Every “List of things a college freshman should know” will emphasize how different college is from high school. However, the life of a collegiate athlete is not your typical college experience. Today we bring you a list compiled by the Catch & Feather brand ambassadors with everything you need to know about mixing college life with rowing life.
- The Keurig is your new best friend.
Let’s face it. As a collegiate rower, you are going to be on a totally different schedule from everyone else. Attempting an early bedtime with your nocturnal roommate who needs music to study and schedules nightly Skype calls with her long distance boyfriend may result in you losing more hours of sleep than you would like. You and your roomie will eventually become best friends and learn to laugh about your differences but for now you may need a little caffeine to jump start your day. Having access to a hot water heater to make dinosaur egg oatmeal, a Cup-O-Noodles, and numerous other college staples will make your life a whole lot easier, especially when all the dining halls are closed after you get back from evening practice. If you are worried about your carbon footprint, try a French press. Everyone on your floor will think you are the coolest hipster around.
- Go to class.
Collegiate athletes miss classes. Professors genuinely want you to do well especially when you make an effort. All they ask is that you show up and do your best. A heavy regatta schedule may result in you missing more classes than you would like so it is important that you attend every class you can and stop by office hours to check in on things you have missed or will miss later. Getting to know your professors on a more personal level in office hours will help you in the long run – especially if you need to make up an exam or lab because of a regatta.
- Always carry 3 pairs of socks with you.
Carry them in your glove compartment box, backpack side pocket, whatever you choose! Having extra socks will keep you warm and chances are you can be there for a new teammate or a new friend. You can never be over prepared. College is a chance to use all those preparation tools for regattas as well as school.
- Be a good sport.
Be fair warned…your old high school rivalries should be put away (for the most part) by the time you get to school. As you may have heard college is nothing like high school. Collegiate sports and rowing specifically are just the same. You will become part of a larger community of athletes competing for a bigger goal, a bigger title and all the glory.
- You will never regret buying a regatta t-shirt. #memories
…but make sure to save up for upcoming regattas. Learning to budget yourself at college can be hard for some. And it can be hard to maintain a job between practice, friends, eating and sleeping.
- Don’t be afraid to get involved with things other than rowing.
Getting involved is the best way to meet new people at school. You can find a club for almost anything and it doesn’t have to be a huge time commitment. You can usually find clubs for your major that might only meet once a month or clubs who go on trips during breaks. See what your teammates and friends are getting involved with and take a chance. College is the time to explore all of your interests and trying something new could help you discover a new talent or even spark a new career path.
- Try not to go home on the weekends.
Everyone gets homesick and if you are only a few hours away it can be tempting to head home with a bag of laundry to hide out for the weekend. It can be hard to get to know the people in your hall when you have practice, class, and team activities throughout the week. The weekends are the best time to hangout and make friends in your dorm. Some of your best college memories will be recounting last night’s shenanigans at Sunday brunch with the friends from your hall.
- Get advice from your older teammates.
They might seem scary and big and post a 2k time that blows yours out of the water but that is all just temporary. Remember that everyone starts out as the newbie at some point in his or her career. Look to them for advice and learning the culture of the crew. Remembering to be respectful, eager to learn and ready to pull hard will go a long way.
- Remember not to alienate your non-rowing friends
There will be a time when you might just need some space. The boat might not be meshing, you are worried about a seat race and you need to shave 2 whole seconds off your 6k split… Having a friend who has absolutely no clue what catching a crab means is sometimes refreshing and forces you to remember that college is a great big wonderful world with millions of things going on and people to meet. Your rowing friends could be your best friends but remember that variety is bliss.
- College rowing is actually the best.
Believe it or not, regatta moms are not really a thing in college. Chances are your coaches won’t be watching over you the way they did in high school. That means no more duct tape on the hotel dorm room and the freedom to make your own decisions. You will be held responsible to know where you need to be and how to act. We know from high school that there is nothing else quite like finishing a race, comparing blisters or winning shirts.
Collegiate rowing will bring you more places that you ever expected.