Around The Yard: Anna Zhou

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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Anna Zhou
April 18, 2017

“The days are long, but the years are short.” It’s still hard for me to fully register in my head that I’ll be wrapping up my sophomore year at Harvard in less than a month. It doesn’t feel all that long ago since I first stepped foot on campus, a starry-eyed high school golf recruit gaping in awe and marveling at the unfamiliar magnificence the architecture and statues seemed to exude.

I have grown familiar enough with these brick walls to call them “home” – it no longer surprises me when I find myself referring to here as “home” in my conversations with others. Yet with each rising and setting of the sun, I continue to uncover new things about this place, the people here, and the amazing opportunities Harvard provides. And not only am I continuing to learn about Harvard, but I am also uncovering more about myself in the process – in particular, my interests and aspirations. After all, college is the perfect time to explore your interests and learn things you otherwise would not have the opportunity to.

In the past year, I’ve made a lot of big decisions, from declaring my concentration to deciding on a summer internship. Along the way, I have thought and rethought my post-college plans, and as sophomore year draws to a close, I’m becoming more and more confident that I’ve found my path.

Being an applied mathematics concentrator, it’s all too common for people to show surprise when I tell them I’m thinking about attending law school after college, and frankly, I’ve surprised myself as well. When I had declared my concentration, I imagined that I would use my degree for a future career in big data or statistics. What exactly changed my mind?

Perhaps it started the spring of freshman year, when I joined a PBHA program called the Small Claims Advisory Service (SCAS). Initially, I had decided to enter the comp at the urging of my friends who were in the organization, but in the past year I have been in the program, I’ve grown to love the people and its mission, and it’s helped me dip my feet into a new field that I had not previously considered before.

A little about the Small Claims Advisory Service – the organization is the only one in Massachusetts that helps individuals navigate the small claims court system in the Commonwealth, and its mission is to empower socioeconomically disadvantaged people for them to seek legal redress effectively through the small claims system. With SCAS, I have made many phone calls to clients, giving them necessary and proper legal information to either sue in small claims court or understand their rights as consumers, tenants, etc. The work is rewarding in itself. 

This semester, I decided to try something new beyond typical office hours and became a workgroup leader for SCAS, training those entering in the comp this semester, guiding them through calls and procedures as well as reviewing small claims law. I also became involved in the outreach committee, which looks for ways to best reach out to individuals who would need our help, including creating long-term relationships with courthouses, community centers, and other student organizations.

Through my involvement with SCAS, I’ve truly had an amazing time interacting with the wonderful people in the organization, learning about the court system and small claims law, and making a real impact on the community. It has also inspired me to consider law school after graduation. Harvard offers us many, many channels to explore new interests and pursue our passions, and I am always grateful for the opportunities this campus presents me with.