Around The Yard: Torzie Boylett

Returning to for a third season, "Around The Yard: Life As A Harvard Student-Athlete" explores life away from the playing fields for select Harvard student-athletes through their own first-person narrativeFor a full list of blog entries, click here.

For more student blogs from Harvard Admissions, click here.

Torzie Boylett
October 18, 2016

As an international student, from across the pond, I knew that choosing to attend an American university was very ambitious. I knew that traveling away from everything I knew would force me to step outside of my comfort zone and open my eyes to a whole new culture. This was a hugely daunting thought, one I spent a long of time mulling over. I found myself worrying about all the little things that could go wrong, ‘what if I don’t like it?’ ‘what if I want to come home,’ there were so many possible disasters! For a few weeks I struggled with my decision. However, one evening I was discussing all of my concerns with my parents, they understood why I was worried and tried to reason with my doubt but eventually my dad put it to me bluntly. “Torz if you don’t take this opportunity you will regret it for the rest of your life. Go on an adventure.”  Well here I am, a sophomore at Harvard University.

My time at Harvard has already been a whole adventure in itself. I have met some friends for life, I have tried some of America’s best food (peanut butter and jelly is gross), I have successfully become a pro American football fan and I have been taught by some of the coolest professors in the world. All in all, it is fair to say that my Dad was right; I would have completely regretted not coming to America. In this past year I have not only made some of my fondest memories with friends, but I have also individually grown into an independent young woman.

My day-to-day life here isn’t dissimilar to students all over the world. I wake up, I go to class, I go to practice and I do my homework. Although the routine may look fairly uniform and boring from the outside, it is not until you experience Harvard for yourself that you understand just how unique it is. This year my experience at Harvard has been everything but boring. I am currently taking a class that is led by an award winning psychologist and writer, my field hockey team is currently ranked 12th in the country and I am also ‘punching’ some incredible female finals clubs.

SLS20 is a class renowned amongst Harvard students. I arrived freshman year and all the girls on my team, even those that hadn’t actually taken it, were insistent that I would not want to miss out. Professor Dan Gilbert has an incredible ability to make challenging and difficult concepts and class material understandable. That is the sign of a good professor. But a good professor can’t keep the full attention of 200 or so students for two hours. Professor Gilbert can do just that. He teaches with so much passion and enthusiasm, to the extent that every student is captivated for the full two hours. Elsewhere a two-hour class would usually put off a large majority of students and yet each year the SLS20 hall still fills to the brim each week. Enjoying a class because of its content is fairly normal, that’s why we choose the classes we do. But enjoying a challenging introductory class simply because the professor’s energy is infectious, that is rare. I have thoroughly enjoyed SLS20 so far this semester and I am excited to see what other concepts we will learn later on in the semester and even if the concepts are dull I know that I will continue to enjoy taking the class because of Gilbert’s incredible efforts. I have really been surprised at how much I have loved my classes this semester and I am so grateful to be at a school where such opportunities exist.

Although I had an incredible freshman year I would have to say my sophomore year has already topped it. This August coming back to Harvard for preseason I couldn’t wait to get back and begin the new year. All of the nerves I had felt the previous year were nowhere to be seen because returning for my second year of college I had no apprehension. I knew who my friends were, I knew my teammates well, I knew where I was living and I knew how to survive Harvard! I was much more comfortable coming in and, therefore, I was able to enjoy the start to the year so much more. Field hockey is a huge part of my life, I spend so many hours a week across the river- but I wouldn’t change it for the world because some of my best moments have been on the field. I would be lying if I said I loved every minute of my life as an athlete. I hate early mornings, I hate injuries, I hate late nights doing homework and most of all- I hate losing. But despite the grievances I suffer with my sport, there is not one moment that is not valuable. It is during the moments when I question why I play sport that I remember why I love it. My teammates are my family. Perhaps it is a cliché but I don’t know another way of describing it. They inspire me when times are tough at school, I know every other girl is going through the same exam stress and yet not one of them complains. They push me to my limits every practice and they hold me to the standard they know I can meet, ensuring that I fulfil my potential. But most of all they have provided me with an unconditional support that I have not seen anywhere else at Harvard. I am so proud to be a member of Harvard field hockey simply because I know I am part of a network of girls that go above and beyond to be the best they can be.

Harvard Field Hockey has blessed me with friends for life. I believe that my freshman year would have been completely different without my team because I would not have had a network of older, experienced girls at my disposal. The ability to talk to other members of the team about problems with class, or about being homesick was invaluable and I don’t know what I would have done without them. The nature of a team enforces a connection between teammates and I am so grateful for those friendships that I have as a result of my sport. However, this year I have also had the opportunity to branch out and meet a whole new network of friends through the final club punch process. The sophomore punch process is something unique to Harvard. It gives sophomore girls the opportunity to create new friends with girls in their grade that they have not met and also to meet girls from older grades. The past few weeks I have been on numerous lunch dates and coffee chats with a whole range of girls. It has been lovely to branch out and open myself up to more of the wonderful students at Harvard, which I think is so important because it can become so easy to hide yourself away. The finals clubs have hosted lovely events where huge groups of girls, that would otherwise not know one another, have the opportunity to talk and make friendships. I have thoroughly enjoyed punch as it has allowed me to meet so many incredible people that otherwise I would never have met and have been able to go to such fun events!

Sophomore year has been great so far; my team is 4-0 in the Ivy’s, my classes are incredibly interesting and I have already made some brilliant new friends. Realistically I know that exams loom, the weather is getting colder and that there will be dark moments ahead when school is not so rosy. But I think during those tough moments I can take a peak back at this blog and think “wow, what a wonderful adventure.”