Who are you ?
My name is Julia Tournant, I am 22 years old, I grew up in Paris and I am the third of a family of four children.
I am a student in the Master of Science and Technology in Data Science for Business, a 2-year course in partnership with HEC.
Prior to my MSc studies, I earned a Bachelor's degree in Mathematics and Computer Science from Northwestern University in Chicago, where I was a student athlete for four years.
What was your reaction after winning the French University Golf Championship?
I am very happy to have won and honored to have represented Ecole Polytechnique during this championship.
I'm especially happy with the quality of my game, which reflected in my scores (72-70-69) and satisfied with the way I managed my week by focusing on my own game rather than on the competition. I am also glad to have made my first hole-in-one during the first round of the tournament!
How long have you been playing golf?
This sport has always been part of my daily life. I started playing at the age of 5 at the Racing Club in Versailles and participated in my first tournaments around the age of 7.
I immediately enjoyed playing competitively; this allowed me to improve rapidly and I quickly became one of the best French players in my age category.
What skills have you acquired through this sport?
Golf has taught me to focus, channel my emotions, but also to persevere and organize myself when deadlines approach in order to perform well.
These skills are useful in many areas of my life. By practicing a high-level sport, I have realized that all aspects of preparation are important and that there is room for improvement in each of these aspects. We can always keep improving, which allows us to be competent in the long term.
My studies have also helped me in my game: I am able to reason better and therefore make better decisions on the course. Golf relies a lot on game strategy: decision making is important because one has to choose the best shot at any given time in order to score well.
Hasn't the competitive universe in which you have been surrounded you were young led you to put too much pressure on your studies?
I never put too much pressure on myself in terms of academic results. The further I got into my studies, the better the students around me were. Over the years, I have learned to focus on what I had to do without comparing myself too much.
I am aware that nobody can excel in all areas, so one has to accept it and realize that such a goal is neither productive nor beneficial!
Have you ever thought about quitting sports?
Until now, I have never had to ask myself this question. When I was a student in the United States, I was able to combine high-level sports and higher education, even though it was very intense. I was curious about the best level I could reach and that's why I left. If I had not obtained a sports scholarship to go there, I would have joined a preparatory class and would have been forced to stop playing golf, at least temporarily.
What advice would you give to students who wish to combine higher education and high-level sport?
I think the ideal is to integrate a structure in which sport is important. Otherwise, the two activities may become very difficult to combine in the long run.
If it is not possible to join a school that allows students to practice a sport at a high level while studying, I think it is better to prioritize and make a choice to better prepare for the future.
What are your ambitions for the future?
I am currently doing an end-of-first-year Master's internship at DREEM - a French company that combines technology and scientific knowledge on sleep. Practicing a high-level sport has raised my awareness on the subject of health and the Tech sector has always interested me. I would therefore like to work into the field of digital health in the future.
As far as golf is concerned, I haven’t set myself a specific goal. I keep practicing regularly and participate in competitions in order to keep a sense of the game and continue to score well.