Written Senior Perspective - Anna Zhou, Women's Golf

Written Senior Perspective - Anna Zhou, Women's Golf

The 2019 Senior Perspectives is the 14th 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.

Anna Zhou
Winthrop House
Harvard Women’s Golf
Concentration: Applied Mathematics

Dear freshman Anna,

There are a lot of things I'd like to tell you, but I’m not quite sure where to start. And even if I did, well, there's no way you could prepare for or anticipate every obstacle that you're going to encounter during your four years here. But there’s no need to worry — you’re going to be embarking on a journey of introspection and growth, and you’ll learn just as much from your failures as your successes.

Four years... four years being a student-athlete here at Harvard are about to come to a close. It's crazy to think how quickly the time flies. You advance from freshman to senior, mentee to mentor before you can blink twice, so savor the good times, and when the bad times hit, take it in stride and as an opportunity to continue to work towards bettering yourself.

You'll quickly learn what it means to be a part of a team. Golf has always been an individual sport to you. For the larger part of your junior golf career, that's how it was — just you and your dad on the road, driving to tournaments across the country. Once you enter college, however, you'll suddenly find that there are now six other individuals who are affected by every action you take and decision you make. It’s a scary thought, but don’t forget that as much as they may depend on you, you can depend on them. They’ll be there at the times you need it the most, and they’ll inspire you to be the best person, teammate, and player you can be every day. That’s what it means to be a team.

You'll also learn the value of sacrifice. What you want is not always necessarily what’s best for the team, you’ll find at times. In those times, you’ll learn to put the team’s interests above your own, because, again, you’ll remember that your team is affected by your actions. And those sacrifices you make will be worth it in the end, when you look back and see how far you’ve come as a team and all that you’ve accomplished together.

Sure, there’ll be days when you have to drag yourself out of bed for morning practice. There’ll be days when you feel like you’re working yourself to the bone, yet see no progress in your game. Sometimes you'll walk out onto the course in zero degree weather, bundled up in five layers, and still not be able to feel your fingers — but being out there with your team as you work towards your dreams keeps the fire burning inside.

So, maybe you can tell these four years won't come easily at all. But you will be rewarded with some amazing mentors, unique experiences, and lifelong friends. And maybe when your last season is about to come to an end, you — like me — will wish you could do it again.