Name: Natalie Pisch
Hometown: Blue Bell, Pa.
High School: Gwynedd Mercy Academy
Activities/Clubs/Committees: Newman Society
Why did you choose Haverford?
I chose Haverford because I felt that I could fully commit to challenging myself academically and athletically without having to compromise on having a fulfilling and well-rounded college experience. I was excited to find that Haverford student-athletes don't have to make concessions in their class choices, academic commitments, or even extra-curricular activities in order to succeed athletically. Being able to participate in academics, athletics, and a college community to the fullest extent was very appealing to me. The sense of community and shared values was also very influential. It is such a tremendous feeling to live in an environment where people are so rooted in trust, concern, and respect.
What is your favorite team experience?
My favorite team experiences have come from our matches against Swarthmore in the semifinals of the Centennial Conference in 2015, and in our regular season match-up in 2016. There is nothing quite like the energy that is generated from our rivalry matches, and it makes for a very fun competitive environment. In the 2016 playoffs, we were down by two sets and came back to win and advance to the finals. I got a block to end the fifth set, and the energy of everyone celebrating our victory was electric. Similarly, we had a fierce battle in our regular season match-up this year, and winning that last point and securing our playoff spot created a feeling of excitement and pride that is hard to match.
Why did you choose to play a sport in college?
Volleyball has always been a part of my life, and I couldn't imagine stopping. I have grown up always having a team as a support system, and having the drive of competition and trying to reach a goal. Playing a collegiate sport gives me a sense of structure and a network of teammates and other athletes who have similar mentalities.
What does being a student-athlete mean to you?
Being a student-athlete means committing yourself 100% to both academic and athletic success. I have found that these two endeavors can be complementary rather than competitive with each other. Finding that balance has been the crux of student-athlete life for me. Being a student-athlete at Haverford also means having a community of like-minded individuals within the athletic department and other teams who are there to support each other.
What makes Haverford unique?
Haverford is unique in how much trust and value is placed with the students. We are not just a number here. Within the Honor Code we must all actively maintain our community values and standards, and that responsibility cultivates a genuine and thoughtful environment. Student opinions and contributions are valued and respected by professors, coaches, and faculty. Every person here plays a role in building this sense of community.
What advice would you give a high school student considering Haverford?
My advice to a prospective student would be to see Haverford's distinctive qualities as an asset. I was initially nervous about missing the standard college experience by attending such a small and unique institution. However, while Haverford is certainly different from a typical college environment, that difference is a positive attribute, not a detracting feature. You can still find a fulfilling, well-rounded college experience within our unique community atmosphere!
What are your thoughts on the Honor Code?
The Honor Code is a central part of what makes the Haverford community such a special place. I love that the students, faculty, and staff here have all agreed to a shared set of values that run through every aspect of our lives here. The common thread of trust, concern, and respect enable us to live and learn with more freedom and a sense of community. The academic aspects of the Honor Code help to motivate learning for the sake of knowledge and not the competitive nature of grades that is prevalent in many other places. The social side of the Honor Code enables us to live with a sense of trust that members of this community are striving for the same ideals.