Gymnasts Answer Your Questions

April 1, 2009

STANFORD, Calif. - Recently, readers were invited to ask members of the Stanford women's gymnastics team a question. A few were submitted and the gymnasts responded.

To senior Kelly Fee (from Annika):

Q: What are you planning to do after you graduate?
A: Annika, I will graduate in December after I study abroad in Chile for the fall quarter. I am not 100 percent sure what I will be doing once I graduate. I'm looking into a number of options from journalism graduate school to consulting to working on Capitol Hill. I've been active in fighting human trafficking this year and I would love to continue doing that in some way as well. If you have any suggestions or job openings, please let me know!

To Tenaya West (from Rick):

Q: How did you develop the height on your tumbling? Is that something that you've worked on, or does it come naturally?

A: Thank you! I guess it is probably a bit of both. I've worked a lot over the years on my technique while tumbling, but not directly on gaining more air time. I'm lucky enough to have legs with natural spring to them, so if I set myself up correctly then the height follows.

To the freshmen (from Paul):

Q: I would like to hear each give one impression of the change in coming from their home state or country, and it doesn't have to relate to gymnastics.

A, from Nicole Pechanec:
I must say that the biggest change for me was living with roommates. After living in Europe on my own for three years, I became very independent and used to living with just myself. I am lucky to have been paired with three amazing roommates that support everything I do and are not only caring but extremely entertaining. It was quite a change however.

A, from Alyssa Brown:
It has been a very easy transition for me. I believe this is because of the people on campus, specifically my teammates. Everyone here wants to help you succeed. They are always available to answer questions and help guide you in the right direction. This help and advice has made the transition from home to Stanford very smooth.

A, from Jenny Peter:
Since coming to college at Stanford, one mindset that has changed is that I learn the most and get the most out of an experience when I get over my timidity and ask questions both in the classroom and in the gym. Now when I'm in the classroom, I am more engaged in the discussions and raise my hand frequently to get the most out of the experience. In the gym, communication is important and I've learned I can ask my teammates and coaches anything. If you're curious about something, just ask!

A, from Catherine Nguyen:
Before I came to Stanford, I thought that I could handle things on my own. I thought that everything would come as easy as they did in the past. With parents taking care of everything for me, I didn't realize how much they contributed to my success in life. When I started school, everything hit me all at once. There was so much going on! I felt like everything was piling up and I felt like there were too many things going on for me to handle. I had to work hard to get the things that I wanted. They didn't come as easy as they used to. But what I've realized is that when you work really hard for something you really want, when you actually achieve your goal, the feeling of accomplishment is 100 times better than when it's just given to you.

So, for the first time, I had to act like an adult and take responsibility for my actions. As the year went on, my teammates, coaches, and staff members were extremely helpful. All the questions I had were answered and if I was having trouble with anything, I knew that someone was always ready to help. Even though I still have to handle things on my own, I know that I have a huge support system that is ready to help.

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