Written by Kaya van der Horst
Thanks to competitive fencing, the airport has become familiar ground for sophomore Allison Cheng. With com-petitions spread all over the country, Cheng has traveled to over 15 states since she started competing four years ago.
Fencing tournaments can typically last up to around four days in length with each individual event lasting a day each. “It’s just a great experience to have friends from all over the country,” Cheng said. “It’s really great to connect because you both share the same passion.” With the upcoming 2016 Summer Olympics, she has been able to meet top athletes from around the world who have come to train at the club.
Meets can occur as frequently as every two weeks but busy schedules can make it hard to attend. “A lot of times I can’t go as often because of school and prior commitments, so I travel out-of-state at least once a month,” she said.
Tournaments have brought her to cities such as Cleveland and Baltimore, allowing her to gain a new perspective. “It’s definitely an eye-opener to go outside of the Palo Alto bubble because a lot of cities are actually very different,” she said.
However, with homework, piano and ten hours of fenc- ing training per week, balancing school with traveling can prove to be a challenge. “It can be stressful sometimes be- cause even with just one day [of school] you end up missing two to three tests.”
Aside from honing valuable skills such as time management acquired through frequent travels, Cheng has learned that communicating one’s needs with one’s teachers is key. While many of her classmates would most likely prepare for an upcoming test within their own four walls, Cheng is no stranger to literally taking study sessions to higher levels. “A lot of times you have to learn to finish your work on the airplane and you’ll get home that night, and have a test the next day,” she said.