As a tour guide, when I am asked by families what my favorite part of Case Western Reserve University is, without hesitation I reply, “the students.” The 4,386 undergraduate students who live, work and play on this campus make it so amazing. Each individual is immensely motivated and hugely driven, already accomplishing amazing feats.
In fact, my “a-ha” moment when I first arrived at CWRU that affirmed my decision to come here was during the welcome speech to the class of 2016. I sat in awe as President Snyder listed off the incredible accolades of my newly acquired peers.
While I love the involvement and dedication of CWRU students, too often we become too focused on our own goals and forget to acknowledge and appreciate the accomplishments of the other 4,385 students on campus. Most students here love the anomaly that is CWRU, but unfortunately this love does not always equate to school spirit and support of our peers.
I, like most other CWRU students, am involved in plenty of extracurriculars. One of my favorite activities on campus is actually related to academics: my sports medicine minor clinical hours. I have devoted many hours to taping ankles and filling water bottles to gain insight into the world of sports medicine.
Through these clinical hours I have witnessed firsthand just how hard our student athletes work. If you are a student athlete or have a friend who is an athlete at CWRU, then you can attest to this fact.
Between early morning lifting sessions, team internal bonding activities, team meetings and late night practice sessions, student athletes are always busy. While I am debating whether to watch Netflix, take a nap or be productive, they are headed to a two-hour practice. It is a huge commitment and even though CWRU is only involved in Division III varsity athletics, the efforts of our student athletes demand more support than the lackluster smattering of fans throughout the stands.
This past Sunday, the junior varsity football team played John Carroll University. Few are probably aware the game transpired, much less what the score was (CWRU handedly won, for the record). Even though the level of football could not compare to the NFL games playing on TV, the JV football game was still exciting. The players were focused and excited to play: They trained hard this past week in practice for this moment to take the field and to play football.
I enjoy watching people get rewarded by their hard work, accomplishing their goals and doing exactly what they want to be doing. Thus, my favorite moment of the football game was when a player, who returned from injury, made a fantastic one-handed reception in the end zone for a touchdown. The reception was no doubt skilled, but knowing that the athlete had bided his time while injured and worked hard during rehab to get to that moment made the catch all the more excellent.
If football or any of the other 18 varsity sports here at CWRU are of absolutely no interest to you, then that’s okay. There are numerous activities CWRU students devote their precious time to that could use more support from within the community.
So go to a research symposium and listen to your friend present their summer research project; go to the talk your classmates’ organization is hosting; cheer on your suitemate as she kills her first solo in her acapella group; attend your roommates’ sororities’ charity event; take a walk through Thwing once a week and enjoy any of the number of events going on.
Hard work is the norm at CWRU, whether it be in the classroom, with a club or on the playing field. We put in the hard work because we believe in the outcome, because the end is well worth the means. That moment when our goals are realized and our dreams become our accolades are much sweeter and by far more gratifying when we can share our accomplishments with our friends and know we have the support of our peers.
Heather O’Keeffe is a second year student studying biomedical engineering and sports medicine. She tapes a mean ankle and is super stoked to be a Power Ranger for Halloween.