Studying in America and playing squash: Ilya Pressman is a student at Cornell University

Studying in America and playing squash: Ilya Pressman is a student at Cornell University

Presman Ilya - is one of the first Ukrainian juniors to conquer America with his perseverance, perseverance and squash game. For several years, the athlete has been successfully studying at the private Cornell University, which is one of the eight educational institutions of the Ivy League.

Hello, Ilya. I know you're studying at Cornell University, what course did you complete?

- Graduated from the 3rd year.

Remember how you went to university in America?

- Yes, I applied in the winter 1.5 years before studying at the university. Now it all starts in the fall, almost 2 years before school.

I started writing emails to coaches in the winter (all email addresses are on the sites). Not everyone answered - this is normal. Keep a life hack from Ilya: "If the coach does not answer, I would advise you to wait 10 days and write again, if the coach does not answer a second time - write a third, no more."

When I first started writing for coaches, I really wanted to get to Columbia, Yale or Dartmouth University. I started taking exams in the winter (two ACT and SAT exams). At that time, SAT just released a new version of the exam (which everyone is now taking). No one knew what to expect from SAT and everyone passed the ACT. I passed 3 times, the maximum score I scored was 32 out of 36. I started training when I wrote to the coaches. I recommend starting training in advance. The more time - the easier.

How was the procedure for submitting documents and the exams themselves?

- The documents themselves are submitted in the fall of the year before the start of training through the Common App website. There is one general essay (cover letter) about yourself and each university has its own topics for additional essays. If the coach promised a place in the team, then you are most likely already on the radar of those who read essays and you are taken 99%.
It was not possible to get to Columbia, Yale and Dartmouth, and Cornell did not have a coach at that time and no one could write. In general, it so happened that David (coach) appeared a week before the deadline for submission of documents and he did not guarantee a place in the team, but promised to help.

It is worth noting that when you send documents to US universities, you can apply to:

- Early Decision to one university. Everyone who gets a place on the team submits documents through Early Decision in November and receives a response in early December.
- Regular Decision - by January 1 and expect answers in late March.

As a result, I applied for an Early Decision in Cornell and was not immediately accepted or rejected - I decided to consider my documents with other Regular Decision documents. In this situation, applying to one university, the chances are not great, and I applied to 10+ universities. As a result, when David got used to his position, in February he promised me a place in the team. In the first days of March I received an unofficial confirmation that I was being taken, and at the end of the month - an official one.

From this whole story, I would recommend a few things:

1) write emails to coaches as early as possible;
2) prepare for ACT / SAT as soon as possible;
3) each university conducted its squash camps and visits. I would recommend meeting the coach in person: either through a camp, or through a visit to campus (you spend the night and train with the team for a day), or at a tournament (many coaches go to the US Junior Open);
4) well, of course to improve in squash. The level is very high now!

How did you find out about David? Was there information on the site that he should be a coach in the near future?

- Just learned from the article on the site - no one had information.

Were you in Ukraine at the time of submitting the documents?

- I studied and played at school in the United States.

So you have been living abroad since an early age?

- I entered school in the United States after 9th grade and finished 10th-12th grade here. Schools also have their own league. I finished 9th grade in Kyiv.

You've been in the US for a long time, like you in this country, do you like it, don't you miss home?

- In the USA I like everything very much, although I got used to it for a long time. My parents and friends live in Ukraine and I miss them.

Don't you plan to go back after graduation?

- "I don't know for sure yet." I am currently undergoing an internship at an American company, and will graduate from university next spring. If you manage to return to the company after an internship and graduation - it will be a very good experience.

I'm sure you will succeed)) What specialty do you study?

- Thank you. My general direction is business, and my specialty is finance.

Tell us about the university squash team. What is the atmosphere like in the team, maybe you are going somewhere together or do you have traditions?

- We have a large and friendly team. This year we lived with friends in the house. Since my enrollment, the team has changed a lot. A new coach came, new standards for the team. From year to year the team gets better and better. The coach puts a lot of emphasis on physical training: the gym, running on the track, and of course, court sprints. The coach did a lot of them when he played. Now, after each workout, we run 100 court sprints at a time (at best). The coach also loves the "beep test".

How do you train, how many times a day and a week do you do?

- Mandatory training every day after training for 1.5-2 hours, including Saturday. On Sunday we also gather on the courts, but we have training on bicycles and stretching. Additionally, we have morning workouts: individually or in small groups. I study 2-3 times a week in the morning with my studies. Additionally - almost all days in the team. When the season starts and we have matches every weekend, everything changes. Every Saturday-Sunday for 2-3 matches and we need to recover until the next weekend - we do less physical training, more work on game moments.
As for travel, we have an off-season - right after the New Year and until January 14. There was a meeting in Florida this year.

And how is the relationship with the coach?

- The relationship with the coach is the best. I was one of the first players to get a place on the team under his leadership and was with him almost from the beginning. We are very close friends and communicate. In terms of squash, I think David is the best coach in the world, without exaggeration. Under his leadership, Shorbagi set a PSA record and won almost all tournaments of the season. We also often have players from the TOP-100 who train with David. For 3 years I played with Mo Shorbagi, Saurov Gousal, Miguel Rodriguez and several other players in the TOP-100. According to the rules, they cannot officially train with us, but you can play with them in additional classes.

I think it is worth noting that the training process does not always go smoothly, because there are personal problems and exams at the university. As a rule, exams in all subjects are taken within two weeks and you can fall out of the training mode because of them.

How do you manage to combine training and learning? Do you have free time - to go somewhere to rest, to meet friends?

- Yes, on weekends there is almost always time and in the evening as well. The first semester is the most difficult, but when you get used to it and know in advance how much time this or that task / training takes, it becomes easier to plan and there is more time for everything.

And what do you usually do in your free time?

- Nothing special I spend time with friends, walk, watch movies, play Fifa on PlayStation, play chess, read books, love to cook. Now he started running every day in quarantine.

How has quarantine affected your training and learning, are you on campus all the time?

- Yes, I was on campus all the time. From March 11, the campus was completely closed, including all sports facilities. At first I practiced at home, did basic exercises, then my friends - from the tennis team - and I started running every day on the street and on the track. As a result, I remained in normal shape, but I miss squash. As for classes - everything was online.

Haven't resumed training yet?

- I'm in America - it's still closed here. I continue to practice on my own. Probably not: everything is closed in the place where I am (Brooklyn). Other states are slowly opening up.

Share your experience, maybe give advice to applicants, or tell some interesting story)

- History: as I said, I went to school in the United States. The announcement of a new coach came 10 days before the deadline for submission of documents. My friend wanted to visit Cornell because he also applied to this university (he doesn't play squash). As soon as David was announced, I started writing him emails. The coach did not respond to my letters, apparently he just accepted the offer and did not even have access to mail. At this time, my friend and I decided to go to Cornell on our own for the weekend, look at the campus, and see me with the coach - since he does not answer.
As a result, we drove 7-8 hours by car. Arrived and it turned out that David is not even at university yet, he has 2 weeks free to move to Ithaca (the city where Cornell is). I was very upset, my friend and I did not rent a hotel, and went to bed in a dormitory on sofas in the common area. Everyone passed by us and no one understood what was happening.

The next morning I still managed to contact David by phone. One of my friends from India, whom I met at the tournament, visited a squash camp with David and he gave me his number. I called him in the morning, explained the situation, I still managed to play with the team and meet with the director of sports at the university. That's the story.

After that, we normalized contact with David by email, he did not give any confirmation for a long time, and I continued to write to him every 2 weeks, finding out if there are any updates. And in 2 months the letter with confirmation came.

For anyone who wants to play in the United States, I would recommend being persistent and persistent. Our team has a principle - "be stubborn" - be stubborn

I can always tell you if someone is interested in something - write to Messenger or mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Thank you for your time and interesting interview, we wish you success and inspiration to go forward and win!

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