Did you walk on to the lightweight rowing team?
What impact did rowing have on your Dartmouth experience?
I did many things at Dartmouth—I worked as a UGA and a water aerobics instructor, I participated in the Government major study abroad in London, I participated in a religious group, I was on the Student Athletic Advisory Council for two years, I double majored and wrote a senior thesis—but I can’t talk about my time at Dartmouth without talking about rowing. It was what changed sophomore summer from a waste of time to an amazing experience. It’s how I met my most enduring friends. Most important, when I think of my connection to Dartmouth, it’s really through wearing the D150.
What impact did rowing have beyond college?
This may sound counterintuitive, but the most enduring impact was teaching me to fail. Or, more accurately, to constructively deal with failure and come back stronger.
I was a 130 lb walk-on who my freshman coach tried to convince to be a coxswain. I wanted to hold an oar and I did for four years, but my time was littered with falling short of personal and team goals over and over. I never made it out of the 3V as an upperclassman (and left home from sprints my sophomore year); I lost seat races; I lost lots of Eastern Conference races. learned how to have honest conversations with others and myself about how to actually improve and figure out how to get there. I learned how to deal with disappointment in a healthy way.
I got out of law school just before the Great Recession hit. My current career looks nothing like my initial trajectory, but I was able to rebuild it from the ground up to be stronger and much more resilient (not to mention making me happier) by applying the lessons I learned through rowing. I learned all this at Dartmouth, but it was not Dartmouth that taught me: it was D150.
What would be lost if Dartmouth eliminates the Lightweight Rowing Team?
My entire Dartmouth experience would be erased. My connection to the college would be more like my connection to my other alma maters, which was a means to an end (a degree).