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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Spotlight: Brenda Guan


Brenda Guan is beyond thrilled to be a part of the College community
Brenda Guan is beyond thrilled to be a part of the College community

Hailing from Ankeny, Iowa, one of the main perks of the College for Brenda Guan ’20 was the closeness to home. However, once she got to interact with the team, she realized how much more the College had to offer. Nora Coghan ’17 interviewed Guan for The S&B to discuss her first year thus far.

The S&B: How long have you been playing tennis?

Brenda Guan: I’ve played since I was in seventh grade, so this would be six years and counting.

The S&B: What made you want to keep playing in college?

BG: It was just a big goal of mine. Especially in high school, I knew I wanted to. I really just love the sport and the fact that you can never be too good for yourself. You can always get better. Personally, I play tennis because it’s [been important to] my character. It’s very good for my own personal development, I think. Mentally and emotionally, it’s very challenging and I always like a challenge, that kind of thing.

The S&B: As this is your first year, how has it been different playing college tennis versus playing tennis in high school?

BG: Just the community, I guess, that surrounds the team. You have a more invested coach — you have teammates that are just so incredible. I can’t really explain why, but the atmosphere of the team is a lot closer than anything that I experienced in high school. And also traveling is different. You travel for longer periods of time, and there is also the challenge of balancing schoolwork in college. In high school, there really wasn’t any homework to worry about. In college, it’s really about that life of finding ‘when can I work on homework, and when can I not,’ and making sure you’re … satisfying those physical needs, like sleep, but also getting that work done. Finding that time even outside of tennis is such a big time commitment.

The S&B: Given that tennis is big time commitment, are you involved in any other activities at Grinnell?

BG: Not yet. It’s been a month now since I moved on campus, and I think I’ve at least started to find my footing. I want to just get settled in first, fully, before I get myself involved in anything. I don’t want to over-commit myself too early.

The S&B: What has been your favorite part of being on the team so far?

BG: Just the friends I’ve been able to make. They really were amazing to me, especially in the first couple of weeks that I was here [during] that big adjustment. They’re all upper classmen, there’s only one other first-year, so they were just there for me, a stronger they’ve never met before. Now, we’re just a month in, and they are these amazing people that I consider friends now.

The S&B: If you could travel anywhere in the world where would you go?

BG: I would go to London. I visited this past summer, but it was only for a couple of days, and I just loved it there. The history of the United Kingdom and the city … was really just incredible. It’s on the River Thames, and I really have a soft spot for water. It’s a beautiful city, and if I could live anywhere in the world, or just visit even, I would go back.

The S&B: Since you’re from Iowa, did you always know you wanted to go to school close to home?

BG: I did not actually. When it came down to picking Grinnell, I chose Grinnell over a school in Washington D.C., and the biggest reason was because it was so close to home for me. I don’t regret that decision at all. I’m an Iowan who thinks that Iowa is super boring and whatnot, but I love the culture here [at Grinnell] and the people here. It’s amazing to be able to experience it. It feels like a completely different world here, even though I’m so close to home still. I don’t regret it at all. It’s been an amazing experience. I’m still in Iowa, and I don’t mind it at all.

The S&B: Do you have any pets?

BG: No, I don’t, very boring answer. I had a hermit crab in like seventh or eighth grade, and it died on me. It was really creepy because it crawled out of its shell, and then it just died, and I didn’t notice it until a couple days later. It scared me out of my boots. It was terrible. I had my dad go bury it, and I don’t even know whether or not he did. [Hermit crabs] are so high maintenance and so boring.

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