PRINCIPLED LEADERSHIPACADEMIC INTEGRATION COMPETITIVE EXCELLENCE

Written Senior Perspectives: Kaitlyn Dinkins

Written Senior Perspectives: Kaitlyn Dinkins

The 2015 Senior Perspectives is the 10th 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.

For a complete listing of 2015 Senior Perspectives,click here.


Kaitlyn Dinkins, Women's Basketball, Team Co-Captain
Hometown: Atlanta, Ga.
Concentration: History and Science
House Affiliation: Leverett 

Senior season. What a journey. In the end, this season was not really about winning. It was about much more than that. It was about coming to the gym every day, despite our disappointment, and remaining committed to each other and to improving every single day. It consisted of fighting our way through many battles- sometimes coming out victorious and other times emerging with defeat. It was about recognizing that I was a part of something a lot greater than myself.

This singular season taught me more about who I was as a person and as a leader than any other experience in my life thus far. It is easy to be a leader when things are going well. But who are you when your back is against the wall? Eddie Robinson once said, “Leadership, like coaching, is fighting for the hearts and souls of men and getting them to believe in you.” He was right when he said that it is a fight, especially when you are falling short of your goals.

It was this fight that taught me what it really meant to be a leader. Being a leader was not about holding onto my power tightly. It was about delegating it to different members of my team and elevating their strengths. It was about giving everything I had and then some. It was about finding a way to individually motivate every player on my team. It was about making tough decisions confidently and not being afraid to be disliked. It was about understanding that it is okay to ask for help. It was about believing in my teammates and giving them confidence when they had none left. It was this fight that truly taught me what it meant to put the team above myself.

An outsider may look at our season and think to himself, “Wow, they didn’t accomplish much this year.” I beg to differ. I saw and was a part of victories every single day. I got to witness freshmen gain confidence for the first time. I saw every member of our team line up to run extra sprints for a teammate who did not make the time. I experienced incredible resiliency from our team when we were faced with defeat. Ironically, I think it was what I did not see that proved to be the greatest victory. We never fell apart when it would have been so easy to do so. Even in the times of greatest frustration, at the end of the day, we were all there for one another.

So yeah, maybe on the outside it may seem like we had a mediocre season. But I bet if you ask any one of my teammates in 20 years, they will still tell you that this season greatly impacted their life. I know I will.

PRINCIPLED LEADERSHIP, ACADEMIC INTEGRATION AND COMPETITIVE EXCELLENCE