The 2018 Senior Perspectives is the 13th 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.
Chelsea Ziadie, Women's Ice Hockey
Hometown: Pointe-Claire, Quebec
Concentration: Sociology & Economics
House Affiliation: Adams
Only by looking back at my four years on the women’s ice hockey team do I realize how truly special the Harvard hockey program is, and how central it was to my Harvard experience. When I was in the midst of all of the chaos - the end of practice sprints, the Ivy League wins, the Beanpot losses, the eight hour bus rides - there was no way for me to truly appreciate the experience for what it was: one of a kind, remarkable. Simply put, Harvard hockey was everything I could have ever hoped for, and much more. Rich with tradition and led by an incredible coach, there is no way for me to describe how incredibly fortunate I have been to play a role in this program, and to wear a Harvard hockey jersey.
One of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of my college career has revolved around that #24 jersey. My freshman year, I was given the opportunity to dress in only 11 of 36 games - I sat in the stands watching my own team play for the majority of the season, wanting desperately to be on the ice, or at least on the bench, encouraging my teammates. I told myself that no matter what role I played on the team, I would dedicate myself to continuing to work hard and to displaying a willingness to improve. I walked away from my sophomore season with the Joe Bertagna Most Improved Player award, and concluded my senior season with the Most Valuable Player award. If Harvard hockey has taught me anything, it is this: you can only get out of it what you put into it. Luckily for me, Harvard hockey is an ‘all in’ program, and I am proud to say that I gave it my all. My experience as an athlete has been defined by adversity and resilience, and the growth that I experienced over the last four years made it that much more special when I took my jersey off for the last time in February.
Athletics has been crucial in preparing me for my post-college life, and I only grasped this concept in a recent conversation that I had with my future boss. I had spent hours preparing a business plan as a part of the formal application process, and had a call with my future boss to discuss how I intended to succeed at the firm. Within the first minute, he said “You know, this all looks great, but everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” I was startled; I did not know what to respond. My future boss then said, “Mike Tyson quote, every heard it before?” I had not, surprisingly. He continued, “Chelsea, you have this business plan, and I’m telling you right now that it’s not going to work exactly the way you have it laid out; nothing ever works that way. I know you’re prepared to fail, because you’ve been experiencing failure and overcoming adversity your entire life. You’re an athlete, and you know what it’s like to run into a wall day in and day out and not even make a dent. You know that you’re going to wake up the next day and keep chipping away because eventually, you’re going to make a small crack, and then one day you’re going to make a breakthrough.” I was reassured by his words, and comforted. I knew that what he was describing could not have been a more accurate description of what it has been like to be a student-athlete at Harvard.
One of the first things that Coach Stone said to me before I joined the team as a freshman in 2014 was this: “it’s not going to be easy, but I know you’re up for the challenge.” As I leave my senior year behind, I know that the road ahead of me will not be easy, but I also know that because of my time with Harvard hockey, I am destined to succeed, even if that means that I might fail a few times along the way.