Balancing and Exploring with Eliza Wainwright ’19

Eliza Wainwright is a Sophomore and McCabe scholar from Middletown, DE. We talked with her about student athletics, what Swarthmore looks like from the outside, interdisciplinary studies, and much more.

In addition to all your academic responsibilities, you also play Women’s Lacrosse. In your opinion, what is the biggest misperception people have about student athletics at Swarthmore?

I can only really speak to my own experiences as an athlete, but I sometimes get questions about how athletics interfere with my ability to keep up with schoolwork, how often I have to miss class, or if I have time to do anything that isn’t sports. I think there is a misconception that participating in a sport inhibits a student’s ability to meet their potential in other areas- like there’s some sort of profound sacrifice I make by playing lacrosse for two hours a day. I have time to do whatever, like attending a friend’s orchestra concert, venturing into Philly to the Barnes Foundation, participating in clubs, and binge-watching Breaking Bad. I’ve never missed a class for sports, I’m reaching my potential academically, I have a job on campus, and I even find time to sleep.

You also work as a tour guide after being an Admissions Intern over the Summer. What has working for the Admissions Office taught you about Swarthmore and the kind of people who want to go here?       

I’m in a position where I get to meet all kinds of students- students who are visiting Swarthmore solely because their parents want them to, or because they’ve dreamed of attending their whole lives. The students that want to go here are usually high achieving out of their own will (not their parents/teachers/whomever), curious, passionate, and collaborative. On tours, they ask questions and care about the answers. They’re involved and they see college as an opportunity to pursue interests and discover new ones. Cheesy, but it’s all true.

Your prospective major, Biology & French, is pretty unique. What advice would you give a first year considering a double major in the hard sciences and the humanities?

Check to see when your final projects will happen in senior year! Luckily, mine don’t overlap, which is usually not a problem with biology and languages. Always be cautious when planning schedules and make sure you can get the right amount of credits for both majors without overloading yourself. Most importantly, make room for classes you want to take, even if they’re outside of your majors. Allow interests to change and never let the fear of failing keep you from doing something important to you. College is a time for discovery!

What are you most looking forward to in 2017?

I guess pushing my limits. Sounds clichéd- isn’t that what everyone is trying to do every year- I know. Not original. But I think this is really the year I’m gonna find myself in some new and challenging situations. I’m a sophomore taking my first double credit seminar in biology, which, while it’s my major, is a subject that challenges me the most. I’m hoping to do research this summer, living away from home and on an entirely unfamiliar field of biology. I’m going to France in the Fall, I’m turning 21 in September, everything is going to be different! I’m nervous but I’m very excited for all of these new things.

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