Nov. 20, 2012
STANFORD, Calif. - The Stanford women's volleyball program will recognize its seniors prior to the start of the Colorado match on Wednesday, Nov. 21. The Buffaloes and Cardinal will square off at 8 p.m. in Maples Pavilion, and the match will be televised by the Pac-12 Networks.
GoStanford.com sat down with Hannah Benjamin, Karissa Cook, Hayley Spelman and Jessica Walker to reminisce about their time on The Farm.
GoStanford: Looking back, what are some of your favorite memories with Stanford volleyball?
HB: My favorite memories off the court include long bus rides, road trips and preseason. These are always the craziest and funniest times because all of our team's quirky personalities come out and we spend countless hours laughing and poking fun at one another. My favorite on-the-court memory is the Nike Invitational. In Florida, we ended Penn State's 109-match winning streak!. Last year, we played this tournament at home in Maples and it was great competition and an awesome atmosphere. My favorite Stanford volleyball memory however, will be this year when we are playing in the Final Four in Lousiville!
KC: The day that I found out I was coming to Stanford to play volleyball. When we left Hayley and Morgan at the airport. Our sweet comeback win over Cal my freshman year. The day that the power went out and we still had to do 6am weights in the dark. When we stayed up all night together sitting in a hotel room telling stories my sophomore year when we got eliminated from the tournament. Playing open gym when we coached camps over the summer. When our bus crashed in the snow. Playing Silent Football every preseason. The day that we were done with the "Louies" forever. Seeing my family at almost every match.
There's so many of them! Overall though, some of my favorite memories include preseason Whole Foods team dinners, our annual team talent shows during retreats, and when we used to hangout for hours during training table at Jimmy's. Some other great moments include the time Inky mimicked John's every move at the Hawaii airport, Jay's exhibition of his dance moves at the retreat, and the amazing matches we won from beating Cal for the Pac-10 championship my freshman year to beating UCLA this year for the Pac-12 title!
JW: Some of my favorites include going to the final four freshman year, our annual team retreats to Santa Cruz, Halloween practices, and I'm hopeful that winning a championship will make the list this year.
GoStanford What do you know now that you wish you knew as a freshman (on or off the court)?
HB: I wish I knew more about the incredible opportunities that programs and groups across campus offer to students. It was only until last year that I began getting involved in programs within the medical field on campus such as the SIMS program, a shadowing program at the Stanford hospital and the iThrive and SHPRC program that has allowed me to be a Peer Health Educator in my sorority house this year. These have provided me real life experiences within medicine and health that I am very thankful for and will have for the rest of my life.
KC: I wish I realized that you don't need to try to be something more than yourself to be an integral part of this team. Success is dependent on absolutely everyone, whether you realize how much of a difference you make or not. I really wish I had known that it's none of your business what anyone thinks about you. Lastly, savor the good moments, learn from the bad ones, but love them all.
JW: As a senior, in retrospect it's easy to be here and list all the things I wish that I could have known walking in as a freshman. Simply put, I wish I would have known not to take things so heavily. It's a lesson that I learned later in my sophomore year, but being a Stanford student-athlete we tend to hold onto our mistakes more readily than our triumphs and time here on The Farm is too beautiful and short to live that way, so I would say learn from the mistakes, take a breath and keep it moving.
GoStanford What do you think you will miss most about this team?
HB: I am going to miss being surrounded by my sisters everyday. I think one thing that we take for granted is how being a part of this program and team has created a built-in family. We spend so much time together and I am truly going to miss always having a teammate or group of teammates by my side, whether we are competing in the gym, pushing ourselves in the weight room, doing something crazy and fun, studying, or even just laying around, spending time with each other.
KC: I am going to miss getting to see my best friends every day, and taking for granted that I have some of the most beautiful, quirky, talented and impressive ladies as a family. I'm going to miss learning about the game and (even more) about life from our coaches. I'm going to miss sweating with our outstanding weight coaches, athletic trainers, and physical therapists. I'm going to miss all of it. This team has been such an integral part of my life for the past four years that I have no idea what any day of my week will look like without it.
HS: I'm certainly going to miss the quarks about this team - Rachel and Lydias' quot-a-thon to Mean Girls, Shrek, and The Incredibles EVERY bus ride, practice, and spare time; J-Walk's sneeze; Brittany's vocabulary; Morgan's skilled dance moves; Carly's snapchats. I'll miss the team's funky dance moves to pre-game music and stomp. I'll miss Inky's superb mimicking talents. I'll miss Carly's surprise music videos and her vicious kills. I'm going to miss our team's love for coffee and fro-yo and I'll miss the heated team discussions about whether dogs or cats are better and the use of cute animal pictures from instagram as persuasion tactics.
JW: I think I will miss the day-to-day camaraderie the most. Hanging out in the locker room before practice and ending up laughing uncontrollably because someone's story from the day was so ridiculous. I will miss just being around a great group of girls day-in and day-out.
GoStanford Off the court, what has been the best/coolest thing you have experienced/come across at Stanford?
HB: The best thing that I have experienced at Stanford is the community, that is not only made up of students, but includes the professors, staff, coaches and fans. I have joined some of my professor's for dinner in their homes, babysat several professor's children, stayed with a donor family over the summer and even helped a professor build a bird cage over the weekend. It is so cool to be a part of such a close-knit, strong community that has allowed me to build relationships and connect with my professors beyond the classroom.
KC: I love the communities that exist here. I've met some of the coolest, hardest working people who genuinely give a darn. I've loved the houses that I've been lucky enough to live in, the staffs that I've been a part of, the classes and projects that I've slaved for, the all-nighters I've pulled, the special dinners and happy hours I've gone to, the low-key trouble I've gotten in, the embarrassing moments I've been in the center of, the lessons hard learned, and most of all, the insanely awesome friends I've made.
HS: Stanford events and traditions in general are something I will miss when I graduate. When the Dalai Lama came speak at Stanford was an incredible event. Traditions like fountain hopping, steam tunneling, Big Game week shenanigans, Band Run, and other quirky little traditions students do here are really cool to be a part of.
JW: I would have to say one of the top three coolest memories I have is our trip to China. It was my first time out the country and the crowds there were absolutely amazing. They had true love for the sport and were such genuine people.
GoStanford What has been your favorite class at Stanford and why?
HB: My favorite class at Stanford has been Psychology 147, a seminar class about the social and emotional development of children in the Bing Nursery school teaching environment. I got to spend five hours a week working with children at the Bing Nursery school, playing games, running snack time and making projects. I absolutely adore young children and always looked forward to my time at the Bing school.
KC: I really loved ME 101: Visual Thinking. I didn't sleep for a week, I was covered in hot glue gun burns and Exacto knife wounds, I developed a caffeine addiction, and forgot I had other classes for a week during our biggest project. But at 3 a.m. the night before it was due, our machine worked, and it was the most exhilarating victory that I've ever experienced off of the volleyball court.
HS: I took the main introductory to computer science classes here last winter. CS106A was one of the most challenging, stressful, and difficult yet rewarding class I took. There's nothing like that feeling of conquering each project and looking back at the computer screen and saying "I created that!" Procedural Anatomy is another favorite class of mine. It took place in the School of Medicine on campus, where I learned so much about anatomy and head related disorders with real prosected cadavers and amazing 3D medical devices!
JW: It's hard for me to narrow it down to one so I'll go with Introduction to photography, which I took sophomore year and psychology of architecture, a course I'm taking this quarter. Photography was nice because it helped me discover a new passion and psychology of architecture is a blast because it's structured quite differently from most of the classes that I've taken at Stanford in that it focuses on the inner experience of learning as well as the outer academic experience.
GoStanford What will you miss most about being a college student?
HB: I am going to miss living within walking distance from all of my best friends. Once we graduate, we will all be moving around the country, and even the world, following our dreams and starting the next chapters in our lives. Even though I know my friendships that I have made here at Stanford will not fade with distance, I am going to miss walking down the hall to my friend's rooms or biking across campus to visit, talk and laugh for hours before bed just because we can.
KC: Having my friends and teammates just a text, bike ride, or door knock away.
HS: Living five minutes away from all of my friends! I'm going to miss the spontaneous get-togethers, the casual drop-by lunches, the library "study parties". I'm going to miss being around amazing people all the time!
JW: I think having so many people in my corner acting as buffers to the real world is what I will miss about being a college student. From all of the donors that have made sure food and education were provided, to all the mentors and administrators that acted as guides, Stanford is filled with people whose purpose is to guide you in life's transitions. I'm excited to face those transitions with my own merit now, but I am so very thankful for all the help over the years.
GoStanford What are your plans for after graduation?
HB: After graduation, I plan on finishing up some pre-med requirements, getting a job or internship in the Palo Alto area within the medical or research field, while studying for the MCAT. Then, I will begin looking at medical schools and start the application process for school all over again!
KC: Avoiding the "real-world" for as long as possible. I'm hoping to co-term here at Stanford and play on the beach volleyball team, but I have to get in again so we'll see.
HS: Playing professionally overseas has been long-term goal and dream for me. Hopefully I can play for as long as I can!
JW: After graduation I plan to continue playing overseas. I haven't pinpointed where I would like to go, but I'm excited about continuing to play.