By Emilia Migliaccio
When I was a junior golfer, my dream was to become the number one ranked player on the LPGA. It was a dream I pursued with relentless ambition, and the best dream I could have chased. My journey was full of unforeseen opportunities and challenges. I learned at a young age how to prioritize, how to deal with setbacks, and how to perform under pressure. This level of dedication, highly encouraged by my mom, allowed me to travel around the world to compete in the most elite tournaments with the highest level of competition, and to be selected multiple times for the USA National team.
At the time I thought the path to my dream was linear. I would play junior golf, proceed to Division I college golf, and then have a successful professional career. Little did my fourteen-year-old self know that my life was going to look quite different.
In January 2021 when I was a senior at Wake Forest University, I decided not to turn professional. During this time I understood I needed something more than my golf game to identify with.
This realization created two incredible opportunities: I became a writer for Golf Channel where I highlighted and still continue to highlight stories on the LPGA and amateur golf, and I applied for graduate school at Wake Forest to get my masters degree in Communication.
Working for Golf Channel has allowed me to step outside of my personal golf world and capture other golfers’ stories. Graduate school has given me a newfound appreciation for learning that requires an admirable level of dedication similar to how I train in golf. I also decided to use my Covid eligibility year starting in the Fall of 2022 to play at Wake Forest during my second year of graduate school.
Some people may say that I quit on my dream, but it’s actually the opposite. It’s because of my dream to be the best player in the world that I became successful in multiple areas within golf, which opened the door for countless opportunities, and I know more will continue to come.
My advice to you: aim for the highest degree of excellence, but don’t restrict yourself to one path. Whatever you decide to do, as long as you strive to be excellent, you will live a fulfilling life.