As a freshman coming into the Carnegie Mellon University men's golf program, George Qian brought his experiences with the game of golf not only from his hometown of Bettendorf, Iowa, but also from the Western Academy of Beijing.
Before college and during his time at the Western Academy of Beijing, Qian taught a group of special education students, ages five to 19, the basics of the golf swing once a week.
"It was an incredible experience because I was able to pass along some of the joys of this game to students who are in some ways less fortunate than I am," Qian said. "The experience as a whole really put things in perspective for me and it forced me to realize how lucky I am to have all the opportunities that I do."
While the game of golf in the United States is known as a life-long sport for basically anyone who wants to give it a go, golf in China is seen much differently. In China, golf is recognized more as an upper-class activity than a competitive sport.
"Golf in China is very much a developing sport, but it is growing in both popularity and accessibility," Qian said. "I hope that trend continues and more people get into the game overseas."
Qian who started playing the game of golf when he was eight years old has now been playing for 11 years and thinks the parallels between the game of golf and the game of life is what keeps him focused on his goals.
"My goal is to win our University Athletic Association (UAA) Championship as an individual, become an All-American, and lead our team to nationals," Qian said.
With such respectable goals, it makes it easy to feel the pressure of the game during a rough day out on the course.
"Golf is the most frustrating and rewarding game in the world," Qian said. "There are so many ups and downs and all you can do is focus on what you can control."
"Golf teaches you a lot about how you deal with pressure and frustration," he continued.
Being a part of a team helps reduce the frustration and makes it more fun and more competitive.
"It was a lot of fun getting to know all of my teammates," Qian said. "We all got really close during our spring break trip to Florida and Georgia."
Qian is also hoping to develop stronger relationships between the different athletes and teams at Carnegie Mellon and increase athletic awareness amongst the Pittsburgh campus, which is why he decided to apply for the Student Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC) and will be a member of the 2014-2015 committee.
"I wanted to expand my involvement at Carnegie Mellon beyond just academics and the golf team," Qian said. "I believe SAAC is an excellent way to do that, bridging community involvement and sports."
After his first year, Qian has made an impact on Carnegie Mellon Athletics. His scoring average of 75.8 through 18 rounds was second on the team and he earned All-UAA second-team honors and was named to the 2014 PING Mid-Atlantic Region. In the classroom, Qian registered a cumulative GPA of 4.0 while majoring in business through the Tepper School of Business.