Tennis helped prevail the standard of how my family grew up for generations. My parents are first-generation immigrants who left their family and villages behind for the American dream: the ability to provide better lives for their children. I never complained about my “struggles” to my parents because every time I did, my dad told me the story about his 5-mile trek to school every day. Their incredible hard work and will to provide for my sister and I, gave me opportunities that they never possessed, such as the ability to play tennis at such a high level. Going back generations, my family only ever focused on either farming or teaching as a way to support their families, but I always wanted to do something different. I’m the first person in my family with the opportunity of possibly playing tennis at a college-level, in lieu of going to school for engineering, teaching, or pre-med. Feeling like I needed to prove myself to them and myself, I always carry this chip on my shoulder. Tennis became my outlet, I use it to prove myself, fueled by the hard work and focus that my parents taught me.
Tennis wasn’t always the only sport I wanted to play growing; I wanted to play every sport that I could: baseball, football, soccer, basketball. However, my passion for tennis started when my sister started playing tennis when she was a freshman in High School. As a 7-year-old, I always eagerly stood on the side of the court waiting for her lessons to be done so that I could hit with her. Ever since then, tennis became more than just a sport I watched, but one that I became a part of. Throughout my short career, I faced some difficult injuries, tough losses, and times where I thought I may be better off not playing and just focusing on school and my academics. However, I kept getting back up and working even harder than before, because tennis became more than a passion, it felt like a part of my life and without tennis, it feels like my life contains a gaping hole. Over the last 10 years of playing tennis, I noticed that I harnessed the ability of being able to multitask and separate my focuses. Especially recently as I take more and more AP classes, and challenge myself at school, I can turn off all of the outside distractions when I step onto the tennis court. Every day I feel grateful to my parents for giving me the opportunity to play tennis and teaching me that hard work makes anything possible. Because of the traits they instilled in me throughout my childhood, I'll continue being the first one on the court and the last one off, the first one to never miss an assignment even with back to back tennis tournaments, and the first one always up for a challenge no matter what.