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My Austin

Downtown Austin is a melting pot of culture. Birds of all feathers flock to the beautiful sites of the Capitol building, the bats emerging from underneath Congress Bridge, and the many oddities that justify the signature ‘Keep Austin Weird’ catchphrase. As I drive down Cesar-Chavez, glimpses of Town Lake framed with bright hues of green can be seen from the roadway. Feats of architecture stare down at me from the skyline; buildings encompass the personality of the city with their variations in style and size. Frost bank sparkles in the distance and The Driskill’s regal presence is not one to be ignored. Street vendors sell food from every corner of the world, while the retail scene ranges from high end fashion to rare vintage collections. While many of my classmates have been confined to the bubble of the suburbs, I have spent my Junior and Senior year exploring the urban world. It is in these familiar streets that I learned the values of hard work, motivation, and leadership. The importance of individuality became as clear as the waters of Barton Springs as I absorbed the culture I was surrounded with.

When I decided to join Austin Rowing Club, I expected to learn a new sport and fill my free time with a proficient activity. As time went on, passion sparked. Five days a week, I could be spotted in one of the sleek sculling boats gliding down Town Lake. Both mentally and physically exasperating, rowing was a labor of love. The utmost concentration was required to fall into a well-timed cadence with the other rowers in the boat, all of our oars gracefully prying the vessel through the water as one. The majority of my time is spent in these glimmering waters, which offered me a whole new perspective on a city I thought I was familiar with.
Although not an ephemeral process, I was soon absorbed into the culture of the city. Every practice was like an in depth tour through the heart of the famed Texas capitol. Some days protesters could be seen marching above my head as I rowed under the bridges of Lady Bird Lake. Suddenly, politics were relevant to my life and not just a news story flashing on the television screen. I learned the sleep schedule of the bats that lived under Congress Bridge, watching them retreat with the sunrise and awake to a magenta sunset. History came to life as I learned about the landmarks that surrounded me, and I became absorbed in the statues that stood proudly on the river’s shore symbolizing Austin’s rich history. My once nonexistent understanding of art and architecture flourished as I became exposed to it, instantly entranced by the intricate designs put on display as if the city itself were a museum. Austin’s legendary music scene unfolded at my feet, pleasing my naïve ears with genres that I had never heard before. My sport exposed me to some of the greater aspects of life, simultaneously teaching me how to find my strengths in situations that seem beyond the realm of possibility. Rowing helped me to develop a mental strength which constantly echoes a reminder that perseverance is applicable to all elements of success, in and out of the water.

As I embark into the next chapter of my life, I look forward to assimilating myself into a culture of different proportions. I will glide through the deep river of Opportunity, using University of Texas as my boat and the skills and motivation I have developed as my oars. I will continue to paddle through academic obstacles just as I have paddled through the painful build-up of lactic acid at many regattas. Each stroke creates a puddle in its wake and sends a ripple of influence through the water. As I row my way through college, the opportunity to influence my surroundings is literally in my hands.





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