The Learning Curve | Michigan State University Undergraduate Application Essay

I carefully stepped down the steep gravel hill, making my way to the riverbank for my very first crew practice. The early March air chilled my skin and whipped my hair. I was nervous: each rocky step took me closer to a mass of athletic limbs, all belonging to talented rowers I didn’t know.

The next two and a half hours went as poorly as I had imagined. Our task for the day was to run a mile in under twenty minutes. The novices ran as a group, and it took us three tries to finally make the cut off. After repeated laps, pounding the grass under the hot sun, I was more physically drained than ever before.

The entirety of my inaugural crew season was as shaky as my legs after the first day of training. However, no matter how difficult the practices became, I adored the sport. I felt that I could someday succeed in what seemed impossible, if only I worked towards my goal. So over time, I increased my training and extended my efforts outside of practice. I sipped carrot juice until it actually started tasting good and flipped through books on nutrition instead of TV channels. I made sacrifices, often foregoing social events or sleep for an extra weight lifting session, early morning run, or sixty minute erg piece. I have never once…

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