Around The Yard: Julia Baumel

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.

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Julia Baumel
April 10, 2017

I’m privileged to spend about 20 hours each week rowing for the Radcliffe Varsity Lightweight rowing team (RVL).  When I’m not on the water or in class, I am likely to be eating, studying, or socializing with my teammates.  Given the amount of time I spend with these people, I’m lucky that they are some of the most ambitious, well-rounded, and inspirational individuals I have ever met.

Before coming to Harvard, I had to assure my parents that I wouldn’t “major in rowing.” (First of all, Mom, it’s “concentrate.”) I had yet to hone in on a specific interest, though.  When I first joined the team, I found myself surrounded by individuals with a wide range of academic interests.  My older teammates were always eager to talk about their areas of study and their career goals, and I was inspired by the enthusiasm and passion with which they spoke.

I’ll admit it was slightly intimidating to be a disoriented freshman surrounded by people who seemed to have their lives together, but they always made me feel welcome and assured me that they had felt the same way upon entering college.

The supportiveness of the team, on and off the water, has continued to impress me.  Whether it’s help on a difficult assignment or words of encouragement during a tough practice, my teammates are always willing to offer one another support.

Since coming to Harvard, a few years have passed in what has felt more like weeks. My career interests are much more defined now.  I’m studying government with a secondary in psychology, and I hope to combine these two interests and pursue a strategic communications career in a field such as advertising, public relations, or lobbying.

This spring has been busy for me.  Racing season is in full swing along with the application process for summer internships in freelance lobbying and public relations.  This round in the process has mostly involved writing exams, which serve as the step between initial applications and interviews.  These assignments, which involve drafting persuasive memos and email pitches, are likely similar to the work I would do over a summer internship, so I’ve been pleased to find them challenging and enjoyable. I’m torn between excitement for my post-college career and sadness that my days as a Harvard student and a member of RVL are numbered.

As I look back on my time at Harvard and how much I’ve grown as a person over these past three years, it’s clear that I can attribute a good portion of this growth to my time on RVL.  The sport and my teammates have taught me lessons and provided me with memories that I will carry with me long after I take my final strokes on the Charles.