Thriving in transition

It was 77 days ago that I put on my Stanford jersey for the last time and played in the Final Four.

Eight days later, I arrived at my new home, literally. I was drafted No. 1 to the Connecticut Sun at Mohegan Sun Arena.

And 32 days later, I officially played in my first game as a professional athlete in the WNBA.

The past few months have been a time of transitions, from moving across the country to adjusting to new teammates, but I have absolutely no complaints! I love my new life!

The start of the season has been a roller coaster, full of ups and downs. We've had some hard-fought wins and some tough losses. But above all, the most rewarding part is feeling like we are coming together as a team. I have never met someone as fiercely competitive as Katie Douglas. Or as selfless as Kelsey Griffin. Or as springy as Alley Hightower. Or as quick as Renee Montgomery. I am fortunate to be on a team with all of these pieces, plus many more. Our strength is in our numbers, and I look forward to seeing how we continue to improve and make a push toward playoffs.

The highlight of this season so far was not basketball related. On Father's Day, I graduated from Stanford University. First of all, I have to thank my organization for allowing me to go. There are going to be plenty of games in my lifetime, but only one undergraduate graduation. Nonetheless, it was a perfect day! My whole family was in attendance, along with a couple of extended family members. (A special thanks to the Nwamuo and Rantz families.) At Stanford, we have a unique commencement tradition called the Wacky Walk in which all students can dress up in costumes. While my closest friends dressed up as Mario Cart characters, I wore nerd glasses and an embellished cap.

Courtesy of Chiney Ogwumike

Bill and Melinda Gates spoke at our 123rd commencement, reminding us to "take your genius and your optimism and your empathy and go change the world."

Afterward I participated in the graduation ceremony for my international relations major and received my diploma from my mentor and friend, Dr. Condoleezza Rice. It was a perfect day.

Dr. Rice was the first person to truly inspire me to pursue my passions, on and off the court. As a result, I studied abroad in Nigeria and recently, along with my sister, launched a fundraiser with UNICEF. We are challenging youth basketball teams to raise money for girls’ education and empowerment in Nigeria! I firmly believe that we, as professional athletes, have to use our platform positively to inspire and create opportunities for others.

If you are interested in learning more, check out the link here.

To keep up with me day to day, follow me on Twitter and Instagram: @Chiney321, or like my official athlete Chiney Ogwumike Facebook page.