Humans of Harker: The tracks of community

Aditya Singhvi strengthens his community through sports and journalism

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Irene Yuan

“When you’re running on your own, there’s nothing really stopping you from just walking, other than your own motivation to get better. A major part of cross country is that it’s a mental sport because of … self motivation — learning how to motivate myself to push harder and do better has carried over to other aspects as well,” Aditya Singhvi (12) said.

With music blasting through the speakers, some high school students ran their races while others stood by and waited for their own. Aditya Singhvi (12) recalls the details and atmosphere of one particular cross country meet his freshman year of high school.

“We realized there was a mascot competition or something and we were prepared,” he said. “We got Mr. Molin to give us the eagle, and so we took turns dressing up in the eagle and just dancing because it was a really fun meet…that one was on a golf course so I think at some point [we] just got bored of sitting there waiting for a race and then we went and found some random kids from other schools to go play football with.”

Although his ease with his teammates suggests years of training together, Aditya didn’t start running track until eighth grade. After joining the team on impulse, he found that he really enjoyed it. Following a successful middle school track meet, he decided to try out cross country his freshman year and has continued both cross country and track ever since.

Aside from the competitive element in terms of speed and working with his team, one thing Aditya appreciates about the sports is the individual aspect.

“Going out for runs on [my] own for me really helps me stabilize myself, and whenever I’m not having a good day or I’m anxious about something or I’m scared or I’m angry, [I] just go and run it off,” Aditya said. “The fact that I know I can just go out and do that any day, when I need to — it’s really comforting for me because I can just be alone with my own thoughts.”

Although the individuality of the sport can be helpful and refreshing, it can also be one of the biggest challenges.

“When you’re running on your own, there’s nothing really stopping you from just walking, other than your own motivation to get better,” Aditya said. “A major part of cross country is that it’s a mental sport because of … self motivation — learning how to motivate myself to push harder and do better has carried over to other aspects as well.”

While it may not be obvious from the outside, this self-motivation really does carry over and affect the way Aditya lives his life.

“When he wants to do something and puts his heart to it, he definitely does … He goes on runs, [and] almost every day he comes back and tells me the results, how he’s always striving for better,” friend Bryan Zhang (12) said. “Something that drives his improvement is that he constantly wants to be the best at something he really enjoys doing. That’s something that you don’t see from him on a surface level … I don’t think people see how much persistence [is] within him.”

His determination and perseverance can sometimes be hidden by his generally jovial disposition, but his outward carefree nature does not detract from anything that he strives for.

“Last year … I got to see him work with people at the table, and there’s lots of fun, right? Yes, joking around, but the work is still getting down, projects are still being accomplished, data is still being collected,” Dr. Eric Nelson, the upper and middle school computer department chair, said.

Besides just persistence and a hard-working nature, Aditya’s self-motivation also drives his more explorative side. For example, he goes beyond the parameters of what is strictly necessary in his classes in order to experiment and satisfy his curiosity.

“He will do more than what is needed, which makes it a whole lot more fun because it allows him to play more,” Dr. Nelson said. “[There’s] also little whimsical elements of ‘Well, what happens if you overload the Atwood machine? Well, it turns it into a trebuchet.’ So that’s the kind of stuff that would happen at the table: so there was a little bit of an exploratory whimsy, which I appreciate, because that’s what I would have done.”

Similar to running track, Aditya’s decision to join journalism also blossomed from an impulsive decision. Although he was initially signed up for the Speech and Debate elective, the summer before his freshman year, Aditya took a math course at Bellarmine College Preparatory. Since it was only a half-day course and his father couldn’t pick him up early, he was also enrolled in a journalism course.

“I [took the journalism course] and it was honestly pretty fun and I enjoyed it, so I just decided to switch my life at the last minute,” Aditya said. “Same with running: it was a very spur-of-the-moment decision — there wasn’t that much time planning to it at the time.”

One of Aditya’s favorite aspects of journalism stems from his interactions with his community. Some of his favorite moments take place immediately after the sports games he covers: talking with and interviewing the athletes.

“You get to make people happy. I did sports for two years and I think a big part of that, for me, was representing athletes and … I could see that they were happy that they were getting covered and that made me really happy,” he said. “During the interviews, especially with the football team, I’d be doing an interview and five people jump in … It’s just a really fun environment. For me it feels like I’m doing good for the community and for people.”

Besides the satisfaction and happiness he feels from working with and representing members of the community, journalism has also taught Aditya many lessons in resilience and self-awareness. His experiences have allowed him to learn how to take a step back from his work and see it from another perspective.

“In freshman and sophomore year I wasn’t as willing to accept criticism … Because of journalism everyone pushes you to improve … [and] going through that just helped me separate my work from myself and take those negative feelings out of it,” he said. “I think that’s made me a better person overall because I’m more self-aware and I can reflect back on what I’ve done more objectively rather than clinging to my ideas.”

Like everything else he does, Aditya does not shy away from giving his all and trying his best in journalism, even when it comes to being vulnerable. After a gun threat to the school occurred during Aditya’s junior year, he worked on an editorial piece that addressed the school community in the midst of the uncertainty.

“[The night of the threat, we] realized that we wouldn’t be able to write anything of substance and really be vulnerable unless we went for it. We … really shared what we were feeling and then tried to put that into words,” friend Arya Maheshwari (12), who collaborated with Aditya on the piece, said. “The conversation we had … was a complete heart to heart and [they were] completely vulnerable with how they were feeling … That’s a thing people don’t really expect to see in him.”

Even though he partakes in many activities, balancing his academics, journalism and running, Aditya is dedicated and interested in every one.

“He’s very driven by really, really caring and wholesome intentions,” Bryan said. “He does the things he does because he truly cares about them, and I think that’s really cool. And he’s chosen to drop out of a major commitment just because it wasn’t making him happy. And that’s something that’s a diamond in the rough at Harker when you see someone who really does what they’re passionate about, but he does it like a hundred percent … and I know it’s because he really cares about it.”