ACADEMIC INTEGRATION & COMPETITIVE EXCELLENCE

IN DIVISION I ATHLETICS

Around The Yard: Life As A Harvard Student-Athlete

Around The Yard: Serena Blacklow
“Should I take a practice test . . .” one girl wearily asks aloud as we board the bus to head back to campus. We’ve been racing all morning at a regatta in New Jersey. Spirits are high, but everyone is exhausted. “Oh I should too—I’ll take one with you,” another teammate responds. This support for endeavors outside of rowing is characteristic of our team and makes me proud to be a member of Radcliffe lightweight crew.

Around The Yard: Weisner Perez
I remember when I first committed to attend Harvard University the joy and happiness that my family, community, and I were filled with. It was a dream come true especially growing up in Cicero and Berwyn where things are tough for students and often many are found to not even attend college due to negative influences in the neighborhood and a simple lack of effort. Yet, here I am now with a few weeks left until I finish my first year at Harvard University as a student-athlete. Harvard has been everything I expected and more, and every day I am thankful to be able to attend the #1 school in the world as many call it. I always believed I could achieve great things regardless of not growing up in the best of environments, and luckily today I can say I am on one of the best paths available to achieve success.

Around The Yard: Paul Lei
The beginning of freshman year was confusing to say the least. New people, new buildings, new schedule. If I got a dollar for every time I got lost on campus I could probably pay to have my name on the science building. The one thing that really helped me settle in to Harvard was the golf team. Here, I’d like to give you a taste of what it means to me to be a member of the Harvard men’s golf team.

Around The Yard: Nina Fairbairn
“How are you?” We probably here this question multiple times a day. Throughout my time at Harvard and beyond, I have sought to find or create a community that truly answers the question. Many times, people will often respond with the superficial, “Good and you?”, which lacks the emotional depth that is required to form actual connections with people. There have been a few communities in which I feel comfortable allowing myself to be vulnerable and show them that not everything is okay, despite what appearances may be. One of these has been the golf team, another has been the Franklin Fellowship.

Around The Yard: Nikki Kallenberg
A typical Spring Break trip with a college sports team probably looks something like this: you wake up in the morning, head to practice, grab something to eat around the facilities, head back shortly for an afternoon game, or maybe get to do some sight seeing if you’re lucky. Then you’d grab dinner with the team and return to your hotel to do it all over the next day. What you probably wouldn’t hear about in this standard Spring Break trip is a 15-bedroom beach house on the Pacific coast in Santa Barbara.

Around The Yard: Grace Chao
The MIT intramural soccer team didn’t seem at all phased when a bunch of college kids in camo set up a patrol base in the middle of Steinbrenner Field. Dummy (yet fairly realistic-looking) rifles in the low ready position, Army ROTC cadets secured the turf from everything except an errant goal kick and wayward header. After falling out of formation at the field, cadets marched the two hundred yards or so back to the unit in almost perfect unison, save for one particular Harvard rugby player who may have missed a few steps. For anyone unfamiliar with the program or who doesn’t recognize the ROTC insignia on our left shoulders, the marching students in combat uniform may as well be real, professional soldiers in the US Army.

Around The Yard: Kathleen Wallace
As the first week of March comes to a close, I honestly cannot believe it is already my senior spring. Since volleyball is a fall sport, my senior season finished months ago, but I could not have asked for a more memorable and rewarding senior season. The volleyball team made history last fall by going to the NCAA tournament for the first time in program history and even taking a set off the eventual NCAA champion, Nebraska! I could not have been happier to share this experience with my teammates, and I already miss playing with them so much.

Around The Yard: Balsa Dragovic
One of the most prominent unspoken rules is that new beginnings are always the hardest. The first time I experienced this in my own skin was when I left home at the age of 14 to pursue academic excellence and athletic success, the opportunities that I could not manage to combine back home in Europe. Being away from family in a new culture, without much time to acclimate to a different language, was one of the main obstacles I had to face at young age. However, the most challenging beginning for me was the start of my freshman year at Harvard. One could argue that this statement doesn't make sense, since I have been in the States for a few of years now, and got used to everything previously mentioned.

Around The Yard: Molly Tissenbaum
I was recently asked a question that I've never been asked in my 3+ years at Harvard. "Why Harvard?" Seems like it would have an obvious answer because anyone who has seen it, heard of it, or had the chance to experience it, knows that the place sells itself. But in thinking about the question, I came to realize that what really makes this place special is the people.

Around The Yard: Devin Tringale
The Men’s hockey locker room is much more than a place where our team prepares for practices and games - it’s our sanctuary. It’s where teammates morph into brothers and where stories morph into legends. It’s a place that never truly leaves us, even when most of us are miles away over the summer. Even now, sitting at my desk in Winthrop House, I’m able to imagine every inch of it.

Around The Yard: Alisha Mah
It’s amazing how weekends pass by so quickly. You think you would have more time to catch up on homework, but when Sunday night comes around all I can think is, “where did my weekend go?” The new semester has only just started, but somehow the workload has already piled up. On top of that, swimming and diving season is almost over, which means championship season is here (this Thursday through Saturday!). But as I am writing this blog, I’m starting to think about why my weekends fly by.

Around The Yard: Tyler Spear
The amount of time that I spend on my sport is frightening. Between all of the running, stretching, foam rolling, massaging, lifting and other workouts that competing for Harvard’s cross country and track & field teams require, I’m essentially working a full time job. When I proudly detail to friends all of my early bedtimes, long practices, and other sacrifices that I make for running, people typically respond with something like: “You don’t go to parties? You eat healthy? That sounds like a death sentence! If I were told to live like you, I’d ask what I had done wrong to deserve such a punishment! Why do you even do it?”

Around The Yard: Naomi Lang
My senior fall is almost over and every day I’m struck with how quickly my time at Harvard is coming to an end. Nothing says, “Life is a wave you must ride” like my experience as a student here. I have had moments of such severe homesickness and soul searching that I didn’t know if graduating from Harvard was the path I’d take. After freshman year I still hadn’t found my space here and it was over the summer that I discovered positive psychology. I read a ton of books about how to change your mindset so that you see the positives in your life rather than the negatives. Right when I thought I would drown from the constant worry and stress I felt, I learned techniques to stay afloat. Here’s what helped me ride the rest of my Harvard wave with a steady smile.

Around The Yard: Aemilia Phillips
This past weekend, in my last home game of both the fall polo season and my senior year here at Harvard, we had the rematch we’d been waiting for. The crisp New England breeze blew through the arena in South Hamilton, MA, and as we mounted up and started our warm up, it was clear the team was nervous; we knew this was a high stakes game.

Around The Yard: Kyla Cordrey
The past weekend marked the end of our 2015 season. It was bittersweet, as most endings are. We said goodbye to our seniors and it hit me that my class has only one year left of field hockey. But, the weekend was also a great end to the season.

Around The Yard: Miye D'Oench
It’s unfortunately rare that I find myself taking a moment to stop and appreciate how lucky I am to be a Harvard student-athlete. But sitting on a wooden chair eating pancakes on the sandy bank of a steaming New Hampshire lake, I was overwhelmed by a feeling of gratitude. I looked around at my teammates—some of them inhaling pancakes, some still half asleep, some rough housing, some already out kayaking, and some recounting the previous night—and I thought about the amazing ride we were all about to begin this season.

Around The Yard: Andrew Wheeler-Omiunu
Five weeks into school now. Or is it six? Or seven? Honestly I have no idea. All I know is that I am somewhere in between the first benchmark of a semester, midterms, and the second, Thanksgiving. Midterms for me finish up tomorrow with my Yoruba exam. It’s going to be a tough one for sure. Now in my third year of the language, the class has become predominantly reading, essay, and conversation based, which has so far proven to be rather difficult for me in this first part of the semester. But like anything, the more practice I have with it, the better I get, and hopefully after my final preparations for this exam, my practice will have paid off.

Around The Yard: Chris Egi
As a sophomore member of the basketball team, I feel like I learned some of the most important life lessons from my head coach, Tommy Amaker. For example, a favorite saying of coach’s is, “focus on getting better today.” I feel that I have really taken that to heart this year. While it’s still only October, my sophomore year at Harvard has definitely been one to remember. It truly is an exciting time as I find myself stretching beyond the constraints of freshman year, and becoming more engaged in campus life. With activities ranging from my first French class in years, to a marketing internship with an on-campus start up, this is definitely a great time to experiment!

Around The Yard: Anastasia Snetkova
As captain of the ballroom team and as a senior starting my fourth year of dancing, I disappear into ballroom – ballroom training, ballroom exec board meetings, ballroom social life – every day of the week. Maybe for an hour, maybe for the entire day. Every Sunday night, this means leading a mock-competition standard dance practice. (Rounds of waltz, tango, viennese waltz, foxtrot, quickstep. Lather, rinse, repeat.)

Around The Yard: Anne Cheng
Junior year has begun! Only after half of my college experience has already zoomed pass, I feel like I have finally just begun to better understand what it means to live the college experience. Though the ideal college experience is different for everyone, I personally believe that it is a time for discovery and self-improvement. It is a time to view the world with different eyes. I have learned from my past two years here and now my sights are set on new goals for the upcoming semester. I was not aware of this at the time, but as a freshman and even as a sophomore, I had held on to the wrong mindset and had barely gotten by.

Around The Yard: Kyla Cordrey
This is my third year here at Harvard. As a junior, and technically an upperclassman, I definitely know the school better. I get to enroll in the more advanced courses offered in my concentration, and I have found extracurricular programs that I love being involved in.

Around The Yard: Matt Sanders
For the fourth time in my Harvard career, I left my sunshine filled home of Tampa, Florida and returned to Boston, Massachusetts. Much like my first three times leaving home, I was sad to leave my friends and family behind, but incredibly excited to get back up to school and see all my teammates, classmates, and coaches again. However, returning to school for my senior year had somewhat of a different feel than anytime before.

Around The Yard: Will Walker
I feel fortunate to have the opportunity to be a student-athlete at Harvard. I am in a position to compete at the highest level of the sport of Lacrosse and experience the incredible academic and extracurricular resources that a top Ivy League institution has to offer, all while engulfing myself in a diverse environment full of highly talented individuals. The best way to capture my student-athlete experience is to walk through this past late September week from my senior fall semester. Of course each week of my time here at Harvard includes my amazing athletic experience as a member of the men’s lacrosse team; however, for the purpose of this blog, I’d like to focus on my life off the field.

Around The Yard: Spencer Scott
The late Carl Sagan once wrote in his 1994 book Pale Blue Dot, “Astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience.” Having been interested in astronomy since I was very young, I learned that lesson from an early age. What I did not know, however, is that coming to Harvard, too, is a humbling and character-building experience.

Around The Yard: Carly Rotatori
At the end of each summer before coming back to Harvard, I always tell myself that this year is the year I am going to try to do more activities, join a club and branch out as best I can from my normal routine of practice, school work, and wishing Winthrop dining hall would actually be my dad’s home cooking. I begin each year with this revived mindset, giving myself a mental pep talk about how even though watching Friends is a great (and hilarious) break, there are a ton of incredible other ways on Harvard’s campus and in Boston to spend that extra hour of down time. From Fenway Park to Faneuil Hall to Winthrop’s weekly Restorative Yoga, I knew that no matter what mood I was in there would be an activity that could seamlessly fill the free time I had between class, practice and my other commitments.

Around The Yard: Chris Evans
When it became official that I was going to attend Harvard, I was constantly bombarded with the following phrase: “With a degree from Harvard, you can do anything your heart desires.” The reality of this statement did not truly hit me until this past summer, where I had the pleasure of working for Bank of America Merrill Lynch in New York City.

Around The Yard: Aemilia Phillips
As soon as I signed up for the Harvard Polo Club my freshman year, I knew it was something I wanted to be a part of for the rest of my time at Harvard; but what I didn't know was that it would be because of polo that I received an incredible job opportunity this past summer. I don't think I realized how big of a change I was in for until after I accepted an internship with Phelps Media Group, an international equestrian marketing, public relations, and event management company. Having lived in the Northeast my entire life, it was now time to pack up and head down to Wellington, Florida, for the next three months.

Around The Yard: Annika Ringblom
This summer I learned there is much more to Sweden than Swedish fish, meatballs, and blonde hair. Sweden is all about music festivals, long boating rides, picnics on islands, and extravagant dinners. My dad was born and raised in Sweden, so I am the first generation Ringblom in America. Since all of my family lives in Sweden, I am privileged enough to visit most summers. However, this summer was different since I was lucky enough to travel with my best friend and teammate, Nikki Kallenberg, to Scandinavia.

Around The Yard: Tyler Spear
I moved back to campus on Monday the 24th, about a week before the rest of the student body, so that cross country practices could begin before we got caught up in the rush of the 2015 academic year. My roommate Ben, and I carried heavy bags of clothes, books, school supplies, and snack food into Kirkland House, and settled into our room. Everything was so quiet; halls and rooms were empty, most dining halls were dark, and no one sat on benches in the courtyard, or played frisbee on the grass. I quickly began to feel like someone had decided to hide me away from the rest of campus, to cut me out of the goings-on around the College.

Around The Yard: Andrew Wheeler-Omiunu
This past week was the first week of school, which for students is shopping week. During this week you get to see some students absolutely pack their schedules full with as many classes as one can possibly fit in a week, and usually those people appear to be perpetually stressed out. On the other side of the spectrum, you also see, or in this case never see, people who already know exactly what classes they will be taking this semester.

Around The Yard: Zena Edosomwan
I get out of the car and grab two large suitcases from the trunk of the SUV. I say thank you to the driver and we both go our separate ways. I found myself standing on the sidewalk with my bags in the wee hours of the morning. Suddenly, it finally hits me. "I'm headed home," I utter to myself as a big grin comes across on my face. I felt like a child on Christmas morning. Finally, finally, I was officially done with my sophomore year at Harvard.

Around The Yard: Christine Lin
Just having played two golf tournaments the past few weeks in Mississippi and California, the women’s golf team is back in Cambridge gearing up for Ivy Championships next week. We also have all been doing a wonderful job keeping up with our academic work (sometimes even getting ahead) as problem sets, papers, and second round midterms come around.

Around The Yard: Stephen Jahelka
My family has always been and always will be the most important thing in my life. The constant and unwavering love they send every day to me from New York drives me to do my best in everything I do while I am four hours away from them. Coming into freshman year, I was nervous and questioned how, for eight months out of the year, I would ever be able to be away from the people who I loved the most. However, my fear and anxiety began to dissipate the second I stepped foot into the Harvard lacrosse locker room. In our first team meeting, Coach Wojcik said that this was the Harvard Lacrosse Family and that everything we did, win, lose, or tie, would be endured by everyone, together.

Around The Yard: June Lee
One of my classes took advantage of this great weather and held an awesome section on the roof of the Science Center. This class I am taking is called “Life as a Planetary Phenomenon” (SPU 30) and it has been teaching us how to examine the scientific quest to understand where life could or might thrive beyond Earth by using fundamentals like astronomy, planetary physics, and chemistry to provide a basis for the exploration for other habitable planets. The observing session was a great way to keep things interesting because we not only got to use binoculars and basic standing telescopes, but we also got to see the Clay Telescope in use.

Around The Yard: Hillary Crowe
With our season finally finished, I am able to sit back and reflect on my four years as a Harvard Hockey player. I can't help but smile and think about how blessed I am to have had this incredible opportunity. The things I have learned and the experiences I have gained are things that cannot be taught in an academic setting. From the crushing emptiness of falling short of a goal, to the setbacks we face, to the pure pride and joy in hoisting a championship trophy with your teammates, the lessons learned are far reaching. It makes all the work and dedication we put in every single day of the journey worthwhile.

Around The Yard: Zena Edosomwan
Its Thursday evening, I sit in the poker room of Currier House staring outside the window for a second before I catch myself dazing off. “Focus Zena” I utter to myself as my eyes retreat back to the sleek MacBook computer that every college kid seems to possess. One more page to go on my Hinduism paper as I contemplate how to culminate my comparing and contrasting of Mahatma Gandhi’s Satyargraha campaign (a form of non-violent protest) with Theravada Buddhism.

Around The Yard: Emelie Coleman
This year’s Yardfest artist has just been announced! For those of you who don’t know, every Spring Harvard hosts an outdoor concert in Harvard Yard. Over the past few years, there have been some serious questions raised about what artists have been chosen to perform. However, this year, I would say most of us on campus are excited about... JESSIE J!

Around The Yard: Audrey Todd
Spring Break is over and tomorrow is April 1st. In other words, each professor will give around ten more lectures and each TF will lead only five more sections. Each student will attend four more weeks of classes, fashion a couple of final research papers and take a few exams. Then, it will be summer. In just six weeks, I will be a college senior. This still seems implausible – rather, impossible – to me. Term two is flying by.

Around The Yard: June Lee
It’s officially Spring Break! The last few weeks at Harvard have been pretty hectic with matches, midterms, and events like Housing Day.

Around The Yard: Christine Lin
Mid-March at Harvard is typically characterized by a constant stream of readings, problem sets, papers, and midterms. Even so, I am not barely floating above water, I am actually freely swimming and moving closer to my dreams in the distance. Just four weeks ago, as second semester junior, I have finally realized the avenue that would bring me the greatest happiness and ignite a spark in me for the rest of my life.

Around The Yard: Marko Kostich
It would be an injustice to start this post without reference to the snowpocalypse that engulfed Harvard this winter. Over 100 inches of snow has fallen, more than enough to tower over our 6’ 9” senior captain Caleb Zimmick. A day after one of the winter storms, there were more skiers on the streets than cars. While the suburbs of Chicago get their fair share of snow, it pales in comparison to the piles that have accumulated in the Yard.

Around The Yard: Audrey Todd
The first five weeks of this (supposedly) spring semester can be summed up in just one all-too-familiar sentence: “Harvard University is closely monitoring the severe winter weather.” Thus far, the University has indulged its students and faculty with an unprecedented three snow days. All in all, the snow days were an advantage – they gave everyone a second longer to relax before the heat of the semester set in. Some students congregated at Widener to sled down the steps on dining hall trays. Some built impressively structurally sound igloos in campus courtyards. Still others arranged house-wide snowball fights, ventured into the snow on cross-country skis or just cooped up inside with snacks, friends and a good movie.

Around The Yard: Michael Mancinelli
Appreciation. Honor. Tradition. Gratitude. Family. All key points discussed by every senior on the football team last Thursday night. With the end of every football season comes a very emotional week for the senior class. The final week, Yale week, has always been a special mix of emotions for me. It marks a time when a great group of leaders and friends will permanently depart from the team, while at the same time offering a new identity to germinate as the next class of leaders takes control. Personally, it is also a time of celebration and reflection. Especially with Thanksgiving being a few days after the season closes out, we have a slower time in our lives to think back on the season and mark all the aspects of it for which we are most thankful.

Around The Yard: Zena Edosomwan
It's early November at Harvard and the vibes around campus have changed. People seem to have their daily routines set for the semester. Everyone is trying to finish the year on a high note, as the semester winds down and holiday season is almost in full effect. The once jovial early September weather has been replaced with the intensely frigid frown of an oncoming winter.

Around The Yard: Kelsey Hojan-Clark
Because Harvard is such an amazing place, I quickly found that it is incredibly easy to get trapped in the ‘Harvard bubble’ and forget that so many things are happening around the world. I am currently taking a class on Global Health with several fantastic professors. One of these modern day heroes, the renowned medical anthropologist, physician and co-founder of Partners in Health, Paul Farmer, is currently at the front line in the world-wide Ebola crisis. Despite the negative components of this horrific epidemic, it has been an undeniably eye-opening experience hearing first-hand experiences from Liberia and Sierra Leone, as Professor Farmer dispatches the latest updates of the Ebola situation. Hearing him apologize to a room full of students that he would be missing his allotted lecture day to travel to Liberia was beyond memorable; he was truly working to save the world—talk about a great time to put your life in perspective.

Around The Yard: Audrey Todd
At 6:00 AM last Monday, I met two of my teammates outside of our dorm, and we began to walk to morning practice as we do every weekday throughout the offseason. However, on this day, our nerves extended beyond which challenging workout awaited us across the river. Our iPhones read that temperatures had fallen below 40 degrees, and we could see our breaths as we crossed the JFK bridge en route to Dillon Fieldhouse. We worried that the dreaded Massachusetts winter had arrived. Fortunately, the threats of winter have not continued into this week. Temperatures have generally stood between 55 and 70 degrees, giving us a true fall season – a rarity in the Northeast.

Around The Yard: Caroline Code
After completing my last midterm this morning, I was able to enjoy walking through the Yard on a fresh autumn day filled with relief of being done. It really was a picturesque sight; the golden red leaves had fallen and crunched underneath my feet as I walked to treat myself to a celebratory tea latte at Crema. With the whirlwind of the past week and weekend behind me, I was ready to enjoy a little downtime.

Around The Yard: Todd Preston
October is among the most exciting months of the fall semester at Harvard! Historically, it’s one of the more stressful as well! With changing weather come midterm assignments, exams and the official start of wrestling season.

Around The Yard: Michael Mancinelli
As I am sure you have noticed, the weather is beginning to change in Cambridge. Along with the falling leaves and chilled rains, my life as a student-athlete is taking on changes. As a member of the varsity football team and a degree candidate in Electrical Engineering, I have found many ways to balance my lives on both sides of the river, but this semester has brought all new experiences. The major two being cross-registering at MIT and working on my senior thesis project.

Around The Yard: Zena Edosomwan
It’s midterm season right now at Harvard. I find myself staying up longer in the night finishing papers and then starting new ones. Repetition is the key to success, I guess. The weather around campus has gotten colder and more unpredictable, displaying multiple personalities throughout the day and leaving those that have to deal with its mood swings angry at our weather app for deceiving us. Regardless of this matter, sophomore year has been good to me so far.

Around The Yard: Kelsey Hojan-Clark
Plunging into my last year at this incredible college with such remarkable individuals has been somewhat overwhelming. Not because of the overload of coursework or amount of challenging practices, but rather because of the realization that my time to take advantage of the boundless opportunities available here at Harvard is waning.

Around The Yard: Kirby Porter
I don’t think it hit me that I was really in college until I was sitting in my dorm room by myself after my parents and sister drove away. Leading up to move in day my emotions were all over the place. I was a combination of nervous, anxious, and overly excited. But most of all I was ready. I was ready for new faces, new experiences, and new beginnings. The eight-hour drive up to Cambridge from Chevy Chase, Maryland was the longest eight hours of my life. The night at the hotel in downtown Boston the day before move in day was the least sleep I had ever gotten (3 hours to be exact). I just wanted to be in college already, I had waited long enough.

Around The Yard: Audrey Todd
The start of a new academic year is always lively. After a three-month break, everyone is ready to be back on campus, eager to reunite with their friends and impatiently anticipating getting back into their routines. The excitement of junior year is even greater since students have fulfilled most of their basic requirements and everyone is pretty much settled into their concentrations. We are all now able to delve into more advanced classes that suit our unique interests.

Around The Yard: Hillary Crowe
There is a comforting feeling in the familiarity of the seemingly never ending traffic on JFK, the rowers on the Charles, and all of the people walking around the yard. The fall months at Harvard are always some of the most memorable. The countless hugs and smiles signal the start of a new school year, as everyone is ready to get back and reunite after being away for the summer. However, stepping on campus this fall carried new weight; it was my last time coming back in the fall as a student.

Around The Yard: Todd Preston
The start of the fall semester brings about many new “beginnings” and changes in my daily routine. It is the beginning of a new academic school year, the beginning of another year of athletic challenges, the strengthening of old friendships, and most importantly, the beginning of new ones. In addition to the changing of seasons, September provides the best opportunity to meet new people as the weather is still nice and the academic workload has not yet fully engaged. Due in no small part to its diversity, at Harvard you have an opportunity to meet people with different, yet incredible stories and backgrounds. You will find here many inspirational people who will be tomorrow’s leaders in politics, business, finance, medicine, the sciences and the arts. Everyone is extremely passionate about something, whether it be academics, athletics, or in some cases both.

Around The Yard: Caroline Code
September at Harvard is always an exciting time; the buzz around campus is energetic and lively, with countless fun things going on. Now that we are past the honeymoon period of shopping week, everyone is buckling down and getting back into the daily grind of schoolwork and activities. With the standard mix of classes, extracurricular activities, music or sports practices, and social events, every one of my peers I’ve spoken with has an impressively busy schedule. Thinking about it, I wonder how we as students manage to do things like have the homework completed and be on time for class, never miss a rehearsal or practice, or attend both a job fair and social event in one night. It’s a daily struggle, but we somehow survive – and enjoy it.

ACADEMIC INTEGRATION & COMPETITIVE EXCELLENCE

IN DIVISION I ATHLETICS