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As some of you know, I am on both the swim team and water polo team at Caltech. The rest of you may ask, how does a nerd with so much work have time to do anything besides study?
I’ll admit, my sophomore year, while still on Core (a math and physics class) and starting classes for my applied math option (abstract algebra, complex analysis) I don’t think I ever made it out my text books. In hindsight this is one of my biggest regrets at Caltech.
Life needs balance – my brain was getting plenty of exercise and I still socialized with people in the form of “Have you done #2 yet? I need help” but my mind was suffering from the lack of change and the body never responds well to doing nothing all the time. Sophomore year was worst year at Tech and being more active may have made it a bit better.
At Caltech, all sports practices are scheduled from 4-6pm (PE classes may be at other times…) and professors are strongly encouraged to not hold class during this time for the exact reason that rank maniacs have a chance to take a break from studying and take a break.
After sophomore year I actually began to head back to the pool and have definitely been a much happier student ever since (although this also corresponds to my change of major from ACM to CS… I guess we’ll never know what really made me happy).
Of course, there are other ways to take mental breaks – music, art, reading books FOR FUN, other hobbies (I crochet and cross stitch sometimes), but sports are fun because there is still some purpose.