Jaime, College Connection Class of 2015 and Northeast High School graduate, is a busy freshman who is finding success both in the classroom and on the courts as a member of Arcadia University’s tennis team. An International Business and Culture major, Jaime plans to pursue graduate school after earning his Bachelor’s degree. We spoke with Jaime about his love for tennis, his recent tournament in Hilton Head, South Carolina, and how he balances it all:
How long have you been playing tennis? Has it always been a passion of yours?
“I have been playing tennis since my freshman year of high school so technically this is my 4th year of playing tennis! I was kind of iffy about tennis at first, but eventually I found it to be something I could get myself into and really enjoy. After putting in hundreds of hours into practicing and training, I am now playing college tennis. So, it hasn’t always been a passion of mine, but as of this moment, I am very passionate about it!”
What was the process of joining the team like?
“The process of joining the team was pretty easy. I didn’t know as much as I would have liked to about the recruiting system during high school, so I wasn’t recruited. However, I emailed the coach during the summer before the Fall semester and he said he’d love to have me after I filled out the necessary paperwork. Since then, I’ve been on the Arcadia men’s tennis team. We had a team meeting to introduce everyone and since that very first day, I knew I was going to have a great time with these guys.”
What is your strategy for managing academics and athletics?
“This is a big one. Basically, my strategy is to utilize all the time I have. Last semester, we had strength and conditioning that happened every Tuesday and Thursday at 7am, so as a commuter, I had to wake up at 6am and prepare for a tiring morning. On weekday afternoons, we had practice from 4-6 so between conditioning, classes, and practice I would find a quiet place to do schoolwork. This semester, we had practice at 6am on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and 7:30am the remaining days of the week, followed by conditioning at 9:30, which was much different than last semester. However, I was able to adapt and structure the rest of my time around that schedule.”
Over Spring Break, you participated in a tennis tournament in Hilton Head, South Carolina. What were some highlights of that experience?
“Hilton Head was the best tennis experience I had ever had! Being in a house with the team for a whole week down in South Carolina is an experience I will cherish. It was an amazing bonding moment for all of us, and we got to see sides of each other that we don’t normally see when we’re just conditioning or practicing. It brought us all closer together. We went 1-3 during that trip, but it meant much more than just winning or losing; it was a learning experience, as well! Although we lost 3 matches, we played against schools what we don’t normally play within our conference and it was amazing. Cheering on your teammates is a huge part of playing a college sport. The guys and I were cheering as loud as we could to support our teammates. I left Hilton Head with a 2-5 record, but I learned a lot from it. Most importantly, the almost 14 hour trip driving to and from Hilton Head was crazy. You will never truly know someone until you are stuck in a van with them for 28 combined hours!”
What advice would you give to a Philadelphia Futures collegian who is considering getting involved in athletics at their school?
“The advice I would give a Philadelphia Futures collegian who is considering getting involved in athletics at their school would be to make sure you are really passionate about that sport. I wouldn’t advise joining if you just think it would look good on your resume. It’s a commitment that you have to put everything into. There are those intense conditioning days and early mornings where you question whether it’s really worth it, but then you realize that you’re there because you love the sport and wouldn’t want to be doing anything else. College athletics is nothing like it was in high school, but if you’re ready for the jump and you love the sport, get out there and do what you love doing!”
If you’re a Philadelphia Futures Collegian who’d like to share one of your most interesting college experiences, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.