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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March 23, 2017
This truly is one of the more incredible places in the world.
We hear so frequently how fortunate we are to attend a university like Harvard. How by simply being here, we are provided with numerous opportunities after graduation. People tell us that we are the future innovators, politicians, consultants, activists and lawyers that will lead and shape our world. Each week we spend hours studying, rehearsing and practicing, anxiously working for the benefit of our future selves. So much emphasis is put on our future that it tends to invalidate the value of the present.
Over the last two months, a few members of the Harvard Baseball team enrolled in weekly yoga classes through the Counseling and Mental Health department. Many of us initially joined the class to improve flexibility and decrease stress, in hopes for a better performance on the diamond. Yet our experience presented us with so much more than we originally expected. The lessons provided us with a tangible sense of clarity, perspective and gratitude to combat the systemic grind of a student-athlete’s schedule. Each week, our instructor would begin the lesson by talking about the value of the present, and the re-contextualization of discomfort. Instead of avoiding discomfort, she advised, we should actively choose to embrace it.
We would finish the lesson feeling not only relaxed and stretched, but also grounded. The feeling wasn’t long-lived, but for a few minutes we were able to put practice, exams, problem sets and date events on the back-burner to be content with where we were – at one of the greatest institutions in the world, surrounded by some of the sharpest minds and talents the world has ever known.
This truly is one of the more incredible places in the world – if you treat it like one. But making something of Harvard doesn’t necessarily mean joining every club, going to every networking event, graduating with a 4.0 or being first team All-Ivy four years straight. It means enjoying your experience, creating meaningful friendships, acknowledging your implicit biases and learning from them instead of suppressing them. It means taking a class that piques your curiosity, or sitting down with a peer in an effort to explore genuine companionship, or walking around Boston, or even talking to a counselor when the Harvard bubble starts to feel like it is closing in. It could mean finding somebody with a different political ideology, race, gender, sexual orientation, or religious background and creating a dialogue that enriches your own experience and opens your eyes to a different perspective. It is about learning how to argue with reason, and dissecting points of disagreement. As students, we forget to indulge in the present moment. But recognize and welcome the here and now, with all of its imperfections, because when you re-contextualize the uncomfortable – like yoga – it is a challenge that will only make you stronger.