Meet Yvette Cho ’19
Oct. 29, 2018
Who Even Are You?
The million-dollar question. At least, my million-dollar question. Maybe for you it amounts to less, but after all, I’m the one writing right now, and it feels pretty important!
As a soul-searching, “life must mean more than my mere existence” college student navigating life at Brandeis, I crave what we all so longingly yearn for: an identity. This is supposed to be an introduction of me, and if I conformed to the norm of telling you all of the basics (major, year, those summer internships that I absolutely, totally, 100 percent enjoyed) then I would be contradicting my whole point of being uniquely me, right? Identity is much more than that anyway. It’s dynamic, it’s fluid, and it’s the daily, mundane experiences alongside the epiphanies that turn your world upside down that shape it.
I’ve landed this position as a student writer for BrandeisNow, and my pieces will be a written account of the tumultuous yet fun mission I’m on towards branching outside of my comfort zone and moving towards self-growth. Throughout my time here, I will be bringing you along my student experience and the experiences of others on campus, to offer different perspectives of life at Brandeis. Hope you all follow along the way!
Right now, I may not be able to put into words a clear vision of who I am, but I can tell you about a part of my life that has been a major influence towards my personal growth and development, and my overall student experience here at Brandeis: my time on the women’s volleyball team. If you told me four years ago that I would be waking up at 5:30 almost every morning for volleyball practice, I would have theoretically told you “wow, I don’t believe you!” and carried on with my life of not playing volleyball. Yet here I am, four years deep on the team, with a circadian clock that impacts my social life in more ways than I’d like to admit.
So here is a look into the life of a Division III student athlete at a university ranked third in “No Sports Attendance” by the Princeton Review.
Me, Yvette Cho (’19), playing the sport that has taught me teamwork, communication, and leadership
I like to make jokes about the sports culture on campus: I find it to be such an enigma that the only way I can cope with it is through humor. Brandeis athletics boasts some of the most competitive Division III teams in the nation, which requires an amazing amount of work, effort, planning and thought – more than I could have ever imagined before I committed to play here.
Some foam rolling fun with my teammates. Left to right: Marlee Nork ’19, Hannah Saadon ’21, Marissa Borgert ’21, Belle Scott ’21, and Zara Platt ’19
The team is led by Grace Krumpack ’19 in some early morning stretching
Being fully committed to this team while also attempting to be a typical overachieving Brandeis student is not an easy feat. My head is telling me to join five more clubs and get another unpaid internship on top of my workload, while my heart is telling me to buy a thousand lottery tickets and hope for the best. Missing classes for games, spending the weekends at tournaments instead of studying, and having joint soreness at 21 years old doesn’t make life at college much easier.
But for me, the benefits of being on the volleyball team far outweigh the stressors that come with it. You learn how to work together with a group of people whose big personalities can overwhelm and overpower all 5’ 2” of your being within seconds. You learn that hard work won’t always translate into the outcome that you hope for. (Knowing this made the blow of a failing grade written in that unforgiving red ink on a midterm a little less harsh.) So there are many invaluable life skills that volleyball has taught me, and I will forever be indebted to this experience. From the great breakfast spread we have after every practice, to the music videos we make on away trips before our 9 p.m. bedtime, the moments with my beloved teammates are the memories that I will think of first when I reminisce on my time here. So wholesome of me, I know.
Playing for Brandeis University in particular has given me a unique student athlete experience that is quite different compared to most other colleges due to the nature of the school. I mean, the Princeton Review quantified our level of disinterest towards sports and published it for the world to see: what more can I say? I can’t speak for other athletes on campus but I find this endearing. No, we don’t have crazy tailgates or a gym full of grown men covered in blue and white body paint, but we do have Quidditch teams and poetry slams! Although the sports culture at Brandeis may change, if you’ve been a student here you know the traditional student athlete archetype is pretty non-existent amidst the diverse student body that exists within our campus.
With that said, I’ve started to dabble in some soul-searching that extends beyond being just a volleyball player. The dreaded search for meaning that people speak of. I bet you can relate. It’s tough to not let what consumes your time, energy, and emotions become who you are, and with my time at Brandeis coming to an end in the near future, I want to find out more about myself and what I want to pursue because reality is just around the corner. Thanks for your willingness to come along!
The biggest reason why I love being on the volleyball team is the people that I play with!