Meet the Grad Student Rider With the Best Pre-Exam Ritual
hiladelphia rider and grad student ELISE GEITHNER shares how she incorporates SOUL into her pre-exam study ritual.
I discovered SoulCycle while home from college one Christmas break. I was closest to the Scarsdale studio and took my first few classes over the holiday. I was in awe of the pure volume of sweat I produced during each class, as well as the post-ride invigoration I felt. I have always loved various forms of group exercise, but I had never experienced the energy and community that I encountered at SOUL.
When I started graduate school in Manhattan, I went on to ride regularly at West 77th. My days began with a 6:00AM “rooster ride” led by JULIE D., a ritual that grounded and energized me. I loved the early morning energy boost, but it wasn’t until exams started that I thought to incorporate SOUL into my pre-test-taking ritual. On exam days, I would take a 6:00 or 6:15AM ride so I could give myself a pep talk and feel my power on the bike. Starting my day before the sun rose, in a dark room with loud music, allowed me to feel calm and confident during my test.
Julie D. changed my life. She appreciated my early morning energy, as I was always the first to let out a “woo-hoo” in the first or second song of class. Some may have rolled their eyes; she cheered for more. As we got to know each other, I made song requests and soon convinced her to incorporate my “performance anxiety/pre-exam anthem” of the past decade – “Lose Yourself” by Eminem – into her playlist. Julie was the most amazing coach and friend and mentor, encouraging me when I didn’t think my body could possibly ride any faster. She asked the class to send positive energy to me and the sick children I worked with when they were in crisis.
When I moved to California, I got to ride at the Palo Alto studio with MK and KAMELLE, who were both phenomenal. I recently moved to Philly and have fallen in love with the energy and vibe of the Rittenhouse Square studio, where I ride with BRYANT and RYAN L. as much as possible. It’s the best feeling to walk into the studio at 7:00AM on the day of an exam, settle onto my bike, whip through my neon flashcards of drug names and disease processes, and tuck them into my water bottle holder once class begins.
When I ride on mornings of tests, I actually talk to myself out loud. I say, “I can do it, I can do it,” referring to the thick hills of my ride ahead, as well as the upcoming exam. I could not walk into the high-stakes exams and demonstrations at nursing school without a centering ritual beforehand – and I have found that at SOUL.
In adjusting to live in a new city, I feel so lucky to be a part of the SoulCycle community. I can walk in the door anywhere and know what to expect – from the scent of the yellow candles to the sticky studio air, thick with sweat from the last class. It’s a familiarity I have grown to appreciate after riding over the past 7 years.
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