Friday, December 5, 2008

Things I've realized...

A short list of things I've realized since I've been here:

-the words "hella" "tight" and "legit" can be used in any and every sentence, and can be used together in the same sentence (That's hella tight and legit.)
-it's apparently okay to say "like" twenty-seven times in one sentence...
-I have been californianized and am going to die in the South Dakota winter when I go home next week
-being from a farm is unique
-varsity athletes at Stanford sell their life for the school's Nike contract
-in my dorm room, I'm in the minority by being white
-our yellow boat (the Kwak) was flown here from Germany and the shell alone costs around $48K
-having callouses on my hands from working on the farm has kept my hands from totally falling apart rowing like everyone else's
-I don't like math
-it's not a week at Stanford if you don't see naked people running around
-primal scream is really irritating when you've already been asleep for two hours

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Dead Week

Stanford University is now officially in "Dead Week" which, at most schools, means no classes and no new material, but here it means new classes, new material, papers, and sometimes tests.
At most schools, "dead" in dead week = nothing to do.
At Stanford, "dead" = literally dying from the insane amount of problem sets, papers, projects, and tests due this week on top of classes and "optional" practices.

Besides the fact that I'm dying this week, life is pretty wonderful. I will be home in something like 11 days and I can't wait!
Before that though, I have a project, a paper, and two exams to take...wish me luck!

Since it's been awhile since I last wrote, I will replay my Thanksgiving break in fast-forward for you! We had an entire week off, so it went something like this:
sleep, eat, watch movies with Mikayla, work out. repeat for 3 days. go to Fremont with family for three days, same pattern exempting the work outs. come back to campus, repeat previous pattern for two more days!
It was a very relaxing, unproductive break, yay!

The day before break I had what felt like the best row of my life thus far. Four of us (and Joanna) went out in a four that Friday morning for our last row with Katie as our coach. I had stroked a four the day before and done terribly, I don't deal well with a coxswain in a big pink puffy coat right in front of my face; but that day we went out in a bowloader (the coxswain is in the bow of the boat rather than the stern) and I stroked the boat and it felt amazing! I was pulling hard and I was consistent and I was relaxed and it was just an overall incredible morning!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

First 5K Test -- COMPLETE!

Let me preface this by saying that testing makes for one of the worst two practices possible as a Stanford Women's Crew member.

Of course the day started off at 5:30 with a morning row...only I didn't actually row, I was stuck in the boathouse erging and spinning. Then I got breakfast and a nap before my only class of the day, so I really couldn't complain too much.

Afternoon practice on Tuesdays and Thursdays is on land in the Ford Center, generally with some erging in the workout. Today was ALL erging. It was test day! We spent some time outside talking with Katie about what to expect and that we could all pull our goal splits, that we were strong enough, etc., etc. Then we warmed up for over 45 minutes, which just makes the nerves sooo much worse considering we didn't even warm up that long for our race last Sunday.

That 5K erg test was definitely 20 of the longest minutes of my rowing career this far. A "5K Test" is basically sitting down on the rowing ergometer (erg/rowing machine) and pulling 5000 meters as hard and as fast as you can, all while trying to keep your mind and body from totally shutting down on you, not to mention the fact that you're competing for a spot in a spring boat against everyone on the team, not just the other walk-ons. With about 250 meters (2 minutes) to go, I actually felt like I needed to throw up. That's how hard your abs have to contract through the whole piece.

I ended up pulling 3 seconds lower than my goal and having the fourth best time of the twelve of us, but that was still a killer workout...rewarding, but a killer.
My girls after our first race
Newport Autumn Rowing Festival
November 2, 2008
7th place baby!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Catching Up

So, it's a little depressing that I'm so terribly behind already, but it happened, so here's my attempt to catch up during my 1 am study break.

I spent the weekend before last in Fremont with some family. My second cousin got married and when I got there I only knew him and his parents. By the time I got back to campus on Sunday evening, I not only had a bunch of new family, but I also had flown an airplane and had a great new friend in my "cousin" (second cousin, once removed) Michael. Michael even brought me back to campus and just hung out on the hall and in the dorm and watched Grey's with Brady and I before going back home that night.

Mom's birthday was the next week, I love you Mom!

I also had a midterm for my Comm 162 class which was surprisingly awesome (or at least I think so right now, haven't gotten my scores back yet). It was a "blue book" test, so it was mainly writing and it was all on political campaigns so it was actually a little fun.

Other than classes, pretty much the only thing I did was crew. Practices were crazy because we were preparing for our first race. We also got together a couple different nights as a team to tye-dye t-shirts for our unis! It was such a fun "team bonding" activity for us!

Halloween was Friday, but we were leaving for crew at 5 the next morning, so I dressed up (as a Little Black Book) and just came home REALLY early!

8 hour bus ride, starting at 5:30 am + some really weird rowing movie = 8 hours of sleep on the way to NARF (Newport Autumn Rowing Festival)
After we got there, we rigged the boats and practiced on the course, then went back to the hotel and got ready, then went out for supper with all the teams, then we had our team strategy meeting - complete with "ejector crab" stories from Katie, and then it was bed time!

We raced on Sunday and it was incredible! It started raining when we picked up the boat to walk it down to the beach and launch, and it didn't stop until we got out of the boat after the race and the sun peeked out of the clouds. Despite the weather, we ended up placing 7th out of 21 crews, 2nd out of the "B" boats, and beating 7 "A" boats!

This week has been filled with election mayhem and a devilish IHUM paper and that's about it! More later!

Thursday, October 23, 2008


So, I got the official invitation to join the Varsity Openweight Team at Winter Training Camp in Tempe, Arizona! Katie and Yaz had each talked to me a couple weeks ago, so I knew I was going, but it's still really cool to have the official invitation! Only three other walk-ons were invited!

I will be home December 13 - 26, then will fly back to school on the 26th to meet up with the team, then we fly to Arizona the 27th and are there over New Year's and move back into school January 4th, just in time to get settled before classes start the 6th.

I'm really sad to have to miss nearly half of my winter break at home with my family and friends, but at the same time I cannot contain my excitement at training in Tempe and being a Varsity D-1 athlete! Coming from Viborg, SD and never having been a really exceptional athlete makes it almost hard to comprehend being on a varsity team at the college that has won 14 consecutive Director's Cups (meaning we have the best college athletic program in the country).

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

( Water + Boathouse floor ) * Early Morning = Possible Disaster

So...I almost bit it this morning, big time! And with Al and Katie looking right at me too! Just a warning, when carrying oars in-house (or the boat) walk very very slowly and almost shuffle your feet!

Anyway, besides the fact that I almost died this morning - and almost caught a HUGE crab at practice yesterday afternoon - I am loving crew! The early morning stink - especially when you're up 'til midnight working on IHUM papers - but the girls are great, the coaches are fun, and you can't beat being in an eight on the Bay as the sun comes up.

I can't wait for our first race on the 2nd!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Everything's Better On Ice

As I sit on my common room floor with a giant ice pack on my knee, I realized I had the perfect opportunity to reflect on my past week.

Classes are difficult, but that's to be expected here. I really enjoy them, but they are pretty intense. My first IHUM paper is due Wednesday!

Our floor has been gradually spreading the plague...everyone is getting the first cold of the year, including two of my suitemates. Hopefully this round is about over...

Last Friday Mikayla and I saw the Stanford Boathouse for the first time when we watched practice and had a team cookout with all three Stanford crew teams. It's technically in Redwood City, only about fifteen minutes away from campus, only a couple years old, and has everything a rower could possibly need for a workout...or slumber party! haha. And I can't forget V's favorite part, there is always peanut butter and jelly in the kitchen :)
Our second time at the boathouse was this morning...six o'clock this morning... :S The five walk-on rower and one walk-on coxswain were at practice this morning, mainly to learn the ins-and-outs of the boats and the boathouse. We did a little rowing on the dock but didn't have enough time to actually push out and row in the bay :( It's happening tomorrow afternoon though!

Okay, enough rambling - plus I'm done icing - so it's time for "shower power" now!

Friday, September 26, 2008

One down...

The first week of classes at Stanford is almost done! And boy, has it been a long week! It took me until about Thursday to actually get my classes all figured out and get my schedule made, but I think I've got everything sorted out now! I'm in the "Journeys" IHUM with Tobias Wolff with two lectures and two sections every week. I'm also taking calculus 41 with three lectures and two sections per week. My hardest class this quarter will probably end up being Comm 162: Analysis of Presidential Campaigns. As far as I know, I'm the only freshman in the class and there is one sophomore and the rest are upperclassmen and grad students! The lectures are really interesting - so far, at least! - but they run from 9:00 - 10:50 on Monday and Wednesday mornings, ick! And that's pretty much it as far as classes go...

The only other thing of any real significance is that I've started crew workouts! As of right now I'm just working out in the walk-on/try-out class from 12-1 every day, but I'm hoping to be on the water Tuesday! After the first day I had some crazy blisters on my hands, but they're getting better already, yay!
The team BBQ is this afternoon as soon as the girls get out of the water at the boathouse, so I can't wait!

Sunday, September 21, 2008


I'll just start this off by saying that Stanford takes care of its athletes...

The women's crew team had our NCAA compliance meeting Friday and I am through all the formalities of being on a D1 TEAM! We have our own gyms and doctors and massage therapists and all kinds of stuff, not to mention being sponsored by Nike! The sports medicine center is incredible, and we're encouraged to go there any time we have any problems, even if they're not sports-related!

Also, we had our team physical this morning as a part of the mass physicals for all the sports teams not already in session. Our team's appointment was for 10:45, so Mikayla and I and most of the team were there around 10:30...we didn't get in the doors until after 12:00! Once we got inside we had to fill out all kinds of paperwork, then in the next gym we had our height, weight, and blood pressure checked, then we moved into another gym and had our vision checked. After that we went downstairs and had our body fat percentage checked and had an EKG. Next everyone was looked at individually by an orthopedic doctor (and my knee was cleared! Mikayla has to do PT with the team doctor though...) then I had a heart echo done (I actually got to see my heart!), and then I met with a medical doctor to talk about my medical history. Yay, cleared for everything! And it only took until 2:30 in the afternoon! haha.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Roble Love!

I love Stanford! My dorm is called Roble (Oak Tree in Spanish, fitting I know!). I'm in the "C" wing on second floor in a quad with three amazing girls! Roble is the largest, oldest, and BEST dorm on campus with around 300 students, 160 of whom are freshmen.

My roommate is Nina from Hermosa Beach, California, a cute, short, Asian that is SO much fun! The other two suitemates are Nicole from Sweden and Mikayla from upstate New York. Nicole has all the boys chasing her, being the tall, thin, European and all. Mikayla and I are becoming fast friends, bonding over our shared gym-ratness.

Speaking of Mikayla and I being gym rats, we sat down with a couple of the crew coaches today and basically walked on to the team already! We are going to the team NCAA compliance meeting Friday and the physical Sunday and possibly the teambuilding trip Saturday...and none of the other walk ons will know anything til Monday and/or Tuesday! I can't wait! I'm getting so pumped now, and having Mikayla to share in the fun, frustration, excitement, and pain will make everything so much better!

I love it here! I'm so excited to meet with my advisor Friday to plan out my schedule and get going with this year, it's going to be great! I have one class and an already color-coded planner, so I'm well on my way! Our suitemate shopping excursion is going to be Saturday before the football game, so after that we will really be ready to start school!

Airport thoughts...

Right now I’m sitting at my gate in the Denver airport and finally have a little time to think and digest the past few days and the ones to come.

It seems like each of the past few days has held a difficult goodbye: Saturday to Chelsea after spending the evening together at the races; Sunday to Mom, Jay, and Tori after having lived with them all summer; Monday to my high school teachers and coaches, Grandma Rist, and Ali; and this morning to my dad. One would think that I’d be getting better at this with each goodbye, but every one is still heart wrenching. I’ve always been very independent, but it’s hard for me to comprehend right now that I won’t see any of these people again until, most likely, December.

On the packing front, well, I’m done! Or at least I think I am…I have boxes packed up at both my mom’s house and my dad’s house ready to be shipped to me after I arrive, but I still feel like I’m missing something. I also have some shopping to do when I get settled in - and not the fun kind of shopping! A bicycle, refrigerator, and groceries…not quite the most exciting shopping list for my first few days in a new city, but I guess I’ll adjust J

Even through all the complaining and anxiety, I can’t wait to get to campus! Moving in to my dorm room, meeting my roommates, seeing Nathaniel and my other Stanford friends, meeting new people, and starting this adventure are all just a few hours away from me now!

Before I actually get to school, I just want to thank all my friends and family for everything this summer in preparing for this transition. Also, to my new(er) friends, it has been so great getting to know you and hanging out with you this summer and I miss you all so much!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Packing and saying goodbye

It's almost time to leave! I finished work Wednesday night and have spent the past few days attempting to pack and trying to spend time with friends one last time before leaving.

Packing normally comes easily for me; I make a list, pack from it, and that's it. This time it's not quite working out so well...I've been packing since Wednesday and have one bag and three boxes done, and baskets and baskets of "stuff" still sitting around.

Starting NSO and school so late has given me the chance to work a little more and to spend more time with my high school friends. Everyone I graduated with is already in school and I have only seen them a little bit, but I've spent time with friends from West Central pretty much every day. We even went out for a "girls night" Monday night, two football games yesterday, and are going to the races at Huset's tonight.

I can't wait to get to school, but it's really starting to kick in how much I'm going to miss this.

I will miss home, and my family and friends so much, but soon it will start to feel like home and I will make new friends who will become like family to me......but I will always miss the ones back home.