STANFORD, Calif. - On Sunday, we asked the question, Who Am I? Today, the identity of the mystery Stanford gymnast is revealed: It's Stanford freshman Melissa Chuang.
In a poem posted Sunday on gostanford.com, Chuang gave some clues as her identity. Among the characteristics she revealed: "I am strong willed and witty," and "If there's a will there is always a way."
To get to know Melissa, enjoy the following video interview and Q&A with team manager Tori Lewis:
Tori: Welcome to Stanford! How was NSO (New Student Orientation)? Melissa: I loved NSO! I got to meet a lot of new people, my dorm mates are amazing, and all the activities were great.
Tori: Do you have a favorite memory from NSO? Melissa: That’s hard - it all kind of flowed together. I loved FACES. It was an amazing and really eye-opening experience. I felt like I was able to connect with Stanford on a different level. It made Stanford a lot more comfortable.
Tori: How are classes looking this quarter? Melissa: Good! I’m nervous and excited about some classes, but the professors and people in my classes are amazing. With all the advisors and help, it has been going really smoothly.
Tori: What are you most looking forward to about this year? Melissa: I’m most looking forward to the friendships, connections, and relationships I’ll establish with everyone at Stanford. I’m really looking forward to exploring my new environment, being able to go to new places, and meeting new people.
Tori: How are you liking college athletics so far? Melissa: It’s definitely a lot of hard work, but it’s totally worth it. I love the team, and the conditioning is tough, but I know it’s going to pay off in the end.
Tori: The motto of SWG this year is “All in. Every moment.” Is there a moment that that really sunk in for you? Melissa: SWG was doing something called a “river” on the spin bikes – sprints, followed by rest, and more sprints. For the last 10 seconds of the circuit, we were all incredibly tired and dripping with sweat, but everyone was screaming. Every single girl went as fast as they could, cheered as loud as they could, and went all out. It was so loud I thought I was going deaf! In that moment, I realized everyone was connected and putting in more than 100 percent effort. I felt such a connection with the team; it was amazing. Having your teammates with you, cheering right alongside you, it just makes everything better and helps you keep going.
Tori: What do you think the biggest change from high school to college has been or will be for you? Melissa: The class sizes are much different than high school. There are some classes with 15 people and other introductory classes with 100. There’s also a lot more freedom with choosing classes instead of being assigned classes.
The gymnastics team is also a lot different. SWG is a family and more team-oriented. Gymnastics is an individual sport, but here at Stanford, it does not feel like that. The friends you make at college are different too! The energy level is so different, and I’m loving it.
Tori: Have you found a cool little nook on campus yet? Melissa: There's a circular field outside of the gym with patches of grass, hills, random trees, and patches of sunlight. It's really peaceful there, and I love sitting in the grass, soaking up the sun, and enjoying the outside light.
Tori: How’s your freshman dorm? Melissa: I’m loving it. I love the RAs, the RF, and my roommate! I love everyone I have met here. Everyone has a different story and different backgrounds. Learning and hearing from them makes me appreciate everything they have to offer.
Tori: What’s your favorite Stanford gymnastics memory so far? Melissa: SWG passing the skills test together. We had different requirements and routines to perform on each event, and we passed it the first time. I think, collectively as a team, it showed we are all together gymnastics-wise. It’s just another indicator that this is going to be a great season.
Tori: Is there any random fact that people should know about you? Melissa: I was born in the Stanford Hospital! It’s kind of funny being back here now, especially since I want to do pre-med. I’m coming back to where I started!