Hey class of 2021!
My name is Devin Norder and I am one of the New Undergraduate Housing Coordinators who is working on finding all of you a home and roommate for your first year here on the farm! First a little about me: I am a rising senior, a Management Science & Engineering major, and originally from Sarasota, Florida.
Knowing that I am coming up on my last year as an undergraduate student here, I can’t help but look back on my time at Stanford. You will hear people tell you over and over again how quickly these four years go by, and I am here to tell you that they’re absolutely right. I feel as though I blinked and have suddenly aged three years, and can’t tell you how jealous I am of each and every one of you to just now be starting your Stanford journey.
That being said there were definitely some kinks that I am glad to have worked out sometime between setting foot on this campus for the first time and now. Being a recruited athlete in the sport of rowing, when I entered my first year I truly had one thing on my mind, and that was performing in my sport. In truth, I was so afraid to fail that I dedicated all of my energy and all of my focus into rowing. When I say I dedicated all my energy to my sport I mean ALL of my energy. Before I knew it I was skipping class to nap, yelling at my neighbors to turn their music down as soon as quiet hours started, and generally letting the rest of my life fall to the wayside. I was succeeding in rowing, but that was the only thing I was succeeding at.
About half way through winter quarter, disaster struck- or at least it felt like it at the time. I got injured and learned I would not be able to compete for the rest of my frosh year. In fact, I would not be able to return to competition until my junior fall. I was devastated. I felt as though I did not know who I was without athletics. I thought that if I did not have my teammates, then I may not have any friends. I truly did not know what to do with myself or where to focus my energy.
Looking back on this period of my Stanford career I realize that it taught me some valuable lessons. I now understand that I was so focused on this one particular part of my life that I neglected everything else. Once I was forced to take a step back from rowing I discovered the other parts of Stanford that make it so great. I decided on a major and declared. I rushed and joined a sorority. I made friends inside my dorm that (shocker) weren’t other rowers. I took classes I enjoyed and actually attended lecture.
When I was finally allowed to return to rowing I obviously focused a great deal of energy toward performing as well as possible, but this time around I also focused energy on the other parts of my life that I had previously neglected. In short, I realized that what I needed this whole time was balance and without having the blinders of athletics removed for some time, I never would have found it. I believe that this lesson can be helpful for all Stanford students. It is so easy to get caught up in one part of your life, to want to succeed in something so badly that you neglect other obligations all together, but it is important to remember to keep some balance in your life, and at the end of the day, let yourself have fun!