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ACADEMIC INTEGRATION & COMPETITIVE EXCELLENCE

IN DIVISION I ATHLETICS

Around The Yard: Dan Stevens


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.

For more student blogs from Harvard Admissions, click here.


Dan Stevens
October 21, 2016

As a senior, the last three years and change at Harvard have presented incredible opportunities to learn and grow both as a student, and as a person. Part of what I enjoy about the college is that each person has a unique story to tell, complete with different backgrounds and experiences. Among the aspects that make me who I am today is my last four summers as a Newport Beach Ocean Lifeguard.

As a guard, I’ve seen and dealt with rescues in enormous surf, spinals, seizures, and much more. Perhaps the most rewarding aspect of being a guard is the tangible difference one can make in another’s life. Some of the most insane calls I’ve encountered have been at The Wedge. Haven’t heard of it? Google it, and look at the pictures. That’s the beach where I’ve had the privilege of spending the last few summers – and it’s practically in my own back yard.

However, each major call on the beach requires an incredible amount of teamwork. Each guard involved must mitigate risk, communicate precisely, and act decisively in quite literally life-threatening situations. We each also must (quickly) learn that we cannot change situations presented to us, but we can change how we adapt to them. The sense of teamwork and resilience shared among NBLG lifeguards is tremendous, and has undoubtedly contributed toward my personal view of teamwork as a member of the Harvard Men’s Water Polo team.

Learning those lessons have helped carry me through my experience at Harvard. Of course it is a challenging environment; what matters is how each of us responds to the pressures. This week, I have a typical workload, plus three midterms, and a water polo trip out to California to cut the week short. My freshman year, this might have been overwhelming. Now, each test or bit of work is simply a chance to prove what I know, and see how I can improve. Panic eludes me because honestly, I’ve learned that it doesn’t do anything to help me. The only stress I’ve learned to allow myself is that which guides me to do the best I can do, whatever the situation. This applies to school work, to water polo games, and to those whose lives are entrusted to me on the beach each summer. As Marcus Aurelius once said, “If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.” I think that this lesson is the single biggest takeaway that I’ve had from Harvard and Harvard Athletics. 

 

ACADEMIC INTEGRATION & COMPETITIVE EXCELLENCE

IN DIVISION I ATHLETICS