Returning to GoCrimson.com 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 narrative. For a full list of blog entries, click here.
For more student blogs from Harvard Admissions, click here.
September 20, 2016
When I am not in the pool, you can catch me taking the T into Boston to search for a coffee shop to do schoolwork at. In high school I was always so incredibly busy and kept such a tight schedule that I was unable to work in any free time to explore. My senior year, when I had a little more time than usual, I remember my friend taking me to a coffee shop called Tupelo Coffee. It was a small shop furnished with couches, plush chairs, and little nooks and crannies to cozy up into. After my first visit, I would try to make the trip out to ‘Tupes’ at least once every week. I found myself to be extremely productive with a mug in my hand and friends all working around me.
Freshman year at Harvard I was presented with many places on campus designed for studying- lounges, libraries, common rooms, etc. I tried to stay on campus for convenience, but quickly found that I usually was unproductive and didn’t have the motivation to leave campus. I was warned by my upperclassmen teammates that ‘the Harvard bubble’ was real—meaning that it was all too common for us as student-athletes to get stuck in our athletic and academic routines and not venture off into Boston. Our worlds would literally become only the pool, libraries, dining halls, and our rooms.
Second semester, I deliberately made time for myself to venture out of my comfort zone into Boston and areas surrounding campus. My first T ride was a novel experience as where I am from, California, the public transportation isn’t very convenient unless you live near a station and are trying to go downtown. The T made most of Boston extremely accessible and opened up a whole new world. It is so easy as a student or student-athlete to forget that there is a real world outside of Harvard. Getting off campus was a breath of fresh air and an eye opener as it gave me a perspective of the world and life outside of college that I hadn’t thought about or experienced when I was buried in my textbooks or swimming in the pool.
Naturally I ventured out for a purpose—I was on the hunt for my very own Tupelo-like coffee shop in Boston. I wanted the quaint coffee shop experience so that I could feel at home and write essays and do readings in the most productive environment that I could find for myself. I’ve had so much fun getting off campus and asking around for new coffee shop recommendations. I frequently text my friends and teammates letting them know when I am going ‘coffee shopping’ in Boston to see if they would like to come explore and keep me company. Yet, from time to time, I enjoy a little peace and quiet on my own as I sit in front of a window and enjoy a latte. I try now to get off campus at least once a month in order to get myself out of the bubble and get a bit of perspective. The coffee and the coffee shops aren’t too bad of treat either.