May 7, 2018 Graduate Stories: Lauren Higdon

Graduate Stories Series

We’re sharing stories of some of our amazing 2018 graduates:  Paul Bamson, Dillon Dunn, Cody Grooms and Lauren Higdon.  These students persevered, elevated their game, exhibited incredible determination and in some cases, overcame significant odds to reach graduation day.  They share their stories and memories along with some advice for younger students.  We thank these students and send congratulations to all of our graduates.

Lauren Higdon Rowing 2015

Q&A with Lauren Higdon:  Designer, Rower and Conqueror


Name: Lauren Higdon

Year: 4th  Year

Major: Interior Architecture

Hometown: Seoul, South Korea

Sport:  Rowing


Describe your daily and/or weekly schedule when rowing and being an Interior Architecture major.  

With rowing, we are in-season both fall and spring. We train during the fall and compete in the spring. We travel almost every week in the spring until the end of May. We practice 20 hours a week, which is usually four hours a day, six days a week.

With school, I’ve consistently taken between 15 and 16 credit hours each semester. I’m usually up by 6:00 or 6:30 a.m. every morning for practice. During the week, if I’m not in practice, you can find me in the Architecture building. I take advantage of my day-off to get ahead on my school work. I’m in the Architecture building early before classes, and I’m there until 5:30 p.m. One of my best friends, Polly Ann Blackwell, and I usually grab dinner together after class. After dinner, I spend the rest of the night working in the studio.

On the weekends, I dedicate all my time outside of traveling and practice to school work. I don’t spend a lot of time at my house other than to sleep! If I get free time, I like to go out and get breakfast or dinner with my friends.


What was the most challenging part of doing both?

The most challenging part of doing both has been trying to balance it all. I wanted to put in as much work as I could on my studio projects to reflect my vision. I could sacrifice more things and stay up later to put in more design work for my projects, but I also needed to sleep and eat well in order to be in the best shape possible for everyday training. I always prioritized my education over rowing, but I had a lot of passion in both and never wanted to sacrifice one or the other.


Can you tell us your favorite memory from the past four years?  

I’ll always remember the late nights with my friends in my major and all the amazing race experiences and traveling done with my teammates.


How would you describe your overall experience in both being both a student athlete and a College of Architecture and Design student?  

It has truly been a tremendous experience, and I’m glad I chose this route. It was an opportunity that I think is rare, and I would recommend more people trying it out. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without both of these things.

I’ve made incredible lifelong friends through rowing and the college, and I had the guidance of some of the greatest professors I could ever ask for. I would not have been the kind of designer I am without my studio classmates; their hard work and talent were a big motivation in making me a better designer. I can’t thank my professors enough for giving me so much knowledge and supporting me and helping me balance my school work with my rowing schedule.

I have been through it all with my teammates, and they’ve challenged me every day to push myself to my limits, even when I didn’t think I had anything left in me. Through all the ups and downs, it has been a once-in-a lifetime opportunity that I will cherish forever.


Rowing photo credit:  Craig Bisacre/Tennessee Athletics