ONTO the next phase of life.

After graduating from William Woods University – a college in the US, just over two months ago, Traralgon’s Ben Grumley has spoken on his experience and what he plans to do next.

Grumley made the decision to leave Traralgon and go on the college experience of a lifetime, travelling to Missouri, USA to study and play tennis at William Woods University.

The Traralgon export quickly became an integral part of the tennis team, eventually becoming captain as he progressed up the ranks.

Study wise, Grumley leaves college with a degree in Exercise Science with a concentration in Human Performance, minoring in Sports Management.

“Graduating college was bitter-sweet,” he said.

“I’m super happy to have my degree and take the next step, but (I’m) definitely going to miss the people who I’ve become super close to over the last four years.”

Celebration: Ben Grumley flanked by family and friends. (From left to right) Maddy Bunter, Josh Grumley, Susie Grumley, Ben Grumley, Emily Grumley, Sophie Grumley, and Mikayla Sertori. Photograph: Ben Grumley/Instagram

With four years of college experiences under his belt, Grumley is sure to have a plethora to pick from, but over all else he believes his experience was extra special.

“My college experience was everything I could’ve asked for… I’m super lucky to have had the college experience on and off the court that I did,” Grumley said.

“I didn’t know what to expect when I first got there, and I was joining a team that was already well-established. They accepted me straight away as part of the family.”

Things quickly progressed for Grumley, as the school quickly reached the highest highs in its history, and he was a part of it.

“We started with success (in) my freshman year and then continued to build on that to have the highest nationally ranked tennis team in the school’s history,” Grumley said.

“I met some amazing people on and off the court that I know will be a part of my life forever… I was able to meet so many people from countries all around the world that I’m able to call friends and have experiences that I would have never of thought I (could).”

University taught Grumley to grab a hold of the opportunities that came his way. Those experiences saw him develop exponentially as a person he believes.

“The main thing I learnt throughout my time was to just take the leap and enjoy the moment. Moving halfway across the world was really tough, and I miss my family every day,” Grumley said.

“The experiences that I’ve had and the personal growth over the last four years are second to none.”

Having to say goodbye to William Woods University – his home for four years – was tough, but he knew that he could find equal opportunity outside of it, making new experiences along the way.

“William Woods will always be a special place for me. I think the best move at the moment is to get away and gain some new experience somewhere else,” he said.

Continuing that trend of taking every opportunity that comes his way, Grumley will now take his talents to Texas, to work in an assistant role at a Division 2 tennis program.

“My plan is to move to Texas. I recently accepted a Graduate Assistant role at Lubbock Christian University,” Grumley announced.

“There, I’ll be their assistant coach of the men’s and women’s tennis team, while also completing my Master’s Degree in Exercise Science and Kinesiology.

“I’ll also continue to practise and play every chance possible.”

Despite enjoying his time in the US, Grumley finds it hard to be away from home, having spent about the last five years doing so.

Now that he is not tied down to college as a student, he may have more flexibility to visit his hometown more often.

“I’m really lucky to have great people in both places that I can count on whenever I need,” he said.