Former Pac-10 Conference Rowing Athlete of the Year and member of the U.S. senior national team since 2010, Cal alum, Nareg Guregian ’11, has much to celebrate in 2016. Not only did he compete for the first time in men’s rowing pair at the summer Olympics in Rio, but he is also getting married to his fiancée Katelin Snyder – a University of Washington grad who also competed in the Rio summer Olympics as the coxswain of the U.S. Women’s Eights boat. For his 5th Cal reunion, Nareg takes a moment to reflect on how his experience at Cal helped him to get where he is today.
What are you doing now?
I’m enjoying myself. When you’re training with the national team, you miss a lot of time with friends and family. We don’t have much vacation time, and even while you’re on a break, you still need to be training constantly. Fortunately, we have a pretty long break after the Olympics so I have been able to spend the last few months catching up with my friends and family, making up for all the lost time. I hadn’t been to the Bay Area for the last 3 years either and I finally got to visit campus a few weeks ago. That was pretty special. I’m also getting married soon so I’m looking forward to that!
Is there a Cal experience that helped you get to where you are now?
I learned a lot being on the Cal Crew team. I think its biggest influence was teaching me how to define success. We all want to find a magic bullet to success but it’s usually a long and ugly process. Work hard, get your feelings hurt a bit, and trust the people around you as well as yourself. After a while – and for me it was a long while – you’ll get the hang of it and you’ll learn a little bit about yourself in the process. Being good at pulling on an oar may not be an important skill in life, but there are plenty of life lessons I learned from crew.
What advice would you give to current Cal students?
Go explore. Go to events and talks on campus. Walk around town. Check out the weird restaurants or parts of campus you hadn’t been to. There’s always something to do. You will always have the Internet and TV shows to watch when you graduate. Study hard and enjoy yourself.
Do you have a favorite spot on campus?
My favorite spot on campus is The Campanile. I would really enjoy going up there on Gameday and see all the people packed in Memorial Stadium. I also loved taking visitors there and watch them freak out when the loud bells rang.