When asked to write a piece on my time at UCLA, I was both honored and humbled.
To simply say my time at UCLA has been amazing would be an insurmountable understatement. In all of my dreams and expectations of the school, I have come to realize UCLA has surpassed them all.
I showed up my freshman year with expectations of being the best student and athlete at the school. I would soon realize that all of my peers also came to this school because they were the best at what they did.
I would say that, more than anything, my past four years have been a learning process that I am forever indebted to the university and athletic department for. I was immediately thrown into a world of constant expectations from myself and others, trying to balance school with golf. Not until my junior year did I really feel that I got the hang of the whole time management thing.
I remember Tuesdays and Thursdays as days that would truly test my character.
From 6 a.m. team breakfast until 6 p.m. team weights, my day was completely packed with practice, class and maybe a 30-minute break if I was lucky. I came to the realization, however, that this busy schedule was not an onerous duty, but rather a privilege.
I was able to walk around the most beautiful campus in the world – challenged by the most demanding academics in the world – and was constantly pushed to my limits by our athletics program.
When I was running between classes, I would always be proud to have my UCLA collard shirt tucked into my slacks. I may have looked out of place, or like I was dressing like an old man, but I was proud to be wearing those four letters because I was living exactly what they stand for: living every day knowing I gave the effort that I could, to paraphrase Mr. John Wooden himself.
If I were to go back, of course I would say I’d like to change some grades or finish a little higher in a tournament or two. But I don’t think I would have learned as much here if it wasn’t for those tribulations. There is no place in the world that can give a student-athlete a better experience. If I were to give any advice to those starting that path, it would be to just embrace every single aspect of your four years, no matter how difficult it may seem.
When I look back on my time in Westwood, it will be only in the most positive light. The friends I have made – not only in athletics but at the university as a whole – will stay with me forever. I cannot wait to see what the future holds because I know I will be able to tackle it thanks to my preparation and experiences at the best university in the entire world, UCLA.
Madey played for UCLA men’s golf from 2015-2019.