I got started with Hamp Crew my Freshman year. That summer I wanted to start rowing crew but I didn't know if my high school had a team, so I looked it up. Turns out we do.
Rowing has definitely improved my life. For one thing it gets me in really good shape; I was never really that athletic up until I joined the team, and being healthy feels better than being unhealthy. It's also introduced me to some really great people, some of whom still row on this team, but many of whom have graduated and are rowing in college.
I probably won't row next year in college, unless the school I end up going to has a lightweight program. It's a shame, and I'll definitely miss the sport, but collegiate rowing is just too much of a time commitment. Maybe I'll join some kind of intramural team that won't get in the way of my schoolwork as much. There are things that I've learned during my time on this team that I'll take with me to college. Being able to work really hard without giving up is one of them. My coaches have taught me that pretty much every challenge in life (even physical challenges like a 2k test piece on the erg) is a mind game that you play with your weaker self. That weak version of you wants you to give up, but you can just not give up and then you're good.
What the sport itself feels like? It's really boring. Your muscles hurt if you're pulling hard, but the worst part is staring at the monotonous horizon during practice trying to find something to occupy your mind while your body performs the same painful, repetitive motion over and over again. And it's usually pretty cold, too, so it feels cold. But it feels really good to win races. Almost good enough to make up for the practices.