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early morning row
early morning row
Original photo by Sarah Thornton
Life > Experiences

Making a Splash on and off the Water: Catching Up With FSU Rowing President Emily Naidel

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at FSU chapter.

Meet Emily Naidel, the girl who does it all! She is a junior at Florida State University (FSU) on a Pre-Law track, double majoring in Political Science and Economics. A star athlete on the water, Emily is the president of FSU’s club rowing team and has been a member since her freshman year. Outside of classes and extracurriculars, she is an exemplary member of the Tallahassee community, working as a paid intern for US Senator, Rick Scott. With her limited free time, Emily volunteers as a child welfare advocate for Guardian Ad Litem, an agency that represents Florida’s foster care children. I had the opportunity to chat with Emily this week and discuss her experiences and time management strategies! 

Her Campus (HC): Can you tell me a bit about your rowing history?

Emily Naidel (EN): I rowed all throughout middle school and high school, so when I got to college, I thought that I wanted to explore different hobbies and interests unrelated to rowing. Around October of my freshman year, however, I realized that I wasn’t doing enough or meeting many people, so I decided to go to a rowing practice and ended up joining that same month.

HC: What has your experience been as president of the team compared to the previous roles you’ve held? 

EN: Beginning as a rower, I really didn’t know how much effort and planning board members put forth to keep the team going. Practicing and racing were my only concerns as a rower, but as soon as I joined the board, I found that I had new priorities and more pressure on me than before. I held the position of treasurer last year and transitioning from being a rower to having primary financial responsibility over the team made me feel like I made more of an individual impact on the team. Advancing from the role of treasurer to the role of president this year has been an interesting shift. In my presidential role, I delegate the responsibilities of other board members and engage in weekly brainstorming about how the team could improve and prepare for the unknown. Managing the budget and fundraising were far more tangible than the conceptual planning I do currently.  

HC: What is your favorite memory from your time at FSU rowing?

EN: At one of our races last year, my boat and I finished second in our category. We were excited but were absolutely hoping for first. When we got off the water, our coach was on the way to get our medals and told us that the boat that had beaten us had actually won first place in a separate category from our own, meaning we had placed first in ours. I remember our coach mouthing, “You placed first!” and us jumping up and down trying to hold in excited screams.

HC: Do you have any advice for any younger students interested in collegiate rowing?

EN: Just show up, put in the work, and you’ll get the results you earn. I’m 5-foot-3 on a good day, but I’m still very competitive at the level I’m racing. It is a fun and friendly environment at the collegiate club level, and I love it. All of my best memories and friends at FSU come from rowing, we’re a family.

HC: What do you do as a volunteer for Guardian Ad Litem? 

EN: I go into the homes of foster care children and speak with them individually, without their foster parents or biological parents present. I try and get their true opinions on their living situations, then advocate on their behalf in court. It’s hard for kids to truly be honest in negligent or abusive situations, so it feels very rewarding to gain their trust and become someone they can rely on for help. 

HC: What are your best time management strategies? 

EN: Rowing practice being super early in the morning works conveniently for my schedule. With the high amount of responsibilities I have on my plate, I have to be extremely diligent about how I spend my time, so I deleted TikTok, Instagram and Facebook as I spent too much time mindlessly scrolling on them. I still have plenty of time for my friends and to eat meals with my roommates though, and that’s because I try to be purposeful with every minute of my day and reduce mind-numbing activities. I also genuinely enjoy everything I’m balancing, which helps keep me motivated to succeed in everything I do. 

Naidel’s accomplishments are both varied and impressive! Follow FSU rowing on Instagram to stay up to date with the team’s activities.

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