Around The Yard: Aakanksha Vora

Returning to GoCrimson.com for a third 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 narrativeFor a full list of blog entries, click here.

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Aakanksha Vora
September 22, 2016

Like hundreds of students, alums and faculty, I too am going to say ‘I found my home at Harvard.’ The first thing that comes to mind when someone says home is ‘family’ and for the few weeks that led up to my arrival on campus, I was anxious whether I would fit into a new culture coming from miles away and how I’d deal being away from my family and friends back home. But all those worries vanished the moment I stepped on campus.

I was immediately embraced by other international students as I participated in FIP, the pre-orientation program for international students. My FIP Parents, Lenny and Julia and my seven incredible brothers and sisters from around the world were grouped together as a family. Together we navigated our way through college life, American culture and the beautiful city of Boston in the four-day long pre-orientation program for international students. While each group was referred to as a family, during the course of the program I developed such a strong bond with them that they are nothing short of family to me now. Our Sunday dinners are still one of my favorite and most humbling experiences at Harvard because I learn something new about each one of them every time we get together.

After the high-octane pre-orientation program came move-in day, where I met a second family- my roommates. It’s hard to feel homesick, when you come back at the end of a long day to a place that feels like home. And it’s each of my five roommates’ that make our suite in Weld feel like a home. There’s not a day that goes by where they haven’t put a smile on my face, simply by being themselves and inspiring me without even having to say anything. I‘m so lucky to call them my family and know that they’ll always stand by me when I need them the most.

But the people that really made me realize that Harvard is my home and that this is where I belong are my teammates on HWSD. It’s not everyday that you come across a group of thirty-five very unique women coming together in such perfect synchrony all in pursuit of one goal. These women are able to create an environment that is challenging and pushes each individual to be a better person everyday, yet one that fosters trust and camaraderie. I am so inspired by what they do and so humbled by their kindness and acceptance despite their innumerable accomplishments. To my coaches and teammates, I learn something new from you’ll everyday and feel so blessed to be a part of the HWSD family.

It may take only one family to make a home, but at Harvard I found three remarkable families that encourage and support me in their own way and it’s because of them that I can say that I’ve never felt more at home. It’s the people that make the Harvard experience so unique, and I am so grateful to all the those I’ve met over the last four weeks for what I’ve learnt from them and also to those back home that helped so I could live my dream here at Harvard.