About a year ago I was lucky enough to get an opportunity to study for my masters in the USA. As a young woman from the rural areas of West Africa, this was both exciting and scary. When I went to school I was not prepared for the culture shock, the food and the extreme weather. The school work was intense and I did not made any friends since my accent was not easy to understand. I missed home and could not afford to call the people at home so often.
In about three months, I had started to slip into depression. With no one to talk to and wanting to not worry my parents at home during our monthly call; I really felt alone. I had no way of releasing my frustrations and fears. In one month my academics began to slip; my weight increased greatly and I constantly spent my free time crying my eyes out.
One day, a classmate walked with me and tried to make conversation; I was so fazed and could not respond to her warm banter coherently. The next day, she stuck by me and made me in my incoherent state go with her to the sports arena within the school. She was an excellent squash player and she secured some gear for me. I found this strange as I had not per say experienced this kind of kindness since I came; it reminded me of home and I decided to try out the game.
For those who know squash, it is a fun, challenging and athletic game. For more about squash, check out this blog http://squashhq.com/. On this first day, I felt so challenged, but for the first time in the four months I had been away from home, I felt my blood through my veins. The adrenaline was high, my breathe was short and my body was alive! My newly made acquaintance led through the cool down stretches and we parted ways for our respective places of residence. That night was the first time that I actually slept soundly and deeply. The next morning I was still sad, though my mind was clearer, and I was really looking forward to the evening; so that I could go try this new game. This became a daily routine for us and with time, Sabrina and I became the best of friends.
Each new day as we played squash, I gained more confidence; I had someone to talk to now and my body began to go back to its lean shape. I found daily that my concentration was higher during classes, my mind was clearer, my step was lighter and I generally began to enjoy being at my school. What was previously frustrating became bearable, I had better grades; my physical strength increased and my body was fit and agile. Squash requires good strategy and razor sharp reflexes; this greatly improved my mental strength and capacity.
I played squash till I throughout my masters program and to date, I can truly say that had Sabrina not introduced me to squash, I would not have completed my studies. I still play once every week to acknowledge that squash saved my life!