Written Senior Perspective - Christina Cornelius, Women's Volleyball

Written Senior Perspective - Christina Cornelius, Women's Volleyball

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.

Christina Cornelius
Cabot House
Harvard Women’s Volleyball
Concentration: Sociology

As I sit here writing this senior perspective, all I can think about is how for the past four years I have read the senior perspectives of my fellow teammates and thought, “I cannot believe that one day that will be me. One day I will be the one in front of my computer screen as a retired volleyball player, reflecting on my time as a student-athlete at Harvard, and trying my best to put it all into words.” But here I am, the time has finally come. And although I am filled with feelings of disbelief, and honestly a little bit of sadness that this incredible journey has come to an end, I am also filled with an overwhelming sense of pride and joy that I have made it to this point in my life and accomplished things throughout my volleyball career at Harvard that I never imagined were possible.

As said by many of my teammates before me, being a part of the Harvard Women’s Volleyball team has been the most rewarding experience of my time here at Harvard. The reason why I think this is true for not only me, but my teammates both past and present, is because our team is not just a team, it’s a family. I remember the first time I ever visited Harvard. It was my junior year of high school, and my dad and I took a trip to the East Coast to see a few of the Ivy league schools and go on my unofficial visits. During these unofficial visits, I would tour the school, meet the coaches, and most importantly, spend time with the team. From the beginning of my recruitment journey, I made a promise to myself that I would be open to each and every school, and ultimately make my decision on where I was going to go based off of the feeling I had during my visits. While all of the schools were great, there was one in particular that truly gave me that feeling I was looking for, Harvard. The second I got on campus and met the team, I knew that Harvard was the place for me. I could tell that this team had a special bond and chemistry that I had not experienced before, and that they were not only great teammates to one another, but great friends. It was a sisterhood that I wanted to be a part of, and looking back, I cannot thank my 18-year-old self enough for going with her gut and making the decision to make HVB her home away from home.

Looking back over the past four years, I can easily say that one of the most amazing parts about Harvard Volleyball, aside from the family aspect, was how it helped me grow not only as a player but as a young woman. Day in and day out I was physically, mentally, and emotionally challenged in ways that taught me that I was stronger than I thought I was. Whether it was waking up before the sun to go to lift, coming home and having papers on papers to write, or feeling intense pressure to lead an entire team both my junior and senior year, I learned how to be a hard worker, a tough competitor, and a fearless leader, and for that I could not be more thankful.

Everything that I have accomplished here as a student-athlete at Harvard could not have been possible without the support of my family, friends, teammates, and coaches. Because of this, I wanted to end my senior perspective by saying thank you. Thank you to Coach Weiss for believing in me from the beginning and giving me the opportunity to wear that H-shield on my chest and represent the Harvard Women's Volleyball team. Thank you for being a supportive figure in my life. I cannot tell you how much I cherish having a coach like you that not only cared about me as an athlete, but as a person as well. Next, I want to thank my teammates. You all are the most amazing, talented, and hardworking people I have ever met, and I am so thankful to have had the privilege of knowing each and every one of you. Regardless of the wins and losses, it's the memories behind the scenes with you all that will stick with me forever, therefore I want to thank you guys for laughing with me, crying with me, pushing your bodies to the limits with me, and helping me become the best player and leader I could be. I also want to thank my parents. Without you two I don’t know where I’d be. Mom, your constant pep talks and words of positivity have helped develop my game mentality and given me the strength to keep going. And Dad, all those years of long car rides to practice and tournaments as well as your inspirational gameday speeches have helped build my character and create a competitive spirit within me that I will forever be grateful for. Lastly, I want to thank Harvard. I want to thank this place for helping me become the person I am today and providing me with skills that I will take into my next journey in life.