To say that Reeham Sedky handles a busy schedule would be an understatement. After just returning from a squash tournament in Seattle and right before her afternoon training, Reeham Sedky met with Street to talk about her passion for squash, her computer science major, and her experiences at Penn.
Hometown: Seattle, Washington
Major: Computer Science
Activities: Squash, FemmeHacks
34th Street Magazine: What does playing squash mean to you?
Reeham Sedky: Growing up, I was really active. I loved experimenting with all sports, like swimming, squash, and tennis. In the end, I had to choose one because maintaining all these different sports was going to be hard. I chose squash because I found more passion in it. I also knew, for my body type, that squash was a better option because for swimming, you have to be super tall and super long. Now squash gives me a break from life. It’s my favorite two to four hours every day.
Street: How’s a day like in your life?
RS: It’s pretty packed. I wake up around six or seven and condition in the morning for one or two hours. I tend to have all morning classes because I work better in the morning. In the afternoon, I go to squash training, but now I have to go to Drexel because they closed Penn’s squash courts for renovation. I go to study when I come back from squash and try to get everything done before midnight.
Street: Do you always go to sleep by midnight?
RS: I try to. For squash, recovery is as important as actual game.
Street: What has squash taught you?
RS: Time management for sure. And perseverance. It’s really easy for us to just put the racket on the wall and give up. There’s obviously those times when you are not happy with your performance. And squash has taught me that, despite those times, you learn a lot from them.
Street: Have you ever faced a bottleneck in playing squash?
RS: During my freshman year of college, it was really hard to transition from my high school schedule. I got to know how to do everything on my own, but it was also hard to find friends and make sure that, as a freshman, I was okay to the team. So my squash of that year was not the best. During the summer of my freshman year, my dad reminded me that squash is what I was good at and it’s my passion. I also traveled a lot during the summer, which gave me a new clean start.
Street: What made you choose computer science as a major?
RS: I knew I was going into something math and science related because I always loved them in high school. My dad is in the computer science field and I always saw what he did with Amazon and Microsoft, which was really cool. I wasn’t sure if I was gonna be in computer science my first year, so I was trying out everything to see what I liked. Later, I really liked CIS 110. I enjoyed the satisfaction of code, what you can get out of it and the logic of problem solving behind it.
Street: What’s your plan after Penn?
RS: My plan is to put aside work and do professional squash for a couple of years until work takes me. I’m really into sports analysis and will try to find something with computer science that analyzes sports performance, whether that’s through Nike or Fitbit.
Street: Can you name a few countries that you have been to for squash tournaments?
RS: Canada (both coasts!), Brazil, Peru, Namibia, South Africa, Egypt, France, Poland, England, Netherlands, Qatar, and I’m going to China on Friday for the World Championships. It’s been all over the place.
Street: How do you balance school work while traveling abroad?
RS: There are lots of emails sent to professors, letting them know the classes I’m missing. If that’s not okay with them, then I have to drop the class. I’m lucky because my major is computer science, which you can do everything for on your laptop.
Street: How does squash play a role in your Egyptian heritage?
RS: The biggest sport in Egypt is squash. It’s cool to be connected back to my roots, knowing that the sport I play is really big in my country. I made a lot of friends from Egypt at my squash tournaments, so interacting with them is like my connection to back home.
Street: What’s your favorite moment at Penn?
RS: Every year in Philadelphia, there’s a tournament called the US Open. It’s a huge deal on the Drexel courts. I was able to play in it my junior year in front of my friends and my parents. It was very memorable, even though I lost that match.
There are two types of people at Penn…
The egocentric and the laid–back.
If you didn’t play squash, what would you play?
Track & Field.
What’s your guilty snack?
What do you want to say to your freshman self?
No matter what, it gets better.
What are some misconceptions people have about squash?
Squash isn’t a big thing in the US. So whenever I say squash, people would say, “The vegetable?” We don’t use squash in squash. Another thing: it’s not “tennis against a wall.” I don’t want to be compared to tennis. Squash is its own sport.