The 2019 Senior Perspectives is the 14th 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.
Harvard Women’s Track and Field
As a spring track and field athlete, I am still in season as I write this reflection. The idea and concept of ending my collegiate track and field career is quite daunting and I feel a level of emotional uncertainty. However, in my moment to stop and reflect, I cannot be more grateful for the experiences that Harvard track and field has given and afforded me. To say I have learned so much, would be an understatement. I have not only learned, I have changed, and grown into the woman I am today because of Harvard track and field and Harvard Athletics. In order to truly reflect, I will take you through the biggest learnings that I acquired each year and season as a student athlete at Harvard.
As a freshman, I was uncertain and scared about coming to Harvard because I wasn’t sure I belonged. I was not the smartest in my class, and coming to Harvard meant that I wasn’t going to be the fastest anymore. There came a time when I was going to quit track and transfer and in that moment, I had to make a decision – I could either continue to allow myself to sit in a comparison trap my entire life and allow it to ruin every new experience, or I could accept me for me and find value in what I can personally bring to Harvard and to the track team. So, with the help of my parents and coaches, I choose to accept me for me and trust the process that we call life with all its ups, downs, and uncertainties. My freshman season, I went on to accomplish and break multiple ivy league records, be a part of the first ivy league 4X100 team to go to nationals, and etch my name in ivy league history.
Sophomore indoor and outdoor season was its own learning curve. I was still searching for where I belonged in track and in the greater Harvard community. This was the year I learned a lot about myself, but also a lot about who I was as a person, and the things I needed to improve in order to be a better person, classmate, teammate, and friend. My sophomore year, I learned two important lessons – how to turn selfishness into selflessness. Throughout the year, I learned through track, my classes, and my interactions with people to learn from, listen to, to be considerate of others. I learned how to really, really care for those around me and not to compare myself to my teammates and friends. When it came to the end of the year, I had two choices: Since I had injured my hamstring two weeks before the NCAA Regional Championship, I could choose to be selfish and take an opportunity away from three deserving people to have a chance to take a relay to the NCAA National Championship, or I could choose be selfless and train and rehab my hamstring to get better and be able to start the race. I choose to train, get better and start the race. Although we didn’t end up making it to nationals, I still learned the value of self- sacrifice, selflessness, and the importance of your teammates, working together and encouraging others.
My junior season I learned the value of gratitude and being thankful for not only the big wins, but also the small wins. My junior season was a season filled with injury. From my hip, to my right hamstring, then my left hamstring, then my right again. I went from being been back-to-back runner up in the 60m and the 100m in the Ivy League Championship, to not even making finals and getting sixth place my junior year. It was the most challenging of seasons mentally, emotionally and physically. Although I didn’t finish out the season where I wanted to be, I learned not to take the little things for granted and to continue running the race in front of me, no matter the obstacles. I learned to stay the path and stay in the race because where there was a setback, there would be an even greater comeback.
And last, but not least, my senior season- comeback season. It has been quite a 60m & 100m journey throughout the last three years. The best moment of my entire collegiate career was winning my first Ivy League Individual Championship at my home track, Gordon Track. Winning my first championship my last collegiate season was a testament to the blood, sweat, and tears I’ve shed over the last three years. But, it’s not over yet. I look forward and hope to finish my season at the NCAA National Meet and at Harvard track and field’s historic HYOC (Harvard Yale /Oxford Cambridge) Meet. My senior season, I have learned and I am still learning to take it all in, to enjoy every moment I get to step on that line, and to finish the four-year race that I have started. I take you through this journey and perspective to shed light on how instrumental Harvard Athletics and Harvard track and field has been in fostering and growing me as a teammate, as a friend and as an individual. I want to thank my coaches, my trainers, my teammates and my friends who have been a part of my journey and have made a lasting impact on my life.
Expectant for my future and excited to run on the worlds track next.