The 2016 Senior Perspectives is the 11th 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 2016 Senior Perspectives, click here.
Christine Lin, Women's Golf, Team Captain
Hometown: Austin, Texas
House Affiliation: Quincy
Coming to Harvard as a freshman, I was used to taking an independent trajectory in all aspects of my life. If I didn’t understand something at first glance, it would eventually be resolved through my persistence, efforts, and dedication. As a self-reliant girl, instead of asking for help or being open to new perspectives, I stubbornly adhered to the same childhood methods that I knew could lead me to my end goals.
When the bouts of loneliness, emotional difficulties, and self-questioning accumulated over the first few months at Harvard, I could no longer seek solutions from only within myself. I found that merely depending on my own perspective to lift me from my challenges ultimately suffocated my personal growth and closed me off from what others could offer. I found that I was not expected to have “life’s answers,” let alone pursue them by myself without a familial community. I only realized this through the beautiful, endless moments with my golf team.
Through these moments, I came to understand what a community could mean to me and do for me. In my lows, I reclaimed my strength by looking to the resilience my teammates embodied and the mentorship my coaches provided. Beyond their physical presence and comfort, they also challenged me to reflect on the source of my insecurities, and they served as my crutch in finding ways to address my fears. In my highs, my team had ways to lift me even higher by celebrating my handle on situations and reinforcing my individuality. Throughout these natural fluctuations in the progression of life, they made it known that the most important factor in my Harvard experience should be my own happiness, or else I would not even have a chance at deriving meaning from my endeavors. I was grounded by their constant questioning on my decisions to engage in hard science classes and certain extracurricular activities, whether I was doing them for external reasons or for myself.
In a team where collaborative spirit matters to the degree, especially in a small group like the golf team, when one team member struggles the whole team struggles together. In hindsight, I learned that although my teammates had their own hardships, they knew when to set their needs aside and put others’ needs, like my own, first. I was inspired by my teammates’ abilities to contribute positive energy for the betterment of others. They championed others’ successes over their own, and this attitude fueled their spirits and gave them peace of mind to carry on with their lives on and off the golf course.
By the end of my sophomore year, I recognized the power of this community and how it positively influenced my day-to-day approach. From then on, I actively made the effort to practice self-reflection; view temporary setbacks as opportunities in disguise; and call for guidance if I needed it in the athletic, academic, and personal realms of my life. I learned that no person has or will ever have his or her life “figured out.” No matter what we perceive on the surface, we are always evolving towards something, and even that idea changes as we mature and see different parts of the world. I also began to understand the lasting impact of being physically present and emotionally strong for someone else as it can contribute to his or her happiness in addition to my own. The more time I spent with the team, it became easier to look beyond myself and look out for others, recognizing that my personal growth cannot be whole without growth of those around me.
Looking back as a senior now, being part of the Harvard women’s golf team has been the epitome of my college experience. My coaches’ dedication to me as a person allowed me to build my self-confidence and carry an optimistic mindset in every situation I face. I will not forget the times the team set program records and won Ivy championships, but more importantly, the times the team served as my anchor and walked every step of hardship and glory with me. I am ceaselessly inspired by my team’s relentless desire to achieve a better tomorrow, whether that be as better daughters, students, friends, athletes, or teammates. The memories and experiences I carry from the Harvard golf community will eternally inform my perspective in sport, my future career in medicine, my relationships with others, and my own identity as I navigate through the waters of life. I would like to thank Director of Golf Fred Schernecker, Head Coach Kevin Rhoads, former assistant coach Claire Sheldon, current assistant coach Naree Song, and my teammates past and present for an incredible, unforgettable four years.