Forging a New Legacy

With a family full of former Northeastern athletes, Mak Graves is following her destiny while charting her own course.

By Mak Graves

When it came time to look for colleges in high school, while many might not know where to start, it was almost instinctual for me to go to Northeastern. My Northeastern roots were started by my parents, Sam and Jenny Graves, and my aunt and uncle, Nick and Amy Graves who went here. Growing up, my family was super close and we spent a lot of time together, so I would hear countless stories about their time at Northeastern and how much they loved it. This made Northeastern always a part of my life in a sense. 

My Northeastern origin story starts with the many family members of mine that went here and played sports here. My dad and uncle are brothers who developed a close relationship with each other through baseball. They both played on the Northeastern baseball team. As my dad and uncle continued to get closer, my aunt and my mom soon became good friends, too. My mom was on the field hockey team and my aunt was on the cheerleading team.

Though there were many factors that played a role in my decision making, knowing about the university through my family and their stories heavily contributed to the way that I envisioned myself here. When I asked my parents about some of things they loved about the school and hoped that I’d get to experience one day, it was the student athlete life, the family aspect of being part of a team, the support from the athletic department with my academics, and ultimately feeling like I would receive a great education. I instantly wanted to feel what they had experienced… just maybe not at Northeastern, at least at first.

Sports had always been a huge part of my and my family’s life, so when it came time for recruiting and Northeastern became a plausible option, they were very excited. But when I first started looking at schools, my initial thought was that I wanted to veer away from Northeastern and look at places farther away from where I lived. I told my parents that I didn’t want to go to a school where they went because I wanted to create my own story.

However, Northeastern continued to draw me in with their co-op program, their incredibly respected nursing program, the city life, and, of course, the field hockey team, which just as a whole felt like the right fit. They had an awesome field and environment in general. I knew that I wanted to take my playing to the collegiate level and I could see myself playing on their field. I enjoyed coming to clinics as well and loved watching them play afterwards. Seeing that talent and the fast pace, I had so much excitement envisioning myself playing on the field with them.

Growing up, I was always curious to hear about my family’s stories about their time at Northeastern, and they always had great things to say about the school. As I would listen to them sharing their stories about the places they got to visit, the experiences they had living in a city environment, being a Husky, and having that student-athlete life, it all sounded so appealing.

Even while looking at other schools, every time I went to visit Northeastern I couldn’t help but have that feeling of, “This is where I see myself.” It felt like home.

Despite their own biases toward Northeastern, my family made sure not to influence my decision while I was looking at other schools. I felt as though they wanted to make sure that Northeastern was actually the school for me. After sitting on my initial reaction of “no” for a little bit, I couldn’t think of how cool it would be to continue the family chain and go in with a little bit of family history. Not only did Northeastern feel right to be my home, but Boston as a whole felt like my home as I grew up only about 40 mins out of the city. 

With my family being a part of the student athlete life and myself being a part of that now, I feel as though I am experiencing that family aspect they mentioned before. Especially this past season, our team had such a strong team chemistry on and off the field; that made it so much fun to be a part of. I hope that with the opportunity I have now to continue my academic and athletic career here, I can accomplish some of the things my parents didn’t, such as winning the CAA’s and or making the NCAA tournament. I hope to earn my bachelors in nursing and start my career here in Boston as well. My parents have always been so supportive of me and I have no doubt that that love and support will continue as I start to write my own story and create the life I envisioned for myself here in Boston.