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Category: Carly Patent (page 1 of 3)

House Hunting: College Edition by Carly Patent

When you think of college, a few things likely come to mind: football games, roommates, clubs, dining halls, parties, freedom, classes (of course), friends, Greek Life, and junk food among others. One aspect of college, however, encompasses all of these elements to truly make or break one’s experience. And that detail is none other than the stereotypical college dorm.

Late into the summer every year, incoming freshman make the transition from the comfort of their very own bedrooms to what may be deemed measly “shoeboxes”—which would be shared with another random human being—and a communal bathroom down the hall. Advertisements for college essentials are widespread. Husband pillows, patterned bedspreads, shower caddies, shower shoes, storage bins in every size and color, string lights, bulletin boards, command hooks, and bed risers magically pop up during the month of August. Personally, I was apprehensive about this new living situation, but I knew that I had no choice but to accept this fate. There were so many questions buzzing through my mind about the dorm experience. Did I bring my clothes to the shower to change into or risk walking back in a towel? Would I be able to even get into my bed if it was raised? Was my room in a prime location for meeting people? Were the lounges quiet enough to actually get work done? Did I have enough storage space to hold the bulk boxes of Goldfish and Rice Krispie Treats that I had purchased?

Luckily, like everyone else, I quickly figured out the answers to my questions. While the move from my own bedroom to a shared dorm room was difficult to get used to at times, I truly loved living in my dorm. I not only was fortunate to meet some of my best friends on my freshman floor, but I liked that there was always something going on. East campus was abuzz with people playing volleyball and other games on the turf, making POD runs for late-night snacks, and scrambling to figure out how to survive without their parents. Communal bathrooms actually fostered conversations in that people were forced to leave their rooms. There was constantly someone in the lounge and something going on in the hallway. Floor events were numerous—and, to my benefit, almost always included free food. Living in Redding, I was lucky enough to have been provided with one of the nicer dorms, complete with non-cinderblock walls, spacious lounges, and bathrooms on each wing. But, either way, a freshman dorm is a freshman dorm. I do have some great stories, but you truly had to be there.

Next, we’ll go to my sophomore year, which I am currently in the process of completing. This year, I made another transition in that I moved away from East campus and made the big step up to North campus. For all of the people who are unfamiliar with what this actually means, North campus is about a fifteen (ten if you’re a fast-walker like myself) minute walk from the rest of campus—separated by what some consider the world’s longest bridge. While there is an increasing amount of freshman living on North campus, it consists mostly of upperclassmen, making it the perfect step in between dorm living and off-campus housing. This year, I lived in Independence Hall East (also known as “Indy”) which is a suite-style dorm. Through a bathroom, my room connected to another room housing my two suitemates. Giving us the opportunity get ready together, to talk to each other while in the shower, and to meticulously color-coordinate and decorate our bathroom, Indy, to quote Hannah Montana, was the “best of both worlds.” We were no longer freshman dealing with communal bathrooms, but we were also not fully-fledged renters. The nearby turf and dining hall reminded us of East Campus but also offered a welcoming new environment. Independence provided me the perfect Goldilocks experience for my sophomore year.

And, finally, we transition to my plans for junior year. Following the lead of most undergraduates, I, along with four of my friends, will be moving off-campus for my junior year into a townhouse. Let me just say that the process of actually renting a place on campus is no easy task; whether it’s researching available locations, touring those locations, going through paperwork, signing a lease, applying for renter’s insurance, setting up utilities, or actually furnishing a home, this step truly makes you feel like an adult. I am very excited for this next step in the housing experience. I cannot wait to have my own bedroom and sleep in a full-size bed. It’ll be nice to have a kitchen in which I can actually make all of the foods that I have been craving. I will actually be able to chill on a sofa and watch my favorite reality television shows on an actual flat-screen. While there is a lot that goes into moving off-campus (my friends and I have a color-coded spreadsheet denoting anything and everything that we could possibly need), moving off-campus is the next step towards telling myself that I’m becoming an adult. That’s not to say that I won’t come downstairs on Sunday mornings to watch Zoey 101 re-runs in my pajamas while eating Lucky Charms, but, hey, it’s a work in progress.

The various living transitions that students make—from homes to dorms to suites to apartments and houses—keep the college experience exciting and new. It’s been fun to live in a new place every year and to meet new people in doing so. I am enthusiastic about what is to come as I move into my townhouse! Let’s just hope that I haven’t said too many of the stereotypical house-hunting lines in the process; cue “It needs an open floor plan” or “Where are the walk-in closets?”

Main Street’s Top Five Eats by Carly Patent

When touring colleges, a few elements were integral. I needed a nice dorm, preferably one that did not have cinder block walls and that did not look like a jail cell (Redding, check!). I looked for a nice gym so that I didn’t gain the stereotypical “Freshman Fifteen” that was mentioned at least once on every college tour (Little Bob, check!). I wanted to feel like I was actually on a campus speckled with cherry blossom trees, grass, and pretty brick buildings (The Green, check!). Clubs and activities were also an important part of my checklist in that I wanted to meet new people and get involved (Alpha Phi Omega, Club Tennis, Honors Blog, check!). Oftentimes overlooked by potential college students, academics were also a significant factor in the main reason why I would be going to college in the first place (#81, check!). While all of these elements were critical in making my decision, there was one factor that seemed to affect my choice even more than the rest: the food. Known as “gourmet girl” by my parents and known for my obsessions with the Food Network, cooking, baking, and Tasty videos—I placed a strong emphasis on the need for the university that I would select to offer numerous options when it came to keeping my stomach satisfied. Now in my sophomore year here, I can definitely say that the University of Delaware campus has pleased my request for a food-filled campus. While most students rely on the dining hall for meals, Main Street is what really got me. The mixture of chains and local restaurants, the variety of options, cuisines, and price ranges, and the overall quality of dining gives Main Street its appeal (check!). So, without further ado, let me present to you one of the most difficult lists that I have ever had to compile: Main Street’s Top 5 Eats (in no particular order because that’s simply just asking too much of me, as if these decisions weren’t tricky enough).

1. Catherine Rooney’s

I feel like it would be sacrilegious for a Blue Hen such as myself to not include at least Catherine Rooney’s or Klondike Kate’s; they’re both classic Delaware favorites offering everything from traditional “kid” food of chicken fingers and fries to comfort food classics. Recently among my friends, however, has emerged the debate of the century, and let me just say that I’m team Rooney’s. I had not actually been there until this year, and boy was that a mistake. The atmosphere of the restaurant is homey and cozy (I first went around Christmastime when the place was decked out in rustic red and green trinkets). My go-to, thanks to a friend’s recommendation, is the Jameson Burger, one of their signature items. Topped with Applewood smoked bacon, cheddar cheese, crispy onions, barbecue sauce, and as if that were not enough, coleslaw, this burger is truly one of a kind. Pair it with their sweet potato fry wedges, and you’ve got yourself a meal that really sticks to your bones—perfect for a cold winter day!

2. Grain

Ah, good ole Grain. My stomach cannot help but rumble when I think about it. Everything is just oh-so scrumptious. This year, it is safe to say that I’ve been here an unhealthy amount of times, making me an expert on the best of the menu. I’d like to start out by saying that if you have not been here and have never had them, the nachos are to-die-for. Unlike a lot of the other nachos found on campus (which I’m most definitely not dissing…shout out to Klondike Kates’s buffalo chicken nachos, especially when they’re half-price on Tuesdays), Grain uses queso cheese sauce instead of the traditional melted cheese that you would normally find. Then, they load the pile of chips dunked in cheese with pulled chicken and all of your traditional nacho toppings—pico de gallo, jalapeños, sour cream, and guacamole. I forcefully demanded that my friends agree to order these when we went there for my birthday, and I can safely say that we almost fought over who was allowed to lick the plate clean (since it was my birthday, I rightfully won this battle). Another of my top menu items from Grain is their version of a Philly cheesesteak. As a Philly girl myself, I’d say that I know a great cheesesteak from a good one. The bread is pillowy, the onions are salty and the perfect amount of fried, the meat is juicy and tender, and the cheese sauce is creamy, gooey, and melty all in one. Pro tip: upgrade your meal with their sweet potato fries which come with a side of caramel sauce, making them almost dessert-like. Grain is one of my top five because of the fun yet intimate atmosphere, and the high-quality ingredients that compose their traditional yet amped-up menu items. And even better, try going in the spring when you can sit on their porch under the twinkle lights!

3. El Diablo

A University of Delaware favorite, El Diablo has become my recent obsession. While I hate to actually admit this, it’s become my Wednesday night go-to this semester after my weekly Butts n’ Guts class. Incomparable to Chipotle (just down the street), El Diablo offers an extreme number of toppings that cannot be found at similar restaurants. At El Diablo, you can pick your type of cheese, add pineapple salsa for a tropical flare, top off your burrito or bowl with jalapeños and pickled onions, and drizzle it with one of their homemade dressings. My classic is a brown rice bowl with chicken, pepper jack cheese, lettuce, sour cream, mild salsa, pineapple salsa, and corn salsa. The quality of the ingredients shines through every time I go—each component of my bowl is fresh and vibrant, bursting with flavor and color. Additionally, for all of the broke college students out there, El Diablo serves enormous portions for such reasonable prices; you can get a burrito or bowl—loaded with as many toppings as you’d like—for around $9.00. Does it get better than that? I only started getting El Diablo this year, but I must say that for those of you that like California-style Mexican food, be careful because it is truly addicting.

4. Newark Deli and Bagels

I feel like it wouldn’t be okay if I made this list and didn’t include Newark Deli and Bagels, better known as “NDB” to students here. For a quick bite in between classes, a quality lunch that will keep you full, or something to bring you back to life on a Sunday morning, Newark Deli and Bagels is where it’s at. Not to diss the dining halls, but for most of the student population from New York and New Jersey, those bagels just don’t cut it in terms of quality. Newark Deli and Bagels, however, offers a little piece of home in their quality bagels and toppings. My favorite is either a cinnamon raisin bagel with plain cream cheese or sausage, egg, and cheese on a whole-wheat bagel lathered in ketchup. In addition to their everyday menu, at times, NDB even has rainbow bagels for when you’re feeling spirited—including a festive green bagel for St. Patrick’s Day! I’ve sat in class counting down the seconds until I could make my way to Main Street for one of their warm bagels and have kept my eyes pressed on their bright green awnings as I darted across Main Street to get there before closing.  There is no greater joy than seeing the chef walk out of the kitchen with a pile of shiny-wrapped bagels and call your number. I think it’s safe to say that I personally could eat a bagel for every meal of the day (the combinations are truly endless), and Newark Deli and Bagels is always there to satisfy my cravings—that is until they close at 3 pm!3

5.Café Gelato

The final addition to my Main Street Top Five is none other than Main Street’s fanciest establishment. I will say that Café Gelato is the place to go when you have family in town who would be willing to treat you to the polar opposite of dining hall food. Café Gelato features an upscale menu and an elegant dining experience. Whenever I walk along Main Street and look into Café Gelato, I see what I still consider “grown-ups,” people who are not my fellow college students running all over the place and eating whatever they can get their hands on first. Going to Café Gelato is a transformative experience. One of my favorite menu items is the four-cheese tortellini in Parma Rosa sauce. The pasta was tender, and I could have licked the bowl clean of the sauce (that is, if I wasn’t in a fancy restaurant!). And, to make it even better, a meal at Café Gelato would not be complete without gelato, of course. Be sure to try the coconut and the salted caramel because you most definitely won’t regret it. Overall, Café Gelato is the place to go for a special occasion, to celebrate good times with good people over really good food!


At the University of Delaware, we’re so lucky to have such amazing options right next to campus. Food is such an easy way to connect with people and to make new memories. The options are endless – that is, until you get too full and need to be rolled home. I hope that my Main Street Eats list has been mouth-watering, tummy-rumbling, and palate-awakening!

The City of Brotherly Love…Until We Play You in the Super Bowl by Carly Patent

Philadelphia: the home of the cheesesteak, the central hub of rowdy sports fans, the resting grounds of the Liberty Bell, and birthplace of semantics such as “jawn.” If there’s one thing that Philadelphians can agree on, it’s our shared Philly pride. Adding on to our extensive list of praise-worthy accomplishments is our most recent triumph of not only beating the Patriots in Super Bowl LII but also obtaining our first ever Super Bowl win. If it was believed that Philadelphians were proud before this momentous event, then Sunday, February 4, 2018 has most definitely proved everyone wrong.

Philadelphia is truly a special place that I am proud to say has a place in my heart (even though I’m from the suburbs right outside of Philly, it still counts). First, let’s start off with indeed the most important factor in any great city: the food. Immediately, cheesesteaks come to mind. You simply can’t say that you’re from Philly without having feasted on a proper cheesesteak. Of course, the battle between Pats and Genos is well-known, with people making the trip to the corner of East Passyunk Ave. to compare the two and see what all the hype is really about. Whether you order your steak as the classic “Whiz wit” or some other variation, you’re guaranteed to enjoy the simplicity of such a simple food – something that not even the greatest five-star chefs can match. Philadelphia, however, isn’t just known for its cheesesteaks. Philly soft pretzels could put Auntie Anne’s out of business in a second, and there’s nothing better than a warm pretzel (or a dozen) right out of the oven. I’m sure that many kids can relate to the happiness that I used to feel on pretzel days in school and the joy of finding fifty cents tucked away in my backpack so that I could buy one. Another Philly staple is the Tastykake, a classic treat that has recently expanded to other parts of the country. Whether it’s Butterscotch Krimpets, Kandy Kakes, or Cupcakes, Tastykakes cannot be rivaled – sorry Hostess and Little Debbie! For those of you who haven’t had a Tastykake, please, do yourself a favor, run to the nearest POD immediately, and purchase one. You can thank me later! The last, but certainly not least, Philadelphia favorite is water ice. Of course, the first disclaimer that I’d like to stress is not something about how satisfying water ice is on a hot summer day or how smooth the ice is or even how many flavors there are. Instead, I’d like to make a point about the pronunciation; for traditional Philadelphians, it’s “wooder” ([wʊɾəɹ] for all of the linguistics fans out there). Now that we’ve settled that debate, back to the water ice. There’s just something about a cup full of artificially dyed and flavored ice topped with fluffy, creamy soft serve swirled to perfection and bathed in rainbow jimmies – yes, I’m referring to “sprinkles” …just another Philadelphia semantic example with no explanation. Classic Philadelphia foods have the power to take us to a game at Citizens Bank Park, to the first day of Spring and long lines for free water ice, and to the red benches outside of Pat’s.

Although traditional Philly foods have satisfied our city’s stomachs for years, the history and depth of our city have also satisfied our spirits for years as well – encompassing the pride for which Philadelphians are known. Philadelphia is rich in culture, and even though some customs are quite random, they are undoubtedly ours. Traditionally, Philadelphia is well-known for the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, City Hall, the Walnut Street Theater, colorful murals, and the Philadelphia Zoo. Its Museum of Art exhibits magnificent artwork yet also offers the perfect opportunity to run up the “Rocky Steps” and throw your hands up in the air just as Rocky is shown doing in his nearby statue. Another landmark representative of Philadelphia is none other than the Reading Terminal Market – a true cultural explosion. One of America’s largest and oldest markets, the Reading Terminal Market offers everything from an irresistible roast pork sandwich to uniquely-flavored donuts and from a made-to-order cannoli to duck fat grilled cheese sandwiches. Long story short, the Reading Terminal Market has something for everyone, and almost everyone is guaranteed a “food baby” after this experience. The Mummers Parade is an event that is an additional Philly favorite. Each New Year’s Day, clubs compete in four categories: comics, fancies, string bands, and fancy brigades. With ornate costumes, scenery, and elaborate performances that take a year to organize, the Mummers Parade is an enjoyable, classic way to ring in a new year, and it’s almost sacrilegious to not watch it for at least five minutes on the first of January. Finally, one of Philly’s weirdest events is none other than the Wing Bowl, a contest for eating, you guessed it: chicken wings. This event has gained such popularity over the years that it is now held in the Wells Fargo Center, home to the Philadelphia Flyers and Sixers. What these examples hopefully demonstrate is that Philadelphia has a lot going on; from historical landmarks to contemporary happenings, we have plenty in which to immerse ourselves.

While our food is delicious and our city is thriving, there is one thing that brings Philadelphians together like no other: Philadelphia sports. Anyone who has ever been to a Sixers, Phillies, Flyers, or Eagles game will hopefully be able to attest to this fact. There’s no rhyme or reason for why Philly fans have been known to tailgate for hours on end, to paint their faces and entire bodies, and to, at times – make pretty foolish decisions. At least some of our dedication, however, can be attested to the fact that we love our city and want to prove it on the fields, on the ice, and on the court. Now, multiply this spirit by about 100%, and you’ll get what winning our first Super Bowl has done to make our city even greener, even louder, and even prouder. Let’s just say that “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”…especially after we win the Super Bowl. I’m sure that many Philly fans can agree with me when I say that this Sunday night game was nail-biting, breath-holding, and touchdown-calculating. The road to this victory was long, having lost Carson Wentz to an ACL injury mid-season – to which I can only say “Hold up wait a minute, y’all thought I was finished?” (special shout out to Meek Mill’s “Dreams and Nightmares,” the Eagles’ Super Bowl entrance). True Eagles fans, however, never gave up on our chance to finally bring home a ring, and it was evident that this one game would magically bring our city together like never before. Pretzels were sold shaped like bones to symbolize the fact that we were the “underdogs,” buildings and bridges donned green lights, offices allowed everyone to wear forgo suits and business attire and instead don Eagles gear, and police greased poles to prevent people from climbing them in celebration. As evidenced by the happenings of the parade, however, even slippery poles won’t stop an excited Eagles fan. For me, this was quite the experience, being the only Eagles fan in my friend group. Everyone was instructed that if they would be watching with me, they were not permitted to say anything negative about the Eagles, and everyone was expected to eat an Eagles cupcake (generously provided by my mom) for good measure. I will admit that it was quite humoring to be able to celebrate my victory by rubbing it in their faces that my team won and that theirs didn’t – take that Giants fans!

Philadelphia’s recent Super Bowl win has enlightened my mind to appreciate my city even more so than before. I am proud of our quirks and traditions and of the spirit that we have in celebrating all that our city has given to us. Being away from everything – especially the traditional Super Bowl party atmosphere, fireworks, and parade – was difficult, but thankfully, my dad went out at 4:45 on the following Monday morning to get his hands on a Super Bowl t-shirt for me so that I could still feel included. I think that the only way to properly end this blog post is with E-A-G-L-E-S, EAGLES…until next Super Bowl when we go for win number two!


You’ve Got a Friend in Me by Carly Patent

Brooke Davis and Payton Sawyer, Batman and Robin, Peter Pan and Tinkerbelle, Michael Scott and Dwight Schrute, Spongebob and Patrick, Chandler and Joey, and Lilo and Stitch—just some of the iconic duos that instantly come to mind when thinking about friendship. At this time of year in particular, we typically take the time to reflect on our own friendships and the people that make those friendships oh-so-special. These friends are the people that we can call at any hour of the day, that we can send the most horrendous selfies to, that we can eat an entire pizza with and not feel judged, and that most importantly, are there for us no matter what.


I am sure that many of my fellow Blue Hens shared at least some of these sentiments before coming to college. How will I find a roommate that I can actually stand living with? What are the people on my floor going to be like? Will I have the guts to actually strike up a conversation with someone in my class? What will the people in my major be like? Will I even make friends? Admittedly, it can sometimes be a hard transition going from friends that you have known since kindergarten—when a girl randomly decided to ask you who you liked on the first day—to friends that you have known for barely a month or two. As a sophomore, with almost three semesters under my belt, however, I have come to learn that while I have only known some of my friends here for a little over a year, they are the friends that I could see being in my wedding party, the friends that my future children will call “aunt” and “uncle,” the friends that no matter the distance—from Pennsylvania to Connecticut to New York—will be my friends for life.


My parents always tell me that I am so lucky to have the friends that I do, and I’ve come to realize that they are actually right—I’ll let them have it just this once! In college specifically, friendships develop so much faster than they do in say middle or high school. Knowing someone for two months can feel like two years due to the amount of time that you spend together—going to class, walking around campus, hanging out, eating, sleeping, and everything in between. I personally can attest to this phenomenon; in just a semester, I not only learned the names of my friend’s immediate family but the names of his nieces and nephews, where he went to high school, who his favorite football player is, what his favorite restaurant is, and how he likes his coffee. Impressive, I know! I’ve come to find that it is not the length of time that you’ve been friends but the quality of the friendship that really makes it worthwhile.


Reflecting on how far I’ve come in the past year, the friendships that I’ve maintained from high school, and the ones that I have made during my time here at the University of Delaware, I now understand the zenith of friendship. My true friends have been the ones that let me come into their room every day to steal a piece of their candy before I go to bed. They are the friends that push me to do new things—such as learning how to skateboard so that they could tell everyone that their friend actually knows how to skateboard. My friends are the ones that threaten to come to my tennis matches with obnoxious posters to cheer me on against my will. They are the ones that have conversations with me from outside the shower. My friends are the ones that share in my oddly relaxing passion for organizing and are willing to spend an entire night folding and hanging clothes and rearranging drawers. They are the people that make me fall to the ground laughing over some of the most random, childish conversations—conversations that normal human beings would likely never have. They are the friends that I can text or call once a month, and upon seeing them in person, feel like I never even left. They are the friends that no matter what, will drop everything to be there for you, to listen to you rant for an hour, to talk to you on the walk back from class, and to always guarantee that at least one of your embarrassing stories be brought up in conversation.


What makes these friends valuable parts of our lives is that we cannot remember not having them in our lives, and we have no clue how we even survived without them. I have met some of my very best friends in some of the most random ways—whether it was through a Facebook message before coming to college, a conversation struck up while waiting in line, or the random selection of a specific dorm room number—and I am so thankful that our paths crossed. I sometimes wonder what would have happened if I decided not to send that message, if I got in line a minute later, or if I chose to live on a different floor or in a different room number. The moral of the story is that you never know when you’re going to meet your next best friend. One Tree Hill, also known as the best show to exist on the planet (even though Netflix may disagree) presents us with this quote, “If you had a friend you knew you’d never see again, what would you say? If you could do one last thing for someone you love, what would it be? Say it, do it, don’t wait. Nothing lasts forever.” As we close off the semester and close off another year, take a second to talk to someone new, to tell your friends how much they mean to you, to be the best friend that you can be, and to take a page from the books of Mike and Sully, Nathan and Lucas, Scooby and Shaggy, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, Eric Forman and Steven Hyde, and Buzz and Woody.

For the Love of the Game by Carly Patent

There’s nothing quite like the smell of a new can of tennis balls, the momentary sense of amazement when hitting the perfect drop shot, the feeling of unraveling a tattered, highly discolored grip, the joy of holding up a single finger to signify that your opponent’s shot is out, or the pressure of a sudden death tie breaker. Over the past few weeks, I have come to realize that tennis is a game that I truly love, no pun intended!

I started playing tennis when I was five years old—about the same time when I decided that it was too scary to move up to a higher level in gymnastics. My mom had played tennis in college, and she encouraged me to give it a try since one of my friends was also planning on taking lessons. After my first lesson, I was thrilled that I could hit the ball by holding my racquet with just one hand and that my ball could reach the rafters in the indoor facility (although I later realized that you didn’t get any bonus points for hitting the ceiling). It was also quite promising that after each lesson, my parents allowed me to get a snack out of the vending machine—because who doesn’t feel the need to pig out after a successful workout?

In high school, tennis was not just a weekly activity. I joined my high school’s tennis team, which had been the goal of my short tennis career. With every tennis lesson that I took, every ball that I hit, and every brightly colored Nike hat that I purchased leading up to it, I believed that I was one step closer to achieving that goal. In my freshman year, I was fortunate to have made the varsity team, and as the years progressed, I continually rose up the ladder. The dreaded August pre-season practices, challenge matches, and nerve-wracking, gut-wrenching, nail-biting third sets were always overshadowed by the inside jokes among my teammates, the bagels after 7-0 wins, the apparel that we all could not wait to wear around school on match days, the end-of-season parties at my coach’s house, and the four varsity letters that I received.

During my senior year, I was paired with one of my best friends—the one with whom I had taken lessons when we were five years old—as my doubles partner. It was crazy to see how we had gone from little girls who pretended to play the guitar with our racquets to teenagers who could work together on the court and derive winning strategies. That year, for the first time in my school’s history, our team won the District Finals, sending us to Hershey to play in the PIAA Girls’ Tennis Championships. For us, this was an incredible achievement, celebrating not only our hard work throughout the season but our commitment to the game as well. Tennis was literally what we breathed, ate, and slept—in fact, our coach instructed us to picture hitting winners in our sleep. We were victorious in our first match in Hershey and advanced to the semi-final round. After an extensive three-set match, my doubles partner and I pulled out a grueling win! Unfortunately, our team lost 4-3. While it was upsetting to come so close to a state title, my time in Hershey encompassed my tennis career; I played with my best friend, my parents surprised me and watched me play since they previously had to hide behind bushes for all of my other matches upon my very strict orders, and I ended my high school career with a medal around my neck—in addition to new apparel!

At times, tennis had been a source of great frustration in my life. After I got back from states, I took a year off from playing the sport. It had been such a time-consuming and mentally challenging aspect of my life, so I decided that a break would be good for me to focus on other things. When I would pick up my brother from his tennis lessons, watching people hit would make me suddenly feel the need to text my coach and ask to set up a lesson, but for some reason, I could never get myself to send the message.

Ironically, during the past two summers, I worked at a day camp as a tennis specialist. I found that my job served as my passage back into tennis. I was on the court every day feeding balls, creating games, running drills, and modeling different shots. My summer life was always consumed with tennis, but what made this different was that it was noncompetitive.

Upon coming to the University of Delaware, I decided not to formally pursue tennis during my freshman year. I did, however, bring my racquet and a few cans of balls in hopes of just hitting around with some of my new friends—that was, if I could successfully navigate the campus to actually find the tennis courts, which I will embarrassingly admit, did not happen until this year.

I thought that I would most likely never play tennis for a team again.  But, my feeling changed earlier this year. Looking to get more involved on campus, I perused the list of different clubs and activities. I wanted something that fit my interests, would help me meet new people, and would be most importantly, fun. I stumbled upon Club Tennis on the list, and it brought back all of my amazing memories. After looking on their website, stalking their social media accounts—because what college student today does not possess FBI-worthy skills—and examining my schedule, I decided to do what any independent undergrad would do: I called my mom. Looking back on our phone conversation that day, my mom tells me that she was shocked that I even entertained the thought of Club Tennis, as she had been my source for guidance when my love of the game started to diminish. She encouraged me to go for it as I had nothing to lose.

I am so happy to say that after practicing my serve every day leading up to tryouts, trekking to the courts at Newark High School, and strategically coordinating my tennis skirts with my Nike hats, I am officially one of the newest members of the University of Delaware Club Tennis team! As I am writing this blog post, I have been on the team for exactly one month, and it has been one of the best months of my college career. Not only has tennis served as a form of exercise, but it has allowed me to strengthen my skills, enabled me to meet people and build friendships, escape the stresses of everyday life, and make me a more confident person. So, as the semester is still just beginning, I encourage you to use me as an example. Try to find something that will bring you as much joy as Club Tennis has for me. There are an infinite number of clubs, activities, and social events available to you. Don’t be afraid to take a risk, step out of your comfort zone, or rekindle a previous passion that you thought you had given up. After all, you may find that your “love” is out there waiting for you to uncover it!

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