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Liza's Lessons

Second installment

Purdue incoming freshman and recent Snider graduate Liza Clemons agreed to give readers and fans an inside peek at what it's like to make the transition from high school student to college student-athlete at one of the country's best schools and one of the nation's most competitive women's basketball programs.

Here's another installment of her blog, exclusive to The Journal Gazette.

Second installment

With the Europe trip coming up, I can't help but have that on my mind all day, every day. So I force myself to remember that classes and my grades come first. We will spend about five days in Prague while also seeing other parts of the Czech Republic, two days in Slovakia and about two days in Austria. We will play four games but there is plenty of sightseeing scheduled for us as well.

My summer school experience has been really good for me. My human development class was fun and not too hard, right from the start. On the other hand, my psych class was a bit of a challenge. After about two exams I decided to get a tutor, not because I was failing the class, I just wanted to make sure that I was able to get the best grade possible, and I knew that I would need some tutoring help to accomplish that. Some of the concepts were difficult to understand, and I found the vocabulary challenging. My tutor helped me to understand those words and concepts and how to put them into real-life situations. My grades improved after getting help from my tutor which is always great! Now all that is left are finals.

In order for the team to prepare for our games in Europe and since we won't practice while we're there, the NCAA allows 10 team practices before our departure on Aug. 5. We've had to fit the practices around our coaches' summer recruiting schedules, so we had our first practice on July 18. When our first practice came around, I didn't know what to expect. I found out practice was going to be three hours, and I my thought was "how am I going get through this?" I was not use to three-hour practices, but the time went by quickly. Everything is fast paced and Coach Versyp keeps us on schedule. All of our practices are intense and hard work, but we keep each other motivated and push each other to work hard no matter what. Practices are a lot more fun when you know you're practicing to go to Europe! When our first practice was over I was thinking to myself that it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.

Part of the reason for that is because I had a great AAU coach, Coach Gregory, who pushed me and knew what he was talking about when it came to preparing for the next level. I am really thankful to Coach Gregory! He kept pushing me to be the very best and I can honestly say he made me a better person. If you have a coach like that, you know it can be frustrating at times, but it's important to remember that they are only trying to make you better. So, instead of complaining, just tell your coaches thank you. Thank you Coach G!

August 5th is right around the corner. With less than a week to go, myself and my teammates are all getting excited and cannot wait. It really hasn't hit me yet that I'll be spending 10 days in another part of the world, but I'm pretty sure when I get on that plane in Chicago that it will sink in. I am not good with car rides or airplane flights, especially ones that will last 12 hours, because I have a tendency to suffer from motion sickness. But I'm pretty sure when we land I'm going to be even more excited. This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I know that I will learn and grow as a person from the opportunity to experience other cultures.

Of all the places we're going to visit, the most important one to me is our visit to the Terezin Concentration Camp outside of Prague. My senior English teacher taught us about the Holocaust and did such a good job that I wanted to learn more about it. When I saw that we going to a former concentration camp, I knew it was a special opportunity to visit a tragic site that is an important part of world history. I told my teacher I would bring her some pictures back, so Ms. Whitman, if you are reading this, you will be getting pictures and thank you so much for being a great teacher! I could go on all day about this Europe trip, but I have a final paper to write. So you will have to get on purduesports.com and read about our experience in Europe from Aug. 5 to 15.

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