"Empowerment To Me Is a Feeling That I Can Conquer Anything I Put My Mind To" - Interview with Collegiate Golfer Sarah White

"There are so many important lessons from golf that can be applied to everyday life. If I could share just one, it would be the importance of carrying on even when things get difficult." - Sarah White

(Photos courtesy of Gannon University and Sarah White)

She's a talented golfer who competes on the women's golf team at Gannon University. She likes to ski, play the violin, and paint. She has goals and a realistic grasp on what it will take to accomplish them. Sarah White is someone you should know, and her journey is filled with grit and determination. At Mace® Brand, we like to recognize those who make a difference in their community, those who inspire others and those who have a positive impact on all of us. That's why we're honored to share Sarah's story. 

HER RECENT SUCCESS

Sarah earned the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference "Athlete of the Year" honor; she is only the second Gannon University golfer to win the award in program history. She averaged a team-best 80.2 over 21 rounds for the Golden Knights. She also helped her team with the conference championship title. As she began her fall semester as a marketing major at Gannon University, Mace® Brand interviewed Sarah about her recent successes and what empowerment means to her.

Congratulations on a very successful first season, and your PSAC athlete of the year honors. What were the keys to your success?

 Sarah: "I knew I had to separate myself from the rest of the playing field, which required putting in the extra work every day to be the kind of player I wanted to be and the teammate Gannon needed.  People always say, 'No days off,' and it’s no joke; perpetual dedication and effort were the key ingredients to my PSAC athlete and freshman of the year honors."

Who inspires you most when it comes to golf? 

 Sarah: "One person who especially inspires me to become a better golfer is my boyfriend, Mark Majewski. He came to the game late, starting his senior year of high school, and is now in the starting lineup for the Gannon Men’s Golf Team. The amount of hard work needed to excel as quickly as he did is very motivating for me. Because he is a native 'Erie-ite' as well, we had the opportunity to play countless rounds of golf at Lawrence Park Golf Club over the long summer break. It is nice that we both have a love for the game and a shared understanding of the dedication required to play at a high level. His attitude toward golf was the revitalization in my game that I needed."             

When did you first realize that golf was your sport?

 Sarah: "I come from a family of golfers, but it wasn’t until I was 11 years old when I started to golf consistently. There is a short but challenging 9-hole course in my hometown called J.C. Martin, where many young players start out playing golf. I can vividly remember being in the pro-shop with my mom at the beginning of summer, considering getting a junior membership for me. She asked me, 'Do you want to do this?' and I responded with a simple 'yes.' Little did I know, saying yes that day would be the beginning of an exciting golf career. From that point on, I golfed almost every day at J.C. Martin.

I first realized golf was my sport when I got more serious about my game in high school. There was more pressure knowing I had the potential of playing collegiate golf."

Who do you admire and why?

 Sarah: "One of the most admirable people in my life is my oldest sister, Erin White. She herself is a very successful golfer, playing Division I golf for Penn State. Not only is she a star golfer with many accolades, but a loving big sister, wife, mother, and one of the hardest working people I’ve ever known. She is a mentor to me because I can always count on her support and advice. Sometimes I think there is a lot on my plate between school, golf, work, and other activities, but she runs the true juggling act, and she does it well. I admire my sister Erin because she is an exemplary example of what it means to be selfless and diligent."

Golf takes a great deal of practice, concentration, discipline, and courage.  Do you find that what you’ve learned in the sport also helps you off the course?

 Sarah: "There are so many lessons from golf that can be applied to everyday life. If I could share just one, it would be the importance of carrying on even when things get difficult. It’s very easy to be hard on myself after a bad shot or hole, but what matters more is the reaction that follows. There is a quote by American basketball coach John Wooden that goes, “Things turn out the best for those who make the best out of the way things turn out.” This mindset is great for both on and off the golf course. Golf has taught me to persevere, which helps me with anything I decide to pursue in life."

What do you like to do when you’re not golfing?

 Sarah: "During the off-season, I enjoy recreational downhill skiing. I picked up the sport in my senior year of high school after joining ski club. I was able to quickly learn to use my edges and keep my balance, which I attribute to my skating abilities as a hockey player growing up. I was taking on the steep hills at the nearest ski resort in no time!

 Another activity I do in my free time is participating in the arts. I have played the violin since I was seven years old. When the opportunity arises to take out my instrument and make music, it always brings me back to a calm and happy place. I also enjoy painting; however, it is hard to find enough time in the day to do it. When I don’t have the time to make my own artwork, I enjoy learning about the different art throughout history.

 A huge part of my life is spending time with my family. I live with my mom and dad and pet Betta fish named Glacier. I have two older sisters, two brother-in-laws, and a niece that all live in my hometown. Even though we do spend a lot of time golfing as a family, we also enjoy doing other things like going for walks, going to church together, and visiting each other for special occasions, (or for no special reason at all).

Finally, when I am not on the course, you can often find me working on homework or studying. Doing well in school means a lot to me, so you’ll never catch me slacking. In addition to school, I am also a marketing intern for an insurance company called Keystone Insurers Group. I have been working for their marketing team for about a year and a half now. I enjoy being able to take what I learn in the classroom and apply it to real-life marketing. Sometimes it can be a lot to balance between school and my internship, but I enjoy the grind."

Your superpower?

 Sarah: "A superpower I possess is my ability to be composed on the golf course. This is crucial to giving my best effort for the entire round."

What does empowerment mean to you?  

 Sarah: "Empowerment to me is a feeling that I can conquer anything I put my mind to."

How do you feel empowered? 

 Sarah: "What empowers me is the team aspect of college golf. I believe golf is an individual sport most of the time, but there is an added purpose to play well when I represent Gannon University. I never want to let my teammates down, which is one reason why I dedicate so much time to practicing. I want to be better for my own gain, but also so that I can be better for them too." 

What journey is next for you?

 Sarah: "I have three goals for the upcoming season: to defend Gannon’s conference (PSAC) championship title, to qualify as an individual for the NCAA DII Nationals, and to qualify for the U.S. Women’s Amateur. To get there, I have to take it one shot at a time."

As Sarah said it best, empowerment is the feeling that you can conquer anything you put your mind to. While it might not be national accolades in college golf, we can all feel empowered in our daily lives. From competing that 5K you've been training for to nailing a presentation at work to teaching your child a new skill, each day offers an opportunity to feel empowered. What will you conquer today? 

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Another story you would enjoy: "I Can't Save Everybody, But I'm Trying To Do What I Can" - Her Empowe (mace.com)

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