As an incoming first-year in 2014, there was not much I was certain about. Like my friends and peers, I attended the activities fair on a scorching late-August day and signed up for countless activities on a whim. I’ve devoted much of my time after that day to two clubs, one of which was included in that “joined-on-a-whim” category. I’m now entering my second year as the Opinions Editor for that club. The second club, on the other hand, is the only one that I was determined to find and join on that hot summer day.
My time with the Brandeis Ski and Snowboard Team has been nothing short of a wild ride, but I wouldn’t have had it any other way. Never before had I known such passion, devotion and most of all, camaraderie. I met one of my closest friends because of the team. Joining was hands down the best decision I have ever made as a Brandeis student.
Fall 2014 was an eventful if not tumultuous time for me when it came to being an active member of any club. Not knowing anybody at The Brandeis Hoot or on the Ski Team, I pondered stepping back from both in favor of schoolwork. In fact, following what turned out to be a minor heart scare I had quit another club and was prepared to jump off the Ski Team train; after all, how could I have been of any use to the team with heart issues?
The team was completely understanding and accommodating of my recent issues, and against the wishes of the side of my brain that was telling me to step back, I soldiered on. I participated in the team’s dryland trainings. I went on my first training trip, learned how to race and participated in competitive ski races. I made lifelong friends.
Then, I did it again the next year.
Now I am one of three captains for the Ski and Snowboard Team, and I’m leading dryland trainings. I’m working with my co-captains to plan my third training trip and third racing season before I go abroad to The Hague.
In a tribute piece to the Brandeis University Swim and Dive Team published in The Brandeis Hoot’s March 4, 2016 issue, former-Editor-in-Chief Theresa Gaffney ’16 wrote, “I urge any young underclassmen who haven’t already to join a club that you think you could stick with for four years.” Although I’m just a junior and have four more semesters here (three on campus), I wholeheartedly agree with Gaffney’s sentiment.
My two-plus years with the Brandeis Ski and Snowboard Team have been extremely formative, and my experiences have no doubt shaped my development as a student, a skier and a person overall. I’ve made several close friends and further developed a passion that, admittedly, I was not very good at before my first training trip. This is the kind of experience I think that every Brandeis undergraduate student should have access to.
Such formative experiences you want to be a part of don’t exist exclusively in club or varsity sports; they exist in every club. My time at The Hoot has had similar effects, albeit for different reasons. I believe that everyone can find a niche to thrive in within one or more of Brandeis’ many clubs, club sports and varsity teams; you just need to find your passion and run with it without hesitation.
I’m grateful that I second-guessed my hesitation and I’m grateful that the Ski Team was understanding and accommodating. I would not be where I am today if it were not. The good thing is that all clubs on campus are friendly, understanding and accommodating, and are eager to have you—so go follow your passion, have amazing experiences and build lifelong friendships.
To my fellow teammates—here’s to you, and here’s to McBrine.