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Humans of Harker: Serving on the court and in the clinic

Edis Mesic brings his A-game to both volleyball and medicine
%E2%80%9CI+can+be+very+perfectionist+at+times+and+volleyball+was+one+of+those+spaces+that+challenged+me%2C+especially+at+the+start.+One+of+the+challenges+for+me+was+stepping+back+and+not+overcomplicating+things+for+myself+and+accepting+and+embracing+those+moments+where+things+are+difficult%2C+where+we+don%E2%80%99t+win+a+game+or+I+get+benched+for+that+game+or+whatever+it+may+be%2C+and+embracing+that%2C%E2%80%9D+Edis+Mesic+%2812%29+said.
Ariana Goetting
“I can be very perfectionist at times and volleyball was one of those spaces that challenged me, especially at the start. One of the challenges for me was stepping back and not overcomplicating things for myself and accepting and embracing those moments where things are difficult, where we don’t win a game or I get benched for that game or whatever it may be, and embracing that,” Edis Mesic (12) said.

For Edis Mesic (12), not many things bring him more joy than feeling the camaraderie that his volleyball team has cultivated over the years — though he may jokingly tell you that the real thrill comes from holding a gold medal after he wins a national championship. Having competed in two national championships with his club team, he derives unparalleled satisfaction and fulfillment from the countless hours spent together.

Edis first started playing volleyball six years ago when he went to a Bay to Bay Volleyball Club clinic hoping to pick up a new sport. He initially faced challenges playing volleyball, whether missing a serve or not pressing enough to hit a ball, but these experiences pushed him to constantly improve, both through practicing and reviewing videos of his games.

“I can be very perfectionist at times and volleyball was one of those spaces that challenged me, especially at the start,” Edis said. “One of the challenges for me was stepping back and not overcomplicating things for myself and accepting and embracing those moments where things are difficult, where we don’t win a game or I get benched for that game or whatever it may be.”

Edis’ strive for perfection leads him to put his all into everything that he does. Adrian Liu (12), who met Edis when he first started playing club volleyball in seventh grade, witnessed his determination to improve in volleyball and the tenacity with which he approaches all his activities.

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“He’s not going to do something halfway and then just give it up,” Adrian said. “If he starts something, he’s gonna finish it. And I think that helps out the team a lot because some people will slack off when no one’s looking, but he’s going to make sure that he does his job and he does it right no matter what.”

Not only did volleyball offer Edis a space to have the confidence to make mistakes and to grow from them, but it also allowed him to be a leader within his team and to have a community he could cheer on. Adrian also appreciates Edis’ encouragement for his teammates and the ease with which he connected with those around him.

“We were all new to the team at the time, we were all new to playing volleyball, and pretty much the first thing that happened was he was saying hi to me, he was saying hi to other players, saying hi to the coaches,” Adrian said. “That’s something that he’s really good at, connecting with people and reaching out to them.”

Edis describes his volleyball community, both his school team and club team, as “a home away from home.” He especially cherishes moments at championship games when he can look his teammates and coaches in the eye and feel the connection that has built over the years.

“Having that type of community keeps you rooted to one another,” Edis said. “When you’ve been together for so long, when you’ve been through all the practices, when you’ve been through all the losses, all those three-setters that you could have won and it’s so frustrating, but you get past that and you get to those moments where you feel like this is the reward for all of that work that you put in. It’s just really satisfying and fulfilling, and that’s what we’re always chasing.”

For Edis, being a great teammate is something that doesn’t just apply to volleyball, but all aspects of his life. Even in the classroom, he makes active efforts to engage his peers. Upper school Spanish teacher Abel Olivas, who taught Edis his junior and senior years, cherishes Edis’ dedication to build bonds with his classmates, a trait which he observes will help Edis succeed as a doctor.

“I often felt like I was working with a colleague when it came to us rather than just a student,” Olivas said. “He’s just so committed on the same level that it feels equal and as if we’re partners in engaging in a classroom. Due to his maturity, due to his wisdom, due to his intelligence, I can imagine him connecting with all the patients and taking good care of them.”

Edis’ interest in medicine started in middle school, and he further explored it through Harker’s Medical Club, for which he now serves as president. He recalls a virtual speaker event Medical Club held during quarantine featuring a cardiothoracic surgeon presenting their work and discussing the pressure of their job, and how it further fueled his passion for the field.

“Every surgery is extremely high stakes, but it’s a space where you really need to have a level of precision and a level of focus,” Edis said. “The detail-oriented aspect is something that fits my personality, someone who’s very curious and likes to go into very small fine details. The feeling of joy that you can bring people is something that made me think, as much as there are consequences and negatives to this field, there’s also so much good that can come out of it.”

During the summer before his junior year, Edis shadowed physicians in Turkey and learned from their experiences. He would wake up at 6:30 a.m., take the bus to a local hospital and watch surgeries from morning to evening, occasionally getting sterilized and wearing a surgical gown to aid the surgeons by holding onto their tools. He even assisted with laparoscopic surgery one time, helping guide a surgical camera through the abdomen.

“That experience, those two weeks I spent with resident doctors, the pediatric surgeons and getting to know that space and see what it is like really inspired me to continue with medicine,” Edis said. “Whether it’s in Medical club or on my own, I try to apply medicine and take that type of lens into my bio class, my anatomy class, whatever it may be.”

Edis also hopes to one day go into sports medicine and give back to his volleyball community and athletes in general by doing treatments. Helping others is something that Edis pursues in each of his endeavors, whether it be as simple as helping a classmate during a lab or treating patients. Upper school chemistry teacher Andrew Irvine, who taught Edis in his sophomore year, values Edis’s enthusiasm in assisting his peers during a lab.

“I have this vision of that lab, of [Edis and his lab partner] being like, yes, we got it!” Irvine said. “Not like, ‘Oh, we’re free,” but like, ‘Yay, I did it,’ and then, ‘Hey, you guys need help?’ It’s not just a competitive thing, but also a personal satisfaction thing. He’s very driven by his intellectual curiosity and eager to share his understanding both with teachers and his peers.”

Whether it be through volleyball or medicine, Edis finds motivation both in the opportunity to make a positive impact and in his constant desire for self improvement.

“Most of the time, my main source of inspiration is seeking that sense of fulfillment from growth,” Edis said. “Whatever it may be, just knowing that every day I go into a practice, a game, a rehearsal, whatever it is that I did, a little bit better than yesterday.”

This story was originally published on Harker Aquila on May 6, 2024.