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Spring semester answered the silence of fall break. A silence replicated in classes across campus this week as teachers open with “Okay y’all, we’re going to start off with an ice breaker. Your name, hometown, and a fun fact about you.” My cue to cash in my staple “There are kangaroos in my backyard”. Only this was my last first day of class, last cheesy ice breaker, and last opportunity to soak in everything that comes with being a Clemson student-athlete.

I’ve been hunting for the words to encapsulate the energy that rolls over our Clemson hills and pools into the depths of Death Valley. Something that can’t be bottled up into a jar and resold at exorbitant prices to turn a profit like O-Hare Air from Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax would. It's something otherwise only seen in the nostalgic eyes of Alumni on homecoming weekend. It's something I know I will come to miss, I’m sure of it, with the 2023 Spring Semester being my last.

In my experience as a senior student-athlete so far, I have found myself in the eye of the storm amidst a whirlwind of full-circle moments. Freshman year sweeps you off your feet and knocks the wind out of you as you navigate college life for the first time. However, senior year comes with the forecast of your senior year experience expectations and apprehension for life post-graduation. The challenge lies in being able to “be where your feet are”, heels dug deep, toes clenched, grounded in the present moment—so when the moments you have been waiting for arise, you know you are ready.

Playing Duke in Durham was a full-circle moment for me. Facing them there was the gratitude I recorded Thursday morning—my head coach Amanda Butler encourages our team to intentionally write down what we are grateful for to practice being present. Growing up in Australia I didn’t follow collegiate basketball before I started my recruitment process to play ball in the United States. I knew of Duke though and the history their basketball stadium walls hold.

I was disappointed when their team opted out of my sophomore season in 2020 because we were scheduled to travel and play them on the road. The significance of the game to me Thursday first and foremost pertained to Clemson Women’s Basketball and Team 48’s success. The game doubled as a personal reminder of the process. A reminder of how I have gone from once living on the other side of the world oblivious to college ball, to aspiring to play in big-time games, to now playing for an institution that competes in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

It was a ball game but we did not get the result we were after. More fuel for the fire.

Looking forward to more full-circle moments this semester.

With love Tigers,

Hannah Hank