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Eloise Healey’s career as an amateur golfer includes a number of notable highlights, including finishing sixth in the 2015 Ladies British Open Amateur Stroke tournament, winning the English Schools National Championship in 2014 and representing England in the French under 21 Championship.

Eloise is the eighth international player to join the University of Wisconsin’s women’s golf team and since relocating to the United States for the start of the 2016/17 academic year, she has competed in tournaments in Mexico, Canada and across the United States.

Having returned to Liverpool for the summer break Eloise reflects on her freshman year.

Having just completed my freshman year at the University of Wisconsin, Madison on a sports scholarship, I have been fortunate enough to gain some amazing experiences. Although being a student athlete has been one of the most exhausting school years I have ever completed, it has allowed me to meet many new people from across the globe, gain incredible opportunities and the chance to leave university with a degree and debt free.

Waking up to 6.30 a.m. alarms to work out before class twice a week creates a routine of an early start. Each morning after spending around three hours in the classroom, we drive to practice to train between two and three hours daily. The evenings usually involve a few hours spent in the library studying, night classes or extra workouts. For the weekends that we aren’t travelling, Sundays are usually spent at the golf course, whereas Saturdays are normally given as a day off. Having to balance a busy schedule develops time management skills and self-discipline.

Although the typical week of a student athlete is very intense, it provides countless opportunities from networking to travel. Being able to travel across the US for tournaments or training trips, I have already had the opportunity to see places such as Mexico, South Carolina Texas and Florida alongside my team mates. Before I had even begun my freshman year, I was already in contact with some of the girls on the golf team, so having this immediate social group made the transition to the US much easier. Living in the dorms for my first year also gave me the chance to make friends with people from other sports who are also pursuing an education along with their sport. Not only did I find this encouraging, but also exciting to be able to watch many different tournaments and home games.

Attending a university like Wisconsin, has also provided me with a world class education. In the US education system, it isn’t required to specify your major until your second year which I have found particularly useful and less pressurizing as I wasn’t completely sure of my career path leaving Blue Coat. The student athlete department also provides tutors as well as career advising as it isn’t expected that all athletes will be pursuing a professional sporting career after graduation.

I would definitely recommend university in the US as a student athlete to anyone who is passionate about pursuing their education and a sport. For many sports including tennis, hockey and football, there is so much to be gained from trying college sports in the US, if you are willing to work hard. The enthusiasm and school pride is always evident on campus and being able to experience the emotion and school spirit as 85,000 people fill Camp Randall for a Saturday afternoon game day is something that I am so glad to be a part of.

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