Written Senior Perspectives - Jonas Aranda, Men's Cross Country / Track & Field

Written Senior Perspectives - Jonas Aranda, Men's Cross Country / Track & Field

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.

Jonas Aranda, Men's Cross Country / Track & Field
Hometown: Perth, Western Austrailia
Concentration: Applied Mathematics
House Affiliation: Quincy 

As I sat in Annenberg with a stack of 8 pancakes drenched in syrup, I remember vividly the look of shock on my teammates face when he realized that coach was standing right behind me. Pancakes were not the only thing that I had to have less of during my four years as a member of the Harvard Track and Field team. There were less nights out, as well as 3-4 less hours that I could put towards my studies. However, none of this swayed my decision to be any less committed to the program because this was my passion. For a sport like track, there has to be an internal drive to better one’s self and to compete for not only yourself, but for your fellow teammates.
Running track for Harvard has been the greatest decision that I have ever made. In its simplest essence, you are competing to see who can run laps the fastest, but I have learnt that track extends way outside the confines of the lane you run in. Track was my metaphor for life; it taught me how to be a competitor and have confidence in what I do, it taught me how to manage my time and 
above all, it taught me what it means to be a part of a team and to be a good teammate. For me, the defining moment that showed  me  why  this  team  meant  so  much  to  me  was  when  I  felt  a  greater  joy becoming Ivy League Champion in the 4x800m with three of my training partners than any individual victory that I have had in my running career. We shared in each others successes, and we felt each others pain through losses.
Saying you are a varsity athlete from Harvard no doubt goes a long way, because it is known how difficult the balance between sport and a rigorous academic load is. What makes this experience so special is that you get the best of both worlds; you get to obtain one of the best educations in the world while simultaneously competing for a top NCAA program. The meaningful relationships you form with your teammates and your  coach  are  undeniably  stronger  than  any  chemical  bond  you  learn  about  in chemistry class. Ultimately, you see them every day, travel with them to meets and in some cases even live with them. The support network available is a testament to the men’s track program. I remember when I first made the move to Harvard from Australia, the  team  was  the  reason  that  I  was  able  to  adjust  so  well  to  campus  life.  For  me personally,  what  has  allowed  me  to  get  through  four  years  of  such  a  mentally  and physically  intense  sport  was  not  only  my  enjoyment  of  it,  but  the  people  who  I  was surrounded by.
Harvard  Track  and  Field  has  given  me  the  incredible  opportunity  to  travel  around America and internationally as well. I will be forever grateful for an experience that very few get to be a part of, and I hope that one day I will be able to give back to a program that gave so much to me.