Dec. 13, 2012
STANFORD, Calif. -
Each Thursday, GoStanford.com presents an interview between a former Stanford gymnast and team manager Tori Lewis. This week, Tori interviews Kendall Beck. The following is Tori's conversation with Kendall:
Tori: Can you catch everyone on up on what you've been doing since graduating from Stanford?
Kendall: I spent a couple years at Stanford doing research. Then I went to medical school in Texas and now I'm in my second year of internal medicine residency at UCSF. Oh, and in between there, I got married as well!
Tori: How was your medical school experience different from your undergraduate experience?
Kendall: It's different because you're finally focused on one thing that you're planning on doing for the rest of your life. It's a little bit geared toward focus and study and you feel good about what you're doing. It definitely requires a lot more studying and I think it's just different because there's a lot more practical application, like clinical rotations, than there was in undergrad.
Tori: What life lesson has stuck with you from your time in the gym?
Kendall: Dedication to a certain goal. It's definitely something important that got me through medical school. I also think just always cherishing your friendships and your teammates.
Tori: What's your favorite memory from SWG?
Kendall: There were so many, but one of the best was when we made it to Super Six for the first time in 2002. It was the first time Stanford Women's Gymnastics had ever made it to Super Six. It was so exciting to just make it to that next echelon and our team that year just got along so well with each other. That particular team has kept in touch a lot through the years and I think making it to Super Six really started that.
Tori: Do you have a funniest memory from SWG?
Kendall: There are probably some that I shouldn't say! [laughs] I think some of the funniest have come even after we've graduated, the good times that we've had on team reunions and such.
But one of the funniest was during my freshman year. We had to do a lip sync dance and there were 6 girls on the team. We had to do it with the men's freshmen as well and that year there was only one. So we did a dance to "It's Raining Men" and he was kind of the star!
Tori: How have you stayed connected with the team since graduation?
Kendall: We pretty much have a reunion of some sort every year. It started with us just planning to get together somewhere in the country: we went to Las Vegas a couple times, D.C., Vancouver... Then that kind of transitioned to going to bachelorette parties, going to weddings once people started getting married. We've had one, if not multiple, reunions every year.
Tori: Do you have any other thoughts or reflections about your particular era with the team?
Kendall: I think our era was about trying to elevate the level of Stanford Women's Gymnastics. The team was always really close-knit, but I think the girls during my time really came in wanting to elevate the level of the team within the NCAA community and the upperclassmen really helped us toward that. It was really exciting to leave at the end of our senior year with a legacy of expecting to make it to the national championship. Not that that's easy by any means, but once you get that momentum, the team is able to maintain that status year after year. I think we accomplished the goals we set out to.
Tori: Can you talk a little bit more about your broader Stanford experience, including your academic and social experiences?
Kendall: I majored in human biology and that of course led me to my current career. I couldn't have imagined majoring in anything else; that was definitely the right choice for me. I really enjoyed the combination of basic and social sciences together. I think it prepared me well for medical school in some ways.
I also made a lot of great friends that were not gymnasts or athletes that I continue to keep in touch with pretty closely after graduation. I think without them, my Stanford experience would not have been as rich or enjoyable. I think Stanford in general does a good job of trying to integrate different folks with different interests and activities. I thank them for that.
Tori: Do you have any advice for the current athletes?
Kendall: For one, going off the last question, just making sure you're enriching your experience with interactions with other students in addition to the other gymnasts and athletes. I know it contributed a lot to my own experience.
But as always, your teammates are the ones who are always going to be there for you. So definitely nurture your relationships with them as well. Be sure to really enjoy the experience. Once it's over, you can't go back. You can cherish the good memories and just be happy with the time you spent there.
Tori: Any parting remarks?
Kendall: Always remember the alumni are here for the current team and want to help out in any way we can!