We were losing 1-2, with five minutes until the end of the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference field hockey championship game.
I was close to tears on the field because everything we had worked for all season would be over in just a few minutes. Still, I had five more minutes to play, so I decided to give everything I had for the rest of the game. With 81 seconds remaining, I scored on a short corner. I heard a large group of Alpha Phis in the stands cheering, and as we moved into overtime, my attitude completely changed. I knew that we could and would win. Within minutes of starting the sudden-death overtime period, my teammate, Anna Teruya, the president of APhi at the time, scored, making us the NEWMAC champions and giving us an automatic bid into the NCAA tournament! Hearing that ball hit the cage was probably the single happiest moment in my athletic career, and I was so happy to share that moment with both my sisters on the team and the sisters who had come to support us.
Looking back at that moment and others, my MIT experience has been enriched by two things: my involvement in my sorority and competition in athletics. While these might seem to be different activities, they have both taught me how to lead by example and how to work with a variety of people.
I made the decision to join both of these groups before my freshman year had even begun. There was no question in mind when I came here that I wanted to play field hockey. Field hockey has been a huge part of my life since I started playing in fifth grade. Similarly, I was very confident in my decision to join a sorority. Even before visiting, I was fairly certain I wanted to be involved in Greek life because I knew MIT was going to be difficult, and I knew that having close friends would be important. It was just a matter of which sorority I wanted to join. My (biological) older sister was a Kappa Delta at Cornell, and I knew from her experience that there was a lot more to fraternities and sororities than what you see in movies and on TV. All of the affiliated girls I met over CPW confirmed my initial instinct that I wanted to go through recruitment. The girls I met were so poised, confident, and interesting. I couldn’t wait to be a part of MIT’s Panhellenic community.
In the fall of my freshman year, I went through recruitment and joined Alpha Phi while playing varsity field hockey. Some of my sisters convinced me to go out for the lacrosse team in the spring, and I’ve been playing both ever since. Before I came to MIT, I only had a limited exposure to lacrosse. I came into my freshman season hardly knowing how to throw and catch, but it helped a lot that my fellow neophyte sister Meghan was also learning. We even had upperclassmen in APhi giving us tips and working with us outside of practice to get us up to speed.
Athletics and sororities have both been great experiences for me, and I especially love the intersection of the two. I love hearing my sisters cheering for me at my games or reading an email sent to APhi congratulating another sister on being the Coop Athlete of the Week. I love taking SafeRide back to APhi after a tiring practice and eating dinner with my teammates and sisters. I love hosting team dinners and showing off our beautiful Back Bay home to my coaches.
Through athletics and my sorority, I’ve been able to develop my leadership skills. Alpha Phi gave me opportunities for leadership starting in my freshman year. During that year, I served as our athletic chair and felt a great sense of pride organizing and competing on our intramural sports teams. I have to admit that we may not win in every sport, but we always have a lot of fun. From athletic chair, I became house supervisor and new member educator, ultimately becoming chapter president. The role of president can be challenging both in terms of the time commitment and making decisions concerning 134 members with an advisory team of seven. Heading the executive board and overlooking four departments within APhi was a challenge, but at the end of the day I love being able to give back to an organization that has given so much to me. I have learned valuable lessons in leadership, like how to delegate effectively and how to efficiently solve small problems as they arise, and have become a much more effective leader as a result.
Both athletics and sorority roles have complemented each other: lessons I learned on the APhi Executive Board make me a better field hockey captain and vice versa. As a senior starting to interview for jobs, I realize how important these experiences have been. I am so thankful for the members of my sorority and my teammates for giving me a chance to take on these roles and learn lessons in a friendly environment.
Maybe most importantly, Alpha Phi and MIT Athletics have helped me make the most amazing friends. Imagining my life next year in another city without all of these friends already makes me sad, but I know that the friendships I’ve made here will last. I know that whenever I come back to campus, there are two places that I will visit to reconnect: 479 Commonwealth Ave and the Z-Center.