Returning to GoCrimson.com for a second season, "Around The Yard: Life As A Harvard Student-Athlete" explores life away from the playing fields for select Harvard student-athletes through their own first-person narrative. For a full list of blog entries, click here.
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April 20, 2016
I remember when I first committed to attend Harvard University the joy and happiness that my family, community, and I were filled with. It was a dream come true especially growing up in Cicero and Berwyn where things are tough for students and often many are found to not even attend college due to negative influences in the neighborhood and a simple lack of effort. Yet, here I am now with a few weeks left until I finish my first year at Harvard University as a student-athlete. Harvard has been everything I expected and more, and every day I am thankful to be able to attend the #1 school in the world as many call it. I always believed I could achieve great things regardless of not growing up in the best of environments, and luckily today I can say I am on one of the best paths available to achieve success. None of this could have been attained without the help of God, my family, coaches, and community that truly showed an immense amount of support for me. Knowing I had a large community counting on me not only put stress on me, but truly put positive pressure on me as well. The main question I asked myself was if I would be able to succeed here at Harvard. Could I survive all the challenges and persevere knowing the difficulties that awaited me not only as a student, but as an athlete as well?
With only a few weeks left in my first year I am happy to say that I have conquered many obstacles and the once intimidating thought of being at Harvard is no longer a factor. One person that has truly helped in that is Coach Amaker. He always gives us guidance and support knowing that we face many challenges in the classroom. One thing that he has said that has stuck with me is, “We are going to train it, then we are going to trust it.” Although he mentions this while speaking of work between the lines on the basketball court, I realized as my time here has progressed that it is something that I can relate to in the classroom as well. I’ve worked so hard my whole life and put in countless hours of work in the classroom so in one sense this is a form of training. And now that I am here at the prestigious Harvard University, I realize that it is time to keep trusting myself and to truly believe that I have worked hard for this. Being an athlete here has been a blessing and I’ve experienced things I could never have even dreamed of. But being a student has added a whole other dimension.
Forming friendships and new connections with individuals here has been one of the most exciting things for me. From meeting people from across the country to someone across the world, it truly has been memorable. Coming in I had a fear of not fitting in due to the differences regarding my background, but now that I am here I see that the community at Harvard truly takes in all people with open arms. I have been blessed beyond measure for having the opportunity to attend this place while coming from a lower economic class and an immigrant family. With my first year as a student coming to a close soon, I am eager to see what the future holds. With support from God, my family, my basketball family, and my Harvard family I know I can achieve anything.