notes from the dorm

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 25 January, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 25 January, 2011, 12:00am

It's an undergraduate's worst nightmare: binge eating. With the freedom of university comes the freedom to eat what you want and when you want - without your parents looking over your shoulder. It has become my mission to avoid piling on extra kilograms.

The solution, I figured, lay in regular exercise. That led me to the university's dragon boat team.

To be honest, I had zero previous experience with dragon boats. But they had long piqued my curiosity. There's something majestic and almost romantic about a team of lean paddlers gliding along the water in their swift dragon boat with a cool breeze in their faces.

Signing up for the team was the easy part. Attending practices was a different matter entirely.

Imagine my horror when I learned that from September straight through to mid-February practices would consist of weightlifting.

After the first session in the gym, I was ready to bail. But something kept me going: I began making new friends.

After every session, I am sore all over in my body. But the friends I've made have been worth every aching muscle. The gym has become one of my favourite places on campus. It's a gathering spot for the university's Waterdragonboat team and is a hangout for friends.

Much to my surprise, the one place I thought I would dread has become a third home. First comes the house I grew up in. Second comes my dorm. And third now comes the gym.

As my first year in university progresses, I am finding myself broadening my circle of friends more and more.

Teammates are chosen during gruelling tryouts based on their physical ability. Unfortunately that leaves me playing the waiting game. The final team cuts are on February 18 and training isn't getting any easier.

In the end, it does not matter if I manage to make the team or not. The best part of it all is that my worst nightmare of gaining plenty of extra weight is long forgotten.

Okay, I need to confess: once in a while I still give in to a late-night Chinese takeout.