The 2017 Senior Perspectives is the 12th 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.
Briana Mastel, Women's Ice Hockey
Hometown: Wallingford, Conn.
House Affiliation: Leverett
With commencement approaching, I find myself constantly reflecting on everything that has led up to where I am now. Aside from my efforts to achieve my dreams, I owe everything to my family, friends, old coaches, teachers, and many others who have been a part of my journey. They have so selflessly given me the resources and guidance to be where I am today and I will forever be grateful for the unconditional love and support.
I cannot help but feel tremendous gratitude for my four years as a student-athlete at Harvard. Playing for the women’s hockey team has truly been the gift of a lifetime and something I will cherish for the rest of my life. And as much as I would love for this senior perspective to encapsulate all of the feelings of gratitude and love I have for my time here, there seem to be no words sufficient enough to put my experience into words.
My time in a Harvard uniform extended my opportunity to play the sport I love, alongside some of the greatest young women I will probably ever meet. From the moment I became apart of this program, it was evident that being a part of Harvard hockey goes far beyond simply playing the game. It is about being the best possible version of yourself in all aspects of life; in the classroom, in the weight room, and wherever else you may find yourself. It means finding a balance of being vulnerable and caring, yet also disciplined and determined to give everything you have to help the team be as successful as possible. It’s about acknowledging that every individual holds a significant role and brings something unique to table. It’s not about being perfect, but rather striving to achieve greatness within the team systems. It’s about picking each other up, and keeping each other up even when it may not be necessary. Being a part of Harvard hockey means being a part of tradition; tradition that dates back to before we current players were even born. And unlike the players, tradition never graduates.
We emphasize a lot on our team the concept of leaving the jersey better than we found it. We stress the value in putting the team first in everything we do, outworking anyone and everyone, as well as representing ourselves, those who came before us and those who will come after us, with the utmost respect and pride. I would challenge every Harvard athlete, and athletes everywhere, to strive to do the same and carry those efforts on to your future endeavors. Leave a positive and genuine impact everywhere you go.
To my teammates, I love you guys more than you will ever know. You have each given me so much to be grateful for. You have filled my life with so much joy and it has been the privilege of a lifetime to train and compete alongside you all. You will always hold a huge place in my heart and I will miss living in these moments with you. And while my days of lacing up the skates and playing alongside you have come to a close, I am greatly looking forward to watching you guys in the years to come and will be cheering you all on every step of the way.