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Lin headed to Harvard

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he point of high school is to learn and receive an education that will gear them towards college and beyond. So college is what most high school students strive for after they graduate. Amanda Lin is the only senior who will be headed for Massachusetts as a Marieka Lee Harvard college student. Staff Reporter College first started to take notice of Lin because of her remarkable tennis skills. She went through recruiting in the beginning of her junior year until the fall of her senior year. “[The coaches] would come out and watch me play at national tournaments throughout the year,” Lin said. “It was kind of nerve-wracking knowing that my future depended on impressing them.” Despite the pressure, Lin’s biggest challenge was in deciding whether to accept full-ride tennis offers from schools like Syracuse and Ohio State, or choose an Ivy League school like Harvard, which does not offer any athletic scholarships. “This made the decision [to attend Harvard] difficult for me because, while I’ll be getting very generous financial aid, the tuition at Harvard still costs a lot,” Lin said. “While Harvard didn’t give me an athletic scholarship, they did help me a lot with my admission into the school. I’m very grateful for that, because I doubt I would have been able to get into the school without tennis, since Harvard is such a prestigious school.” Lin has been working hard in everything she does, whether it is in academics or on the tennis courts. Her desire to challenge herself will extend into the realm of college.

Her desire to challenge herself will extend into the realm of college. “I have no doubt that life at Harvard will be hard,” Lin said. “I know that the classes will be rigorous, but that’s what attracted me to Harvard in the first place. I’m nervous, because I don’t know if I’m quite ready to grow up and leave home, but I’m also excited because Harvard offers its students so many different opportunities.” Harvard will not only mean growing up for Lin, but also pursuing a field of interest and a career. “The sciences have always interested me, and I’d like to become a doctor for the opportunity to help others and possibly save lives,” Lin said. Medically saving lives might be her long term success goal for the future, but Lin has already accomplished much during her time at West—including the title of Valedictorian of the 2012 graduating class. “While I’m both honored and humbled by it, being Valedictorian wasn’t something that I was ever trying to achieve,” Lin said. “There are so many people at our school who are as smart, if not smarter, than I am. I’ve always wanted to do well in my classes, but I’ve never really thought that I would ever be Valedictorian.” Yet, Lin doesn’t let being number one in her class or attending Harvard next year stress her out. Lin still feels the need and pressure to do her best. Her work ethic aids her in both academics and in tennis. “I’ve felt pressure at being number one in my class, but I don’t think that pressure necessarily came from the need to be valedictorian,” Lin said. “I think that the tennis pressure comes from wanting to ‘achieve my fullest potential’ in both school and tennis, rather than from competition against my peers. It was wanting to get an ‘A’ or win a tournament for the self-satisfaction rather than for the title.”

Art of Fielding review

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iterary journal writer/ editor Chad Harbach makes his fiction debut with The Art of Fielding, a 529-pager that, despite its length, is well worth the read. The Art of Fielding centers on the Westish Harpooners, a horrendously bad Division III college baseball team in Nowheresville, Michigan. The Harpooners find hope in Henry Skrimshander, an incredibly talented freshman shortshop. With Skrimshander on their team, Westish seems poised to win the division title. But as the star shortshop makes one awful throw during a game, he manages to upend the futures of five different people. The Art of Fielding’s chapters follow five different people – Skrimshander (a baseball savant of sorts), team captain Mike Schwartz - who boasts both brains and brawn - Skrimshander’s flamboyantly gay roommate Owen “Buddha” Dunne, Westish president Guert Affenlight, and Affenlight’s romantically challenged daughter Pella – through the course of Skrimshander’s high school years. The consistency of the third-person speaker from chapter to chapter adds an almost God-like feel to the narration. But the part of Harbach’s story that really sets it apart is the characters, all of whom are amazingly realistic. Throughout the story, you’ll find yourself pulling for them and, as corny as it sounds, going through the ups and downs right along with them. As a voracious reader, I’ve learned that getting readers to jump on the characters’ bandwagons is the toughest task of all. Harbach seems to pull it off effortlessly. Although The Art of Fielding can drag on at times, Harbach’s exquisite attention to detail is well worth a little bit of patience. Take, for example, the following description-loaded sentence: “His elbows rested on his knees, his long knobby fingers interlocked. His forearms, hands and thighs formed a diamondshaped pond into which his tie dropped like an ice fisher’s line.” Harbach’s literary technique is the epitome of the mantra our second-grade English teachers uttered daily: “Show, don’t tell”. And though the novel’s title, The Art of Fielding, may put off the non-baseball fans, they need not worry. While the book uses baseball as a premise, the finesse with which Harbach steers his plot will not be lost on those who aren’t necessarily baseball fans. There’s still plenty to identify with, whether it’s the romantic whirlwinds the characters get caught up in - Harbach does a great job of putting his characters through the paces of the ultimate relationship barrier - or the remarkable camaraderie found among the ragtag bunch of players. The Art of Fielding is at its best a portrayal of a microcosm of society via the Harpooners baseball team. And yet, the greatest aspect of Harbach’s masterpiece is the themes and motifs he’s embedded into it. The Art of Fielding will make you think – without realizing you’re thinking. It’s as life-lesson laden as Shakespeare, without the confusing language.


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