In Season Student-Athlete and Women’s “Struggles”

This last week was craaaaazy. We finally are in season, but this also comes with a lot of stress, no time, and phases of bad moods because I am hungry, tired, and a female. If you didn’t know, athletes are always hungry. Especially me. Sleep, having 4 hours practice each day, go to classes, study, sleep and start it all over again takes a lot ofenergy, so food is a good option for the free times in-between all of those activities. I get those food attacks, when I just want to eat everything. When I say everything, I mean fast food, chocolate, donuts, and all those healthy nutrition options, but then I try to calm myself down, look at the positive side of life and tell myself, no not today. 2 hours later I have a donut, crêpe, or waffle in one, and a cup of coffee/cappucino in the other hand. But well, that’s not the only “struggle” I am facing at the moment.photo

I am a senior, I am only taking 7 credits and I am actually getting too much sleep in the last time. Too much you think? Yes, too much. If the past three years you were only able to sleep 5-7 hours a night, 10 hours everyday can make you feel like a wobbly, tired student athlete throughout the whole day. Mostly, when you are waking up right in the deep sleep period, and you just hit your alarm or throw your phone around the whole room, and think s**t. Oh well, this is another “struggle”. I can tell you.10921722_10101791900274408_653742942_n

Going from having too much sleep to the biggest “struggle”: being a female. Right now, I am not talking about unequal payments, the unfair treatment of women’s and men’s sports, and so on, which would be a great topic to write about in future posts, but the real female struggle is the “sudden and over the top” (as my boyfriend edited into this post) mood changes. Sometimes one doesn’t even know how to control them mostly during that period of the month every girl loves most. So male readers listen up: sometimes you think women know exactly what they want. But we don’t. The only thing we know is what we hate, dislike, and think is unfair. Definitely this special time of the month is one of those things we hate, dislike, and think is unfair. So, just accept one week of craziness a month. Thanks. Also, shout out to my boyfriend and partner in crime who is doing a great job so far accepting my craziness everyday.IMG_5437

Honestly though, women, including myself, can get those mood changes for 365 days a year, which are 8760h, or 525600 min. Yes, it is a lot of time for us to be happy, sad, pissed, annoyed, angry, furious, and pleased. Only the smallest, but really smallest things can bring us women on the palm. Can you say that? Well, in Germany you say it that way/ international problems.

Generally, one can say that women are just emotional human beings, who need a lot of care and love in order to find something that still is not right. I am not making a generalization here, I am just saying how it is sometimes, but I grew over this stage now and set myself the motto: See the bright side of things. Have a smile on your face, and enjoy life with all its surprises. Surprises sometimes can be nice, and sometimes … not really, buuuuut well, see the bright side of it. At least you got surprised.

Another thing I am trying to see the bright side of is the GRE test. Its coming up, and its coming up soon. Its really time I need to take this horror 5h test, which feels like it lasts for 100 days, whilst sitting in a room with other crazed monsters that probably didn’t sleep for the last 5 days leading up to the test, trying to get all the information crammed in their brains. So, I will be sitting in a room with zombies, who are well prepared and trying to get this done, whilst I am tired of having 10 hours of sleep. Tough life.

You are probably asking yourself why I want to take the GRE. Doesn’t she want to go back to Germany after finishing college as most of her German friends studying in the US, or doesn’t she want to go pro as all of her teammates? No, I want to do my master as a Tennis GA in the United States of America. It is what I have decided on and I want to stick with this plan. More about this chapter of my life will follow soon.

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Germerican Difficulties – “The beauty of the world lies in the diversity of people.”

Hello everybody!

Our season started last weekend with the Duckworth Winter Classic Tournament. The Duckworth Family are a wonderful couple who have supported Clemson Athletics for years. This relates to what I explained in my last blog post about the ‘Clemson Family’ and how important giving back is in the American culture. Still, my main family here in Clemson is my team.

Our team is such a crazy group of people who are from all over the world and who love each other so much. Indonesians, Italians, Lithuanians, Bolivians, Taiwanese, Americans, and Germans make up this team. We are all so different, but something brings us all together, the love of tennis, and the desire, to win, fight, work hard, laugh, and cry together in wonderful and tough times. I never thought I would call these girls my teammates, friends, and family. It is incredible how college tennis brought us all together and how close we are with each other. It amazes me every day.

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“The beauty of the world lies in the diversity of people,” or like my coach would say “diversity is the spice of life.” We are all so different, not only coming from different backgrounds and cultures, but also within a culture, people can be very different from each other. I think college sports demands a lot of athletes, not only that they have to deal with the pressure of showing success on and off the court, but also that they are put together with people they did not know before, and with a culture they may have never been in contact with before entering college. I, for example, did not know anyone from Asia before I came to the U.S. I barely knew any Americans, or eastern Europeans. How should you communicate with each other? How should you behave?

In my freshman year I was in many situations with my teammates where there were misunderstandings, language barriers, and yes the pronunciation of words, and how we say things. As a German, I generally speak my mind and did not think about how others would perceive it. At home it all was fine and everyone understood this ‘bluntness’, because that is just the way we behave towards each other. But other cultures put a lot of emphasis on how you say things and what it means to them. I have seen a lot of anger and tears because of the things I have said to people in the past. Often, people took things I have said personally, without it being meant that way. This happened over and over, until I got to know other cultures better and they got to know mine.

With time you learn, regardless of what it is; everything can be learned, taught, and explained. During my collegiate career, one of the main things I have experienced is how to communicate with people from all over the world. It was really not always easy, but now I am a better communicator. I understand cultural views and behaviors, and I accept every person for what they are. I expect the same openness from others, and hope they accept me for who I am. I might be crazy and weird, but my teammates accept me for who I am and what I do, as I do with them. That is why we are a family, and why I feel so blessed to have people around me I can count on and who are there for me, when my real family is far away.
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A little something about me.

Hi everyone. My name is Romy Kölzer, I am a 23 years old tennis player from Germany, studying in big ol’ America. I live in Clemson, SC. You NEVER heard about Clemson? Me neither, until I fell in a love/hate relationship with this place during my official visit in 2011. Clemson is a small college town close to Greenville, SC. It is a cute little place where almost everyone is familiar with each other. It is funny, but also nice. On the other side though, one has nothing to do in a small town close to the lake. Here and there are some restaurants and a couple of bars, but that’s already about it, which means in other words that it can be very very very boring at times.

Still, there is much more about Clemson than you might think. Here everything is about tradition. I have never been exposed to something like this before I came here. Everyone loves to follow traditional behaviors that already exist since over hundreds of years. Why? Because of the Clemson Family. Clemson family??? Yes, family, every member of the university is a part of the Clemson family and its existence. … So lets make a stop here and analyze this. So, I am from Germany, okay. I did not have a clue what everyone was talking about,… Clemson Family. What is this??? The life in Germany is so different and individualistic compared to the life in South Carolina. In Germany, everyone does what he or she wants to and what is best for them. Here on the other side, people are always, really always, friendly to each other. Everyone wants to help you and you don’t even know who those people are. Clemson family is the answer to the question. Being a part of a family means to help each other out, try to give advice, and look that everyone is well and alright. First, it was a cultural shock for me and I did not know how to handle all this welcomeness and support from everyone and everything.

Freshman Throwback: People I did not even know are greeting me walking to my classes, saying: “What’s up?” Not knowing what what’s up even means, I tried to figure out how to answer. Then when I finally knew what to say I look up and I only see the back of this friendly person. Like what?? Didn’t he want to talk to me? How I am? I was so confused. It happened to me over and over that people saw me in my Clemson sports clothes and asked me: What’s up? Yea what is up here? I don’t get it. Time passed and finally I asked my teammates what “What’s up” means and why one says it.

Definition: What’s uuuuuup? Means that I am pretending to be friendly to someone, but actually I do not care. I just felt the need of saying something to a random person walking by. Yea, that’s about my definition of whhhhhaaaat’s uuuup. It is so funny thinking back to those times where I really did not have a clue why people are saying things to me and what it actually means. My excuse is always: international problems.

This accent. If you don’t know, the southern accent is a very strong accent, and talking to people on the phone is and was not always easy, mostly when you are a German student athlete, who just came to the US to take on a new adventure. “Hey y’all. How ya doinnnn?” Oh well, tough times. Still, I developed and took on a Germerican southern accent, when my friend Kelly tells me once again: Romy say it! I am just thinking oh lord, this is going to be an embarrassment, because she always wants me to say it in front of other people that never heard a horrible Germerican southern accent. The laugh breaks out. Well at least I am a funny person. Haha

After this little throwback, I want to come back to the fact of the Clemson Family. As I said, at first it was weird and I did not know if all of these awesome people really wanted to help me, but they did want to. They wanted to help me in all I am doing, and I am so grateful for this experience, because it showed me that the Clemson family, really is a family. Mostly, in the sports world of Clemson, one always find someone who is there for you. It’s either a teammate, your coaches, an admin, another athlete, physical trainer, or maybe your strength coach. All of those people are there to support you and to be there in hard times. It is such a blessing to me that I am able to be a part of such an awesome group of people and to have the chance to call myself a Clemson Tiger.

Enough of the soppy talk. Hope you enjoyed some of my freshman insights. More about my Germerican life will follow soon. Then you will also get to know about my life as a student athlete. Season starts tomorrow.