Row Toward Your Passion
Published: Thursday, May 17, 2012
Updated: Thursday, May 17, 2012 20:05
As the time to graduate looms, it’s impossible not to spend the quickly dwindling weeks reminiscing about the last four years. In a lot of ways, it’s been a beautiful process — cathartic, almost — but it has also reminded me that this time in my life is coming to an end. I’m still not entirely sure how I feel about that.
There’s so much to be remembered: move-in day, finding friends, dealing with roommate conflicts, first college classes, first mediocre grades, first basketball games, first crushes, first parties and so much more.
Certain memories stick out more than others: those that have to do with my passions. I have a lot of them, as all Georgetown students do. It’s hard to pinpoint how much and how deeply these passions have changed me. But to my core, the experience that has shaped me most has been rowing for the past four years.
Yes, my Georgetown experience has been shaped by my sport. Some of you may think this to be a negative thing, but I hope more of you will see it as a labor of love. Dedication to this one passion has brought me purpose and, ultimately, happiness. I’ve met and retained my best friends on this team. Out of a freshman class of over 30 rowers, there are just four of us left as seniors, so it’s no understatement to say that we have spent an incredible number of early-morning workouts and late-night coffees, laughter and tears, sunshine, rain and even blizzards in one another’s company. These three other women, along with the sport, have taught me more about myself than I thought possible.
I could try to tell you what rowing has taught me, but every time I write something down, it comes across trite. So I’ll just say this: When you find your passion, it’ll kick your butt. Rowing kicked mine. However, it will also give you purpose. It will help you to grow. My current self is a far cry from the 18-year-old who first stepped onto Harbin patio, and that change is a result of the four years I have spent on the Potomac.
My hope for all of you is that you find your passion. It can be hard to know when you’ve found it, and there will be plenty of times when you think you’d be more than happy to give it up. I, for one, can count more than a handful of times when I thought rowing for four years was going to be too difficult for me and when I would have loved to quit. But that’s the thing about any passion — if it weren’t difficult, it wouldn’t be worth doing.
Ladies and gentlemen, your passion is like the swirling and roiling churn of the Potomac. It can be scary and difficult, murky as the river on a cloudy day, but it will teach you more about yourself than you could have thought possible. You just have to be willing to row toward it and take the plunge.
Angela Nelson is a senior in the College and a four-year member of the crew team.