When Marissa King was about 11 years old, she and a few friends put their hopes and dreams, including where they saw themselves in 10 years, down on paper. They put the slips of paper into a shoebox and haven’t opened it since.
King, a senior and geography and telecommunications major on the University of Florida gymnastics team, is planning to open it with those friends after she graduates – in the summer of 2013.
“I really had no idea I’d be here,” King said on being at UF.
Although she will be graduating soon, the experience the Great Britain native obtained from her collegiate career will stick to her like she sticks a dismount: proud, prominent and passionate.
Even with many lifestyle changes she has faced coming to the United States to compete for the University of Florida and a hectic schedule, King said she’s loved being a Gator.
“I’ve grown up a lot. Coming over here was such a huge transition. I’ve had to learn so many things, not only just in the gym and learning about collegiate gymnastics, (but) growing as a person transitioning over here and learning to adapt with living in a new environment and a new culture,” King said.
King said her brother has made fun of her for picking up an “American twang” when she speaks, but her English accent returns when she is around her family.
“As a freshman, it was really difficult to kind of get used to not having my family here at all. But now as a senior I’ve kind of gotten used to them not here,” said King.
Her family may have been across the pond, but they know what she has accomplished, and she has achieved many accolades in her career with the Gators, even if all the awards are difficult sometimes to track.
“I don’t even know what they mean half the time. I hear All-SEC and I’m like ‘that’s cool.’” King said on awards.
King, a leader on the team as one of four seniors for 2013, said her biggest priority, as well as the team’s, is winning the first NCAA Championship for Florida gymnastics.
“I’m definitely more of a vocal leader, but we don’t have one leader,” she said. “Being the upperclassmen, having gained so much experience over the last couple years, it was very exciting to come back.”
King made the jump from the U.K. to the U.S. not knowing how she would respond. But, she has undoubtedly stuck the landing.