Freshers Experience: Rowing at University

As the term ends, our Novice club members’ first years of rowing have come to a close. Meg Price, one of our Freshers from 2018, wrote a piece for her course, talking about her experiences picking up a new sport from scratch.

There’s that voice of insecurity inside all of us. We’ve all experienced it:

“You’re not good enough. You’re not trying hard enough. You should give up.”

I’ve long battled with that voice, both in my work and any hobbies that I’ve had. Once you believe it, it’s hard to overcome.

Comparing my competitive ability to everyone else’s in each sport I tried in school, I lost my enjoyment in exercising and felt less motivated to be part of any club. I came to University with the intention of changing that and trying something new.

Taking a leap of faith, I turned up to an induction for rowing with no experience and not knowing anyone else who wanted to join.

It was probably the best decision I could have made, even with the early mornings! Being awake as the sun wakes up is sort-of peaceful and the freedom of being on the water, surrounded by nature, cannot be faulted. Not to mention, the sunrises and silhouettes make a great Instagram post every once in a while.

But, it’s important to note it’s not easy.

Often you wake up to an ice-cold 7am start on the water, your hands are blue from carrying the frost-covered boat to the canal and your knuckles scuff up and bleed as you take each stroke. It can be hard. It can be painful. Sometimes the exercise can even push you to the point of being physically sick. You get through the cold, through the pain and through your negative thoughts because you need to do it for your crew.

It’s about physical strength of course, but most importantly about teamwork and mentality. When I feel like stopping, I need to keep going. The more I push myself to my limits, the more the voice telling me to give up goes away. The more I realise that I am capable.

All in all, the best thing about taking up rowing is how it’s allowed me to finally feel motivated again. I’m still learning but I now know that I always will be learning. As cliché as it sounds, all I can do is try my hardest.

I guess it’s safe to say I’ve given up with giving up.

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