First of all, how are you enjoying your experience at Stanford?
I love Stanford University! Combining both my academic and athletic endeavours in one beautiful location is such a blessing.
Were you nervous about heading over to college in the US? And how are you coping with living on the other side of the world away from your Aussie family and friends?
Yes I was definitely a little nervous about how I would cope living seven thousand miles away from home, as anyone would. But I left Australia with a solid belief that Stanford would give me a priceless opportunity to start a new and exciting chapter of my life. I am coping really well here at Stanford, I have always loved change and I personally flourish when I’m independent and self-driven, I love travelling and meeting new people. Thanks to technology, being away from home hasn’t been hard at all, my family and friends are only a text or phone call away and I’m coming home in two weeks for Christmas, which I’m really looking forward to! I also feel I’m constantly busy balancing school, track and my social life so I barely have time to think about missing home!
What are you studying whilst over there, or are you undecided at this point?
I am undecided at this point, as most students at Stanford are at this stage. I am very fortunate to be able to explore a wide range of academic endeavours before choosing exactly what I want to study full time. Freshman and sophomore year consists of choosing up to 20 units of any classes you desire each quarter. There are also certain requirements such as taking a language and mathematics but not until the end of sophomore year (second year of college) do you have to declare a major. Thus, at the moment I enjoy exploring a wide range of academic subjects such as Journalism, World History, English and Psychology. I’m planning to take a few interesting classes next quarter including Human Biology, Communication and another World History class.
How do you find the juggling act between, school work, athletics and socializing?
I think the most important thing in one’s life is balance. What I enjoy most of all is juggling school, athletics and socializing, I believe they all go hand in hand. I find that when I am busy, I am most productive because I make the most of the little time I have. I believe it’s so important to develop friendships, especially in freshman year at college. Getting to know people in my dorm, Cross Country team, Track & Field team, and in my classes has enabled me to meet so many amazingly talented, driven, determined and like-minded students. What I am most grateful for at Stanford is the immense amount of support. I have access to private academic advisers who are constantly ensuring I’m copying with change and balancing everything well. Stanford never fails to provide the best academic needs, with access to free tutoring and tutorials with professors. Athletes are treated with the upmost respect, professors understand my athletic commitments and are always open to extensions if necessary.
Have you had much interaction with fellow Aussie, Steve Solomon over there?
Track season hasn’t started yet, so I haven’t been training or travelling with him yet but I always bump into him on campus every now and again and we have a nice chat. It’s always nice to hear a familiar Australian accent! I still remember asking him quite a few questions about the whole college system when I was applying to Stanford last year, and he was very helpful in that respect. I know I can always turn to him for advice if I need!
How’s training and competition going? Did you need some time to adapt to a different training regime?
I have been training with a great group of about twenty girls on the Stanford Cross Country Team. We had a training camp at Mammoth Lakes before coming to campus, which was a great way to get to know the team and slowly and progressively begin the new training regime. I haven’t had a solid cross country base before a track season for a few years due to injury or illness so I’m really confident that I’m going to be in great shape come 2015 track season. My mileage has increased but I’m really enjoying the variety in training sessions (or ‘workouts’ as the Americans say!). Cross country has just finished and now we are heading into the fun stuff, Indoor Track season starts soon which I’m really excited about!
Have you been enjoying the social aspect of college, i.e. a few parties here and there?
A big part of freshman year at college is meeting new people so it’s been great socializing with my dorm and my track friends. But I believe it’s also very important as a student athlete to know your limits. I’ve been given a very rare and amazing opportunity and it would be unwise not to make the most of every day and ensure that I get enough recovery for training the next day. I can still have fun and go out without getting involved with alcohol and staying up too late.
Would you recommend college in the US to other top runners graduating out of school in Australia?
Every individual is different and the US system doesn’t work for everyone. Personally it works for me because I enjoy change, being independent and I am very self-driven. I think it develops a great team environment and allows an individual to look beyond one’s own placing, developing a sense of sportsmanship and companionship, with each team member contributing to the college’s overall placing. The amount of support available in Australia does not come anywhere near comparing to the amazing resources and facilities available at most US College’s. It ultimately allows talented juniors to be nurtured, supported and looked after as they increase mileage, increase dedication and develop in their chosen sport. This gradual development helps build long-term sporting stars that are able to progress smoothly into the open international ranks.
What’s one of you favourite aspects of your life at Stanford thus far?
My favourite aspect of my life at Stanford thus far is the ability I have to focus on my academics and athletics simultaneously with an immense amount of financial support and accessibility to recovery and training facilities. Back at home I had minimal amount of support, especially when I was injured, and I found it made balancing training and school very difficult. I lived an hour and a half from my school, another forty minutes from training and didn’t have access to recovery facilities. Here at Stanford everything is available on a silver platter, I simply get on my bike and ride 1 minute to the track and after training I’ll walk two hundred metres to the recovery center where recovery machines, spa’s and food is available to me. I could not be any happier with my set up here in the US, I am forever grateful for Sanford and my family’s support.
Favourite food/restaurant in the US?
Reposado Restaurant, its a pretty trendy Mexican restaurant in Palo Alto!
Terrific work Anna, thank you and enjoy living the dream over there at Stanford.