Most students quickly recognize that we don’t go to Carnegie Mellon University for the classes and the degree. We go to CMU for the relationships. Whether its a close network of friends, teammates and coaches, a teacher who becomes a lifelong advisor and friend, or a mentor met through serendipitous coincidence, the people we meet are what make CMU so special.
I met my mentor through a swim team fundraiser. Because she is in a different discipline than I am, she would never have been a professor for my classes. However, after teaching her child swimming lessons for a few weeks, she reached out to me and offered to help me with my internship search. Eventually she suggested that I look into a career path I had never considered, a career path that I never would have come up with on my own, and a career path that I am starting on in August.
This story is far from unique. Every student here has a similar story. Every student has a mentor or advisor or professor who guided them. While every story and person and mentor is different, the thread is the same. At CMU, the people want you to succeed, and will help you get there.
The people who helped me through my time here were all part of athletics. From day one I was part of a huge swimming family, a support network that has always been there to lean on. From Mechanical Engineering 101 to my senior capstone class, my team has been there to guide me through it. During my time here the team itself has grown and improved. This is most apparent in the individual attitudes each swimmer brings to the table. I have never been part of a more driven and positive group. As a team we are able to strive higher and work harder because each and every swimmer is here not as an obligation, but because they truly want to be here.
Not only do the swimmers bring positivity and peer leadership to the table, but our coaches and staff all work incredibly hard to make CMU athletics the community that it is. While leading a team of college students is by no means easy, our swim coaches have managed to guide and cultivate the attitudes and aspirations that define the team. While they push us hard every day to be our best, they also understand our difficult schedules and work to make sure that academics and athletics can coexist harmoniously. I will never forget texting Coach Kinney at 2:30 am to say that a cough was keeping me awake, only to have him reply 15 minutes later: “Don’t come to morning practice. Sleep.”
We are a close-knit team of like-minded athletes with diverse backgrounds. We are a family of students who put the team and each other above all. We are led by an amazing coach and a wonderful staff, led in turn by an athletics director who cares deeply about the success of each of his athletes. At the end of every day, and at the end of four years here, I am proud to be a Tartan.