Junior diary: Ready for the next step

This week I want to share my thoughts about college with all of you. One year ago, most of my friends and some coaches did not know that I planned to go to college because they thought that my culture encouraged turning professional. They were generally right. Where I was born, young junior golfers do not see the importance of education. I used to be one of them; however, in recent years, I grew to see that attending college will be very beneficial to me.

Four years ago, I did not think of college as an option for my future. As a freshman in Taiwan, I only went to school for half the year because I was on our national team and I attended tournaments quite often. At that time, I thought I was going to be a professional golfer one day, and that that was my only choice in life. In order to pursue that goal, I nearly abandoned school so that I could concentrate entirely on golf.

Junior diary

Cheng-Tsung Pan, 18, will file a diary every other week this fall as he finishes his senior year of high school at IMG Academies.

Pan, bound for Washington next fall, earned top-3 finishes this year at the Scratch Players Championship and Azalea Invitational, and was medalist at the Western Amateur. He made it to the quarterfinals of the U.S. Amateur in 2007.

Something started to change for me, however, when I met an older man who eventually became my golf advisor. His ideas became really important to me. He said, “Life consists of a lot of things, and golf is just one of them. Education is the way to help you explore those other things.” This simple idea totally changed the way I saw my life. In the first 14 years of my life, all I had was golf, and I accomplished a lot of work on the golf course. In contrast, outside the golf course, I nearly failed at everything. I knew I did not want this to be the case when I was older.

Another of his ideas also inspired me. He told me he wanted me to become a good citizen before I became a good player. A great player is a public figure, and his every move is in the spotlight. Therefore, it makes sense that being a good citizen is a stepping stone on the way to becoming a great player. College can help me develop many of these essential qualities. In the process of learning, we learn how to communicate with one another, how to solve problems, and how to better analyze good decisions from the poor ones.   

One of the reasons that I decided to write the blog is that I considered this as a good way to work on communication in writing and share my experiences with others who may benefit. What you might not know is that I have encountered a lot of problems while I am writing these blogs. Sometimes I have a hard time expressing my ideas clearly, or I often take a long time to finish writing. I’m working to become a better communicator. It’s my goal to make writing an easier process. This is my first birthday wish, which is coming soon. By the way, with all this talk about college, I wanted to let you know that I just signed my National Letter of Intent with the University of Washington!

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