Returning to GoCrimson.com for a fourth 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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September 20, 2017
As move-in day approached nearly a month ago, I had a moment of realization. This is it, the last beginning of my Harvard career. So as my family and I loaded up our ’05 Ford, bungee cording the trunk closed, I started to reminisce. Past senior teammates had always told me that the years would fly by and that I’d be a senior before I knew it. Perhaps I figured there would be an instant when I’d feel a momentous transition from an underclassman to a wise senior. But rather the lessons and growth have come incrementally. Today, as a senior, I realize my old teammates were right. So, I thought I’d take the opportunity to reflect on some of what I’ve taken away from my time on campus.
First, slow it all down. Harvard is extraordinarily goal oriented. And for good reason–the brilliant students I have had the privilege to spend time with at Harvard got here because of their relentless pursuit of their goals. On campus today, we are all hustling to move forward, to get the best internship, to earn that A, to take that starting spot on the team. Personally, as I have chased these tangible validations for my time and effort, I have at times forgotten to pause to appreciate the moment.
Last weekend, a Harvard baseball teammate and I were lucky enough to join the hockey team in a workshop called 02X. The two-day program spanned twelve total hours, and included speeches from an ex-Navy Seal and specialists on sleep, nutrition, yoga and mindfulness. When my teammate and I first agreed to take part in 02X, we assumed the program would focus on the physical side of performance. But rather Harvard Athletics looked to mentality as a way to get an edge. In part, the program encouraged us to be present, to allow ourselves to appreciate the moment we are currently in, with all of its blemishes. We are profoundly lucky to be at Harvard, one of the greatest universities in the world. Yet, at times it can be easy to lose sight of this blessing. The day-to-day hustle and bustle just takes over–unless you carve out the time to sit, breathe and live in the present. 02X made it clear that by taking a pause we not only redefine our outlook but also improve our performance.
Secondly, throughout the first month of senior year I have come to appreciate aspects of Harvard I once took for granted. Whether that be delicious home cooked meals with friends, interesting sections or team traditions, they resonate just a bit more knowing that I won’t be a part of Harvard next year. During my time with the hockey team, I listened to them reflect on their goals for the upcoming year. I could feel how much each of them wanted to raise the National Championship trophy at the end of the season. Looking around the baseball locker room each day I am struck by how thankful I am for the opportunity to pursue greatness with such a special group of individuals. Much like the hockey team, I can sense how much my teammates want to be successful not only for themselves but for each other. I am incredibly fortunate to look around every day and enjoy the small moments. These moments build on each other, creating a momentum towards our end goals. But for now, I will happily keep my mind on September, knowing that there are only so many moments between now and when my fellow seniors and I walk across the stage. We might as well appreciate the final lap.