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Colorado Student-Athlete Spotlight: Julie Kim
March 19, 2009

By Nick Bernal
Big 12 Campus Correspondent

Julie Kim, junior golfer for the Colorado women’s team, knows all about difficult moves. 

When she was 14 years old, her family decided to move from Korea to Canada so that her and younger brother could be the beneficiaries of a better education.
“We moved to Canada to study because there is a better education system there than in Korea,” Kim said.  “I got to learn English and better my education.  The move was hard for us because my dad didn’t move with us.  He’s a doctor so he couldn’t just leave, so it was just my mom, my brother and me.  We were only able to see my dad a few times a year.” 

She said that it was always a dream of her father’s for the whole family to be able to go play golf together, and now that dream is a reality. 

Quickly after moving to Canada, Kim and her younger brother began taking golf lessons. She said she quickly discovered her love for the sport and developed a passion to start playing competitively.

Moving from Vancouver, British Columbia, to Boulder was another tough transition for Kim, but for different reasons than her initial move from Korea to Canada.

“Moving to Boulder was hard because I had to move here by myself,” Kim explained.  “I had to leave the comfort of living with my family, and now my brother is at Penn State and my mom moved back to Korea.”

As one could predict, moving from Korea to Canada was not a particularly smooth transition. Likewise, the transition from living at home with your family to living on your own in college can cause some stressful situations as well. When asked which of the major moves in her life was more difficult, Kim had a very interesting answer.

“Coming here was difficult, because being by myself and adjusting to the whole college life thing, I wasn’t really sure what to expect,” Kim said.  “However, Boulder is really similar to Vancouver; whereas the move from Korea to Canada was harder because I didn’t speak any English when we moved.”

Going into the 2009 spring golf season, Kim emphasized that her personal goals are all related to things that will help her improve physically, and that it will then carry over to her game. But, her main goal isn’t to shoot a certain score.

“I just want to get back to playing because I only got to play in five tournaments last year because of my back injury,” Kim said.  “I’m just getting back to everything because it was hard not playing last year.  I am trying not to press myself and to just try to do well on the course, and let it all come back.“

“As for the team, I want us to finish in the top-two or three at the Big 12 tournament and hopefully qualify for the divisional round.”

When asked how her injury was progressing, Kim said that it was a lot better than last year, but she is not out of the woods yet and is continuing to go through rehab.

“It’s an ongoing thing,” Kim said.  “I have two bulging discs in my lower back and I’ve had to do a lot of rehab.  I still can’t run or lift weights, so I’m just taking everything as it comes.”

Kim’s approach to the game she loves is a refreshing change of pace from the more common approach where athletes tend to place too much emphasis on immediate gratification and too little on the big picture. 

She realizes that she has missed significant time and her immediate goal is to get healthy and play the best golf she can.  Focused on laying a solid foundation for the rest of her golfing career, both at CU and after, is more important than putting too much pressure on herself to return to top form too quickly. Then again, after going through some of the transitions she’s gone through in her life, it’s easy to see how she can see the big picture so clearly.

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