Around The Yard: Daniel Chang

Returning to 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.

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Daniel Chang
September 30, 2016

Last week, I sat down at my very first team goal meeting as a freshman on the Harvard men’s swim and dive team.  After listening to the team’s ambitions and coach’s expectations, we formulated our outcome goals.  But this section of the meeting only took up a small fraction of the hour we set aside.  We then began to focus on the most important part of this goal meeting: our plan to achieve these goals.  As coach went through our outlined actions as to how these goals will be achieved, one aspect stood out to me and has stuck in my brain every minute since: positive mindset.

This idea was amazing to hear since I have always believed that a positive attitude is the key to any person’s success.  As a competitive swimmer, I know how big of a difference it can make to walk into an early morning practice with a smile versus a frown.  Outside of the pool, I always try to approach every challenge with a smile on my face and a positive attitude. 

Here at Harvard, I find it almost effortless for me to wake up every morning and take on the day with a positive attitude.  Whether it’s my teammates on the swim team, my entryway friends in Mower A (Mower Power woot), or my amazing professors, the people of Harvard sweep the campus with positivity and support that makes every day easier to move along with a smile.  In the early mornings during practice, I train alongside my teammates and listen to them cheer each other on and create a supportive environment.  Walking up the three flights of stairs to my room, I see my Mower friends each one bringing a smile to my face after a long day of class and practice.  And the kind welcomes of my professors into each one of my classes or sections create a learning environment that excites my brain.  No matter what comes my way here at Harvard to try and knock my spirits down, there is always something else that is right by my side ready to pick me up and bring my smile right back.

As my freshman year finally kicks off with midterms coming along and official season starting October 1st at midnight, I am confident that I can go through this year with the positive mindset that coach mentioned at our goal meeting.  The support that I can find here at Harvard can help me reach my goals in and out of the pool.  And in return, I hope that my positive attitude can influence others here at Harvard and build upon the amazing environment here in Cambridge.