Next up! A RSR 2K Clinic Alumna who is currently rowing at UMass, Mikaela. She is doing great and having a blast! It was great to catch up and she had some great advice for everyone looking at rowing in college and specifically at UMass.
Holly: Tell me what has been the greatest challenge for you in the last few months?
Mikaela: Time management and deadlines. No one reminds you of your deadlines. You have to do it all for yourself and if you have some classes online it's even harder to remember.
Holly: What are you studying?
Mikaela: I am interested in doing a double major of kinesiology and public health. My dream job would be to work with inner city kids who don't normally do physical therapy.
Holly: Tell me about the UMass Team - especially the culture there.
Mikaela: I LOVE IT. I am so glad that I chose UMass. There is a very high level of accountability. The coaches do not force you, but everyone shows up and puts in 110%. It's understood that you are going to go that extra mile. Everyone is friendly and happy.
Holly: Tell me about a Day in the Life at UMass?
Mikaela: My alarm goes off at 5:30am Monday-Saturday.
Mikaela: Yes, Saturday too. We row 6:30-8:30am every day and then M, W, F we lift 9-10am. Tuesday and Thursdays we practice in the afternoon running either the stadium or a 5.5 mile run. And then we have one OYO erg workout to get in during the week.
Holly: Are you getting faster?
Mikaela: Yes! I PRd my 6K last week.
Holly: What are you most excited about moving forward?
Mikaela: I am excited to race and have the chance to make it into a boat. I am excited to seatrace and then compete with whatever boat I make it into. And there are some academic classes that I am looking forward to.
Holly: How did you pick UMass?
Mikaela: First, I knew what I wanted to study so that helped filter the schools. Then I loved the coaches and the culture on the team. And I thought the campus was beautiful and I could see myself being very happy here.
Holly: Was there anything you learned last year that has helped you now that you are rowing in college.
Mikaela: Absolutely. I really built up confidence in my last high school year. I learned how to accurately and confidently present myself which then helped when I started on a new team. I am able to push my limits and get out of my comfort zone faster and earlier than some other people on the team. I also have more clarity on my goals and can voice those. I know myself better and what I want and I feel like if I didn't know myself or have the confidence it would have been much harder to find my place on the team.
Holly: Had you ever thought about those things before?
Mikaela: No. The biggest concrete takeaway tool was the micro-compass phrase: "What can I do TODAY?" and I use it athletically and academically. It helps me manage things better. What do I want to happen in this day? When you have a set back, injury, or you don't PR just ask yourself "What can I do TODAY" so that you can manage what is right in front of you.
Holly: That is awesome and exactly right. What's the advice you would give current high school athletes?
Mikaela: If you want to row, make sure you evaluate using academic and athletic metrics. Do you like the coach? the team? If you are injured would you still enjoy the school? Pick some place that will make you happy. Don't just pick a label. A school could be technically ranked higher, but it may not be the best place for you. It's not what others think you need - it's what you think you need. I went with my gut instinct when I visited a school. If it's important to YOU then it is important to the decision making process. Don't disclaim something because someone else thinks it's trivial.
Holly: Awesome. If you could go back in time and tell Mikaela something (in 2015) what would it be?
Mikaela: Trust the reasons for why you do things and why things happen. If you are in a lineup, you deserve it. It's not trivial or a fluke. Trust the work. And believe in yourself that you can and will continue to do the work. Stop worrying and just work and it will come when it comes.
Awesome advice Mikaela. We are so proud of you and can't wait to follow you for the next 3.5 years!