Chasing the Journey #PreSydney

“A journey begins not by merely waiting for it to come to you, but by reaching out and finding it.

Hi everybody! My name is Catie Conrad and I am going into my last year as an undergraduate student at the University of Pittsburgh, majoring in Business Marketing. I call home Brighton, Michigan, where I have grown up in the same house my entire life, with two of the greatest older brothers. Recently, this past year, I have ended a sport that has encompassed my life up until now, gymnastics. I plan to continue a future staying involved somehow with either the sport of gymnastics or athletics as a whole. Due to the emotional departure of my identity as a gymnast, I have realized I have more time on my hands this summer than past years. An opportunity of studying abroad presented itself, and without hesitation I took it. Studying abroad has always been a dream of mine, therefore, to embark on this journey will be one of the greatest fulfillments while earning my degree. Even though I haven’t left the United States prior to this, I never second guessed the decision to go see the world. You know, it’s never too late to start an adventure. My departure date is now only a week away and I am beyond excited to spend most of the summer studying and interning in Sydney!

I have been placed in an internship at Sports New South Wales (NSW) working under the disabilities inclusion manager. New South Wales mission is to use sports to help build connected, healthy, and active communities. My passion has always been related to sports and its activities, so I am excited to be interning with this company. NSW is also implementing a gymnastics program I will assist on as well, giving me even more excitement. Along with the internship, I will be taking a Sports Marketing class through the university. This is an amazing opportunity to grow my knowledge and experience for a field I care so much about. 

It is nothing contrary to the ordinary for me to join a community not knowing anyone around me. Living and learning in a new community is a new adventure, an opportunity to build new relationships with the amazing people I will be surrounded with. Life has provided many opportunities recently for this, including transferring as a last year student-athlete to a city I have never once been to nor known anyone there. After one phone call, I realized the rest of my college career had changed for the better. I transferred to the University of Pittsburgh this past summer of 2017, having only met the coaching staff. Suddenly, an opportunity presented itself and instead of running from the ball being thrown at me, I decided to swing it for a grand slam. To say the process was hard is an understatement. Being immersed entirely in a new atmosphere of professors, teammates, coaches, academics and relationships was challenging. At times, the process was quite frightening, but nothing good in life comes with ease. Looking back, I can now see and feel the similarities of what I will be experiencing this summer, leaving the country for the FIRST time. But I already know this experience will be yet another grand slam.

I will be sure to update my blog a few times over the course of the program, so don’t go anywhere folks, this is just the beginning! Ready? Take off in 3…2…1…