Every Thursday, GoStanford.com will present an interview with a Stanford women’s gymnastics alumna. This week, sophomore Maggie Teets features Carly Janiga (‘10) who earned a degree in psychology and competed in the all-around.
Maggie: Can you describe what you have been doing since graduating from Stanford?
Carly: Right after graduating in 2010, I went into the Stanford Teacher Education Program to get my masters and elementary teaching credential. Then I started teaching second grade at a public school in Palo Alto. I'm now in my third year at Juana Briones Elementary and I absolutely love the dynamic nature and challenge of the profession. Not to mention the kids are really fun to work with and they make me laugh constantly.
Maggie: What lessons have you carried with you from your experience on the Stanford gymnastics team?
Carly: Many, but if I had to pick the ones that influence my life the most, I'd say to carry a desire within you to always be better and everything is better when done with enthusiasm. On the team, I experienced the level of fulfillment you get when you give your all to something and keep expecting more of yourself. And secondly, no matter what we did on the team – conditioning, competitions, late night practices – approaching something with an enthusiastic attitude makes everything a million times better and more fun.
Maggie: What are your favorite Stanford memories?
Carly: When I think of my favorite SWG memory, of course there are so many great singular moments that stand out, but what is most special to me is normal, everyday practices. SWG reminded me of why I love the sport and helped me close out that part of my life with happiness and celebration.
Outside of SWG, my favorite memory happened before I even was accepted into the university. I visited Stanford the summer of my junior year in high school and from the moment I got on campus I was enamored by everything about Stanford (SWG, the unique culture, the intensity, the silliness – all of it) and I had such conviction that I was supposed to be there. That one-day visit was a little preview of what could be and I wanted to be a part of it.
Maggie: What was your favorite competition?
Carly: Two meets come to mind that both occurred during my freshman year. The first was my first NCAA competition at Georgia in front of over 10,000 people. I remember stepping out on the floor and feeling shocked at the energy in the arena. It was such a fun place to compete. Even though we bombed that meet, it was my first taste of NCAA gymnastics, the excitement and high of competing, and since we didn't do so well, how our team supported each other unconditionally while motivating and inspiring to come back even stronger the next time.
My second memory is the NCAA Championships in Utah my freshman year. We gave everything we had the entire year and even though we stood in fifth place (not even our highest finish), it felt so sweet.
Maggie: Who was your favorite professor?
Carly: I really liked Professor James Campbell who taught a history class about slavery in the 1800s. There were only about 5 of us in the class so it was really tailored to us and our interests. I learned a lot about the content, how to skim (history classes have LOTS of reading), and got to work closely with the professor.
Maggie: How is it now watching SWG compete versus competing?
Carly: Well some things don't change – I still sometimes cheer for the wrong girl and I don't know the line up order! I still have an absolute blast and feel so much pride to be a part of the competition, even if I'm on the other side of the divide.
I will always miss and have the best memories of competing on the mat, the thrill and nerves of waiting to compete, and cheering and being with my family out there. But I also feel good knowing that since I'm done, more girls get to have that same amazing opportunity that I did.
Maggie: Do you have any advice for the girls on the SWG team now?
Carly: Do lots of themed days for practice (80s day, dress up like a celeb day, army day etc). Realize how amazing and strong you are – you may never again be able to do a rope climb 100 feet up without using your legs! Realize how amazing everyone else is at the university and become friends with them. Enjoy the utter feeling of exhaustion after a hard practice or meet. Enjoy the little moments. And be yourself.