Learning to surf without freaking out

Tharshika with surf board in shallow water at The Spit

Welcome all to my first blog post. I am Tharshika, currently studying Medicine at Griffith University. I can hear you all gasp – just kidding! I am one of the Gold Coast Mayor’s International Student Ambassadors (representing Sri Lanka) organised by Study Gold Coast. Born in Sri Lanka, raised in Dubai, moved to the Gold Coast, lived in a Greek household and always surrounded by Indians, Arabs and Aussies, I am lucky to be experiencing this globalised world. Moving to the Gold Coast and studying at Griffith University has opened up a world of possibilities for me. I joined the International Student Ambassador (ISA) program in 2015 so I could showcase the wonderful city of Gold Coast and the limitless avenues for work and tourism to my friends and families worldwide.

As a Student Ambassador I get to try my hand at stuff I would not have previously dared to do. Recently Study Gold Coast organised a “Learn to Surf” session for the ISA 2015 team. I am the kind of person who freaks out just watching people on a roller coaster; so for me to learn to surf was a big step – a very big no no! I was really nervous and anxious, constantly cursing myself for not going to the swimming lessons back in school. The sun was shining and the water was cool, it was perfect weather and all my concern was to never fall off the surf board.

Boy was I so wrong!! Though we started our training in shallow waters at The Spit, Main Beach, it did not stop me from screaming every time I fell off the surf board. After what seemed like a million falls, I finally found my balance and I surfed. It was such an adrenaline rush. I am forever grateful for my instructor (angel sent from heaven?!) who constantly helped me when I fell into the water and was the first to cheer when I finally found the balance to surf.  We had a 2 hour lesson and I managed to balance on the surf board about 3-4 times.

Looking back at that day, I totally understand when people say the number of times you fall does not matter, it is the brave who can stand back up after each fall. So here I am, a brave person sharing my terrifying experience with you guys. It was truly an amazing experience and I slept like a log that night.

Another question people always ask is, “How do you manage studying medicine and these volunteering positions like the Griffith Mates and being an International Student Ambassador?” With a smug look on my face I would say, “It is all about setting your priorities right and time management is crucial”. I believe that I have a good balance between my academic and social activities. If we want to do something from the bottom of our hearts, we will always find time to do it! You better start doing it before it’s too late as you don’t need to be great at something to start but you NEED to start RIGHT NOW to be great ?

– Tharshika

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