The 2016 Senior Perspectives is the 11th 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 2016 Senior Perspectives, click here.
Allison Morrison, Women's Track & Field
Hometown: Helena, Mont.
House Affiliation: Cabot
When I entered the Harvard track and field program as a freshman, I thought it was just about scoring points, contributing to the team, and bettering personal records. But over the past four years my experience as a student-athlete has become so much more than that. Every day I get the opportunity to walk across the river and practice a sport that has taught me so much about who I am and more importantly, what I am capable of. I’ve learned valuable lessons, met some of the most amazingly talented and hardworking people I’ve had the privilege of knowing, and made lasting memories along the way.
Through different journeys, experiences, defeats, and successes, I think our sports have taught us all the importance of staying strong in the face of adversity. The frustration of injuries has made it tough to push through at times and continue with the same unwavering dedication, but now that I have emerged on the other side, I know that my experience as a student-athlete has been shaped not only by the victories but, perhaps more importantly, by the setbacks.
After shattering my collarbone in the middle of my sophomore year, it was difficult for me to see how I could continue to persevere having yet to reap any tangible benefits from my hard work. But two things kept me going—my love for the sport, which no injury can take away, and my teammates who have become like family. I realized that the only way to derive true fulfillment from the countless hours I spent down at the track was to fully embrace my love for track and field. I stayed committed because of the thrill and rush I get when I step up to the line and just run or jump, as fast and far as I can with all the strength I have gained. I stayed committed because of this love and because I saw in that love and in my inspiring teammates that I was part of something bigger than myself—something that created unbreakable bonds between athletes who were gaining tools to change the world. Although at the time of my injury it was difficult to see the benefits, looking back I benefited from learning what it takes to keep moving forward when you stumble and to stay strong and resilient when things don’t go your way.
So as graduation nears and the thought of leaving the place and the people that I love looms, I know I am entering the world filled with fire, power, and poise that I owe to Harvard track & field and my experience as a student-athlete.