One of the greatest perks of living in Austin is the vast amount of opportunities to engage with the community off campus. To that end, a Ph.D. candidate in our department, Carrie Andersen, was recently featured on Fox 7 news for her training at a boxing gym in south Austin called Austin Boxing Babes. She can be seen throughout this clip working with another gym member holding boxing mitts.
Carrie had this to say about the training process and its impact on her academic work:
It’s probably telling that I started boxing two days after I started studying for my qualifying exams. I needed to find a way to let my academic brain find some brief respite from the books for a few hours a night. Although I immediately realized it would be the hardest way I could spend my time – one hour of non-stop movement, strength-training, and boxing fundamentals is much easier than it sounds – I could not be more thrilled with training at this gym with other incredibly strong, supportive women.
Aside from the general health benefits of pretty hardcore physical training, boxing has supported my academic work in ways that I did not initially anticipate. I immediately found myself more focused and invigorated about my fields of interest as well as my own research. After I completed my exams, letting my mind wander away from my studies helped me build the theoretical scaffolding for my dissertation proposal: on more than a few occasions, I’d stop thinking about my work during training only to have an epiphany about my research on my drive home (even brief moments of distance from a project does wonders for thinking about ideas in new ways, as they say, and there’s no way anyone can think about a dissertation while someone’s throwing punches at you). So, needless to say, I’m thrilled to continue training for the ring and confronting the opportunities and challenges in my graduate work.