I have still been able to fit in time to spend with friends enjoying the amazing things the Big Island has to offer. Some highlight adventures of this semester were my birthday, when my good friend from high school decided to take a spontaneous detour from her backpacking trip around America to come and visit me and we went with a bunch of my friends to my favourite spot on the island, nicknamed "secret spot". It was such a fun way to spend my birthday; with friends enjoying the incredible beauty this place has to offer. You can check out the video I made of this day at this link; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZXJSmrjKr_E.
A second highlight was the Ho'olaulea reggae music festival that was held in Hilo this past weekend, it was a lot of fun hanging out and dancing to some talented local artists with all my friends and a few thousand strangers.
So no complaints from this student athlete! I am still thoroughly enjoying college life here in Hawaii and all the challenges as well as good times that come along with it. Bring on the rest of semester 2! Thanks again to Charlie and Sheridan and the rest of the team at Play Atlantic, without whom I would not be here enjoying student athlete life Hawaiian style!