The 2015 Senior Perspectives is the 10th in a series of annual collections. Senior captains and representatives of teams at Harvard have been invited to contribute viewpoints based on personal experience from both their senior seasons and full varsity careers at Harvard.
For a complete listing of 2015 Senior Perspectives, click here.
Marie Margolius, Women’s Soccer, Team Co-Captain
Hometown: Acton, Mass.
Concentration: History and Science
House Affiliation: Leverett
I hung up the phone with the Harvard women’s soccer coach, Ray Leone, choked back my tears of joy, stepped out of my bedroom, and told my Dad: “I think I’m going to Harvard.” My dad, a man who I had never seen cry, wasn’t quite as successful at holding back his tears. Months later, when I received my official acceptance into Harvard, I could finally stop holding my breath. I was granted the opportunity of a lifetime – the chance that so many kids dream about, and I was lucky enough to get that chance.
Once I got here, I had big plans for myself – I thought about all of the things I could do; the acapella group I would join and the pre-professional workshops I would attend in order to jumpstart my life after college. When I got here, things turned out to be quite different. All of the cool classes I wanted to take were during practice times, and there was no chance I had enough energy to go to a networking event in between running from a team meeting to office hours. I spent a good majority of my time playing soccer, and if I wasn’t playing it, I was thinking about it: what time I had to go to bed in order to wake up for morning practice; whether or not I should eat a sixth ranger cookie, considering the fact I have practice in an hour and a game tomorrow; when am I going to finish my economics p-set since I have games this weekend and its due on Monday? With all of these thoughts and athletic commitments constantly on my mind, I worried that I wasn’t doing enough. I was afraid that I wasn’t living out the Harvard dream to the fullest – I had been granted this amazing opportunity and here I was, spending almost all of my time on “the other side of the river.” I asked myself if I would ever be able to find success at Harvard when I am constantly investing my whole self - my brain, body and soul - in soccer?
During my time here, the answer to that question has become so incredibly clear. I now realize that I have achieved so much more success, and learned so much more about the person that I am and the person that I want to be during my time “across the river” than I ever did in a Harvard classroom. For some students here, success means starting a company before the age of 21, selling it for millions, and returning to Harvard for junior year. For some, success means getting an A in organic chemistry, a class that has the reputation of being more like a full-time job than a few credits on a transcript. For some, success means making the world a better place by dedicating the majority of their free time to PBHA or volunteering at the homeless shelter. All of these things are amazing, and not uncommon. I have not done any of these things. Rather, during my time at Harvard, I have found success, and learned what success means to me, through soccer.
For me, success is getting through a 120-minute practice, having played to the best of my ability, even though I have two tests the next day and need to start applying for jobs. Success is cheering up a younger teammate after they have a tough day of school and are missing home. Success is having the time of my life, dancing to “Shake It Off” on Penn’s home field with all of my best friends before winning our first Ivy League matchup during my senior season. Success is scoring a goal in the last minute of the Dartmouth game in the middle of a hail downpour - a goal that was scored by an individual, but will be remembered by 27 girls as a group accomplishment. In this way, Harvard has taught me that success is defined by what is important to you. Soccer was, is, and always will be important to me. So yes, I have found success at Harvard. Maybe not in starting my own company or writing an award winning thesis, but I have succeeded in ways that are important to me. The things that I will carry with me long after graduation are not the times I received an A in a class or the internships I landed during my summers – they are the successes I earned with my team by my side, because those are the people, and soccer is the thing, that is most important to me.
In a place where everyone is so sure of themselves, so driven, and so determined to reach their next milestone, it is often daunting to think about the fact that I really don’t know exactly what I’m going to do next. It’s easy to feel lost in a place where everyone and everything around you is moving at such a fast pace, headed in so many impressive, successful directions. Over the past four years, soccer has alleviated that daunting feeling for me. It has given me something to grasp on to when I feel like I’m not sure if I’m headed in the right direction. It has shown me what finding success truly means to me.
I cannot express my gratitude to all of the people during my four years that have helped me find this success – my coaches, friends, roommates, parents, but most of all my team. I have learned so much from every girl I’ve been lucky enough to play with, and I am so glad I was able to share so many successes, small or large, with so many wonderful people.