23 Nov Throwback Thursday – Hannah Stratford
Natural Sciences: Experimental Physiology
Blondie 2006, Blue 2007 (won)
How did you find managing academics and sport?
It was a lot to manage. The early nights certainly impacted on socialising! But for me, sport undoubtedly improved my academic performance. At first I had difficulty managing a lot of unstructured time at university. Perfectionism and procrastination meant I struggled to be productive in the daytime and ended up staying up all night to write every essay. Rowing, particularly the 12 session a week program and early starts every morning, gave me a valuable structure to my time. I no longer had the option of pulling all nighters and instead made better use of my days for studying. It gave me a proper sleep-wake cycle and energised me in the mornings. At the end of the second year my tutor had no idea I had rowed for CUWBC and competed in blondie, so she clearly didn’t feel it had impeded my studying!
What are your fondest memories of your Boat Race campaign?
If I said the long outings at Ely in the frost and wind before sunrise, I can’t imagine anyone would believe it. I loved seeing the sun come up over the cathedral though! My fondest memories are getting to know my amazing crew members. Listening to music with Sonia on the train, accepting sage advice from Elly, Simpy’s infectious laugh and unending energy. It was a great crew to be a part of, and even though we had some real challenges, we supported each other and approached the race with professionalism and discipline. I learnt a lot about grit and determination
What have you done since your Boat Races?
I moved around the country working in mental health research and NHS services, and then moved to Oxford to study for a clinical psychology doctorate, and have lived and worked there since. Given the demands of the course (and my unending light blue loyalty) rather than try out for OUWBC, I decided to row for Wadham College (conveniently in Cambridge Blue). Nowadays you can find me out on my bike, hanging out with my hens, or pootling off to a festival in the campervan.
I cannot believe that 10 years have passed! I miss lots about my time at CUWBC (but not the early mornings!) and can’t wait to celebrate with you all in April!