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 narrative. For a full list of blog entries, click here.
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October 28, 2016
We’re at the point in the season where time is marked not by weeks or months, but by which opponent we are facing that weekend. To most people, this time of the year might be considered “late October” or “the beginning of fall”— but to the members of the Harvard varsity women’s volleyball team, it’s “second half of Ivies, Penn/Princeton weekend.” This mindset allows us to focus on our next opponent and take the season one game at a time. However, when we’re in the middle of our season, it’s hard to think of anything besides volleyball. It’s a constant fight to keep volleyball from consuming my thoughts, but at a school like Harvard it’s imperative that school occupies at least some of my mental energy. At times this can be both exhausting and frustrating. Even when I’m not in the gym, it takes effort to put volleyball on the back burner and focus on my econometrics problem set or study for an upcoming exam.
That being said, I cherish the little time when I don’t have to focus on volleyball or school. One of the ways I use this “extra” time is by involving myself in a new organization on campus. Camp Kesem is a national organization dedicated to helping children of parents with cancer by providing them with a week long summer camp and support services throughout the year. Despite its growing popularity on other college campuses, this is Harvard’s first year having a chapter. I chose to get involved in this organization because, over the past two and a half years, I have felt like something was missing from my college experience. That missing element was community service. In high school, I had time to be involved in various community service projects throughout my four years, but spare time is much harder to come by as a collegiate student-athlete. Juggling practice, classes, and other extracurriculars has forced me to get creative with the little available time I do have, but I’m so lucky to have found an organization that fits into my busy schedule and fills that void in my college experience.
Last night, our Camp Kesem team hosted one of our first major fundraisers—a Chipotle profit share! The Chipotle managers at the Harvard Square location generously offered to donate 50% of the night’s proceeds to Camp Kesem. After spending the week publicizing the event and recruiting my teammates, sorority sisters, roommates, and strangers to attend, it was finally time to see our hard work pay off. As I trudged towards Chipotle after practice with my teammates in tow, I was pleased to see a line forming out the door and my co-directors drumming up support and collecting donations outside of the store. Though we haven’t received the final numbers, the event was a huge success and turned into a great way to fundraise while enjoying time with friends.
After leaving the fundraiser, I was reminded why I am so lucky to attend a school like Harvard. As a varsity athlete, I am not just allowed but encouraged to pursue my passions that extend beyond the classroom and the volleyball court. Having the time and ability to become involved in extracurricular organizations has been one of the greatest aspects of my time here.
These past three years have flown by, and it’s hard to believe that I’m close to starting my last season as a Harvard student-athlete. As if moving on to the real world wasn’t daunting enough, I’m not sure what I’m going to do when I have to shed my identity as a student-athlete—something I’ve clung to and taken pride in throughout my time at Harvard. Nonetheless, I can begin my last few semesters knowing that the lessons I’ve learned in the classroom, on the court, and elsewhere have made me a well-rounded student athlete and prepared me for the days when I no longer spend my weekends on the fourth floor of the MAC wearing that beloved crimson jersey.