What Is The Harvard University Rowing Team’s Message To Hungarian Students?

  • 13 May 2015 9:00 AM
What Is The Harvard University Rowing Team’s Message To Hungarian Students?
Harvard rowing team in Budapest: they came, they saw, they conquered and they encouraged talented students to dare to dream big. This year a unique team entered the famous Danube Regatta rowing competition: the men’s crew of Harvard University rowing team grabbed paddles and kept rowing until they reached the first place and won the race.

The news of their visit and victory has probably already spread but the crew did not stop at conquering the Danube.

The boys joined an exclusive event organized by the Harvard Club of Hungary where they encouraged students to trust themselves and dare to dream big.

Apropos of the Danube Regatta, the Harvard Club of Hungary organized a podium discussion to inspire young talents. The patron of this unique event was Dr Miklós Tóth, Vice President of the Hungarian Olympic Committee. Apart from the rowing crew of Harvard, the guest of honor was Dr Dóra Győrffy, high jump record holder of Hungary and associate professor at Pázmány Péter Catholic University.

The outstanding results both in academics and sports achieved by the invited speakers set a great example how to find the balance between studying and doing sports, how to give the maximum in other, extracurricular activities along with having excellent scholastic achievements.

Rich, colorful, active life Both Dr Dóra Győrffy, Harvard Alumna and the rowing team of the American university emphasized that performing well at school is necessary but not sufficient: being able to show any kind of extra skills or achievements beyond good grades is a must. Whether or not it is doing sports, singing, painting or examining the structure of chemical elements, the point is to live life to the fullest and present talents in different fields.

As a member of the rowing crew recalled: “I was expecting to be asked to talk about theories and theses during the selection interview but it wasn’t what they were interested in. I came from a musical school so the discussion was about musicals.

The committee wanted to know what other things I am good at, in addition to my good grades. They wanted to know my personality, the real me.” Both the invited guests and Kornélia Litkei, senior advisor at Fulbright Commission put emphasis on the fact that everybody has talents and skills. All they have to do is unwrap them and show how colorful individuals they actually are.

Not impossible

James O’Connor, the captain of the Harvard rowing crew from New Zealand has been passionate about rowing since he was little but the New-Zealand sportsman has never imagined that one day he will be rowing on Harvard waters. “I have never thought of applying to Harvard but the coach of the university team saw me during a competition and he advised me to give it a try and apply to Harvard. He has been encouraging and supporting me during the whole application process.”

A lot of Hungarian students do not even consider the possibility of applying to a world-famous university abroad because they think that their parents could not afford the astronomical tuiton fees. It is very important though that thanks to the available scholarships and financial aid system, 90% of the Hungarian families are eligible for financial support.

Thus, those who succesfully complete the application and selection process do not need to spend extra money on their education until they reach their Harvard diploma. It sounds surprising but the message is very clear and simple: everybody could afford to go to Harvard University.

The guests of honor pointed out that going to Harvard University is a much more realistic goal than most of the people believe it is. ”Harvard students are just like us, your friends from high school or you guys.” claimed members of the Harvard rowing team.

Dr Dóra Győrffy, who was a NCAA high-jumper champion of Harvard in 2001 and has just defended her academic thesis for doctor’s degree, said: “There is nothing to lose by giving it a try and applying to Harvard. Moreover, once you’re in, Harvard won’t let you go, not even after your graduation.

The possible failures should not stop anyone. A failure can result in new opportunities. An injury ended my sport career but it launched my academic career and made me turn to scientific life. At the end, I am grateful for my failures.”

Students who attended the Harvard Club event could learn that the most important thing apart from having good grades is to try their best to reach the maximum, either in sports or other extracurricular activities. As Dr Miklós Tóth recalled: “Tamás Széchy, the superb coach who trained Hungarian swimming legends, started every single training with checking the students’ gradebooks.”

Then he added: “Today youngsters are supported by several honors programs and have great opportunities both in Hungary and abroad. Consequently, even though Hungary is a relatively small country, with knowledge and outstanding performance in sports or art, we could get to the forefront indeed.”

Visit Harvard Club of Hungary online: http://www.harvardclub.hu/

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