Alumnus Ani Gemmill on Athletic Scholarship

Ani Gemmill, class of 2016, is currently studying at Arkansas State University on scholarship with the track team. She wrote to Sacred Heart to update us on her adventures. 

I’ve now officially been a student at Arkansas State University running for the Red Wolves for eight weeks now, safe to say it’s taken me up until now to start to grasp what it means to live in the adult world. Strangely enough the magic sink from back home that would wash and fold my laundry doesn’t exist over here, nor does the machine that would make my meals and clean up after me. Thank you family! I seem to be managing just fine despite a few language barriers I encounter daily between the American and Kiwi slang. I don’t think I’ve gone one day without having to talk about middle earth or explain that hobbits don’t roam around town and that in fact we don’t live by the side of the river in a grass hut.

My first few weeks here I was in the exact position I was when I started at SHGC. I was lost about every five minutes, too frightened of all the seniors to ask for help, drowning in what I thought was a lot of homework and constantly battling to find my friends at lunch in the swarm of people. It takes courage and resilience.  It did then and does now. Having said this, so far it’s been a crazy adventure, an adventure which was five years in the making. When I was younger I absolutely hated running, I would try almost anything just to avoid it. It was the one thing I dreaded about school sports. I’m not quite sure where along the line my perspective on this crazy sport changed given now I can’t go one day without living and breathing the sport.

I just had my mid-term exams last week and I’ve got about a two months until my final exams then I’m back home for the winter. I ended up finding a major that is exactly fitting to what I want to do which is great, I’m majoring in Strategic Communication with an emphasis on Public Relations and Advertising with a minor in Graphic Design. It’s a handful but even this early in my degree it’s opening up some great opportunities for me so I’m eager to see what the future holds. Since I’m a freshman I have to do Gen Ed classes which is basically the same as year 12 and 13. I’m taking Algebra, English, Fine Arts, Media and Making Connections. Next semester I’m doing Biology and Biology Lab, Oral Communication, US Politics, English, History and World Literature. After you complete all these courses you then go on to start taking subjects that are to do with your major. I’m loving every minute of it over here but I’m definitely looking forward to coming home and seeing some green grass.

I’m so fortunate to have been given this opportunity to live in a different country, get an education and run alongside an awesome team. My teammates are great, they are all really supportive and it’s great to be in an environment where everyone has their mind set on the same goal, it’s much easier to push yourself when you’re working with people towards a common goal rather than against them. We are glued together pretty tight, we live at the same place, eat together, train together, go to class together and hang out together in our spare time. I never thought I would be able to actually do something like this but then again anything as possible as long as you’re willing to put in the hard yards. I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank everyone at SHGC again, the endless support over the years has been a big driving force in helping me get here. Without wanting to sound cliche, I couldn’t have done it without you all.