Around the Yard: Mikaela Thompson

Returning to for a fifth 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.

For more student blogs from Harvard Admissions, click here.

Mikaela Thompson
Women's Swimming and Diving
February 6, 2019

In high school I was involved in student government and loved being in a position where I got to meet and get to know people in addition to being able to help address issues that students were facing. So when I got an email the summer before my sophomore year about applying to be on the Student Athlete Advisory Committee, I jumped at the opportunity to have a leadership role in a community that was so important to me.

Over the past three years of being on the committee I went from being a rep to a sub-committee co-chair, to being one of the Co-Presidents. On SAAC we have a unique role in the student-athlete community. Not only do we get to bridge the gap between student-athletes and the athletic department, but we get to organize events that bring together both the Harvard athletics community as well as the broader student body.

This past fall we hosted our 2nd Annual Student-Athlete Welcome Back BBQ. We had over 600 student-athletes, coaches, and other members of the athletics community come join us to celebrate being back on campus. It was awesome to watch student-athletes from all different sports eating, chatting, and playing lawn games together. Being able to plan events like these that bring together student-athletes is one of the things I’ve loved about being on SAAC.

Since I’ve been a member of SAAC, one of our biggest objectives has been to increase our presence on campus so that more people know who we are and what we do. One of the primary ways in which we have been trying to do this has been through social media. Not only do we use our Instagram (follow us at @Harvard_SAAC) to publicize upcoming events, but we also use it to highlight student athletes and their accomplishments. Our “SAAClete of the Week” campaign features student-athletes excelling both on the field and outside of their sport, whether its an academic accomplishment or their involvement in community service. While its great to be able to feature someone who had a great goal or a great race, we try to highlight what you can’t get from reading a headline about their game or competition.

Through SAAC I have gotten to meet and befriend student-athletes from other teams whom I may never have met otherwise, connecting with them about the parts of our experiences here that have been similar and learning from each other where they differ. I have gotten to play a leadership role not just on my team, but in the larger student-athlete community as a whole, and I’m so appreciative of SAAC for giving me these opportunities.