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Joanna Levin '17, University of California, Berkeley

"My dad and both of my siblings played sports in college, and sports have always been such a defining part of my life. Sports, and specifically lacrosse, have taught me that any success must be earned. It has fostered a work ethic that is transferable to the classroom and the workplace. I am not the tallest or fastest athlete, but that only makes me work harder. The idea of working to earn everything has really been ingrained into my identity by my family, coaches and teammates."
What made you choose Berkeley?

When I was getting recruited for lacrosse the first question I asked every coach was, “Are there any majors that you do not allow the players to declare?” This may seem surprising, but often some coaches will discourage or even disallow student-athletes from taking some classes or majoring in certain things. But at Berkeley, the coaches encouraged the lacrosse players to take whatever classes they wished. They prioritized the student before the athlete. I wanted to make sure I was playing lacrosse for a university that did not force me to sacrifice my academics.

What are you looking forward to the most about college?

I am looking forward to jumping into something completely new and scary. As much as I love Bryn Mawr, I feel like it is time for me to engulf myself in something new. California is far away, Division I lacrosse will be very physically taxing, and school is sure to be challenging, but I am ready to leap.

Which event did you most look forward to this year? Did it live up to expectations?

Although I was extraordinarily nervous, I looked forward to giving my convocation. The idea of giving my convocation freaked me out because I could not comprehend how I was already a senior. I was super nervous, but once I was up there everything felt natural. When I was finished, I could not believe that I had actually completed something that for so long seemed like it was so far away.

What project or assignment challenged you the most as a student?

For my Honors History of Science class at Gilman this year we had a final project in which we had to pick a problem we were passionate about and propose solutions. I chose to research how the polarization of the two major political parties impacts women’s reproductive rights. Although I would consider research to be one of my academic strengths, the project was long, intense, invasive and made me think like a politician. I had to consider so many angles when proposing viable solutions. It was most challenging to set aside my personal or emotional responses and think logically and factually.

Which subject do you think prepares you most for life after high school?

I think our English classes at Bryn Mawr prepare us for life after high school. The Harkness method teaches patience and community, two things I think will make Bryn Mawr students stand out after high school. English class at Bryn Mawr is a place where we bring stories to life and realize how interconnected we are. The empathy taught in English classrooms will stretch far beyond high school and even college.
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