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.
Liana Yamin, Women's Fencing
Hometown: Allendale, N.J.
Concentration: Human Evolutionary Biology
House Affiliation: Adams
Harvard Athletics not only afforded me the opportunity to continue my lifelong passion of fencing, but it also gave me the entirely new experience of participating on a team. As a senior, I look back and realize that it was this team dynamic that defined much of my college experience. I remember how quickly I learned freshman year what it meant to have my athletic efforts contribute to a group greater than myself. My teammates were the reason I was able to push myself to a new level of strength and speed in my workouts, a work ethic that carried over to my classes. I was running on their constant passion and effort, as well as their loud cheers of support behind me as I ran sprints in the fencing gym. Because I was no longer competing as just an individual, I was able to experience the highest highs of my athletic career with the Harvard fencing team. The victories, like our Ivy League title in 2016, were all the sweeter because I knew how much collective work and emotion had gone into it. I will say it was easy to forget about the stakes and the meaning behind the time we put in at practice. We were always able to make it a positive two to three hours, cracking jokes in between sprints, or catching up during our warmup. I am especially grateful for our tradition of daily team dinner. We would wind down after practice in the Dunster dining hall, taking up an entire room or table just so that we could all sit together. The Harvard fencing team was my support system from the moment I stepped foot onto campus. As a senior, I realized I had the power to create some of the same magic that I felt in my past years for the underclassmen. It makes me so happy to see our truly “family” atmosphere being carried on by my teammates for future HFT generations. I can only say thank you to Harvard Athletics and the Harvard fencing team. It was thrilling to compete for them, humbling to captain them, and bittersweet to say goodbye.