For this second year of my MBA, I have really been trying to get out of my comfort zone. The old cliche “get comfortable with being uncomfortable”. One way I am keeping myself accountable is listing my 101 in 1001 prominently on this website.  Along the way, I’m going to discuss my adventures as I check things off the list! One of the most recent adventures has been learning to paddleboard.

Why now? I love to swim, and kayak—and paddleboarding always looked super fun in magazine spreads! When I saw that the Rice gym had a weekend trip to a surf town in Texas, I signed up!

On the first day, I had to admit I was really nervous. I had no idea if I would be the oldest person there (would there only be freshman?!) or the most unfit. I had had a pretty bad experience trying to do rock climbing while being in the latter category, so it wasn’t completely unfounded when learning to paddleboard. I really wanted to chicken out the night before. I had a ton of work I could do, and I would figure out paddleboarding later…when I was better…more fit…something.

I decided to just go for it anyway, as I had paid the money. When would I next have the opportunity to learn? Luckily, it was a good mix of undergraduates and 1-2nd year graduate students. Rice is thankfully a school known for computer science and pre-med; my fellow surfers were at least as pasty and sun-deprived as me! The student leaders were also extremely friendly and made it a point that everyone felt comfortable introducing themselves.

When we got there, I learned how much EQUIPMENT there is to paddleboarding. You need a paddleboard (not a surfboard–who knew?!), a leash (to hold the paddleboard to your ankle), fins (that you attach), and a paddleboard. After a few minutes of instruction that basically amounted to “try to keep your balance”, we were off! I was pretty happy we were left alone to be honest. I learn better when I have some time to think, rather than having someone peering over my shoulder.

Surprise: I fell down a lot. My knees were literally BRUISED from how many times I fell straight down! I also stood up a few times and it was so fun. I think the best part was that (mostly) everyone was in a good mood and not taking themselves too seriously. After our beach day was over, we ended up getting the truck stuck like 3 times. We all were laughing the entire time. It wasn’t a big deal! We were all having fun.

After all that, I was really glad to have gone…even if I was not the paddleboarding goddess on my first attempt. I signed up for my 2nd trip, which was yesterday. I’m not an expert yet, but I’m one step closer than the person who never got out of bed. (#clichebuttrue). I’m really excited and hope to be learning to paddleboard in more locations!