Sixth Form Guest Speaker - Roz Savage

19 Apr 24

Our Sixth Form students had a special guest speaker today - Dr Roz Savage MBE. She is the first woman to row solo across the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans, is the holder of four Guinness World Records, has written several books, is an environmental campaigner and is currently standing for MP in the South Cotswolds.

She brought her extraordinary tale of resilience and determination to Sheldon to speak to students in Year 12 about how to make decisions without fearing failure and to inspire them to seek a path through life that they can be proud of. She told students to 'find something that speaks to you personally and benefits the greater good'.

An environmental awakening led Dr Savage to take on the solo rowing challenge to raise awareness of climate change and see how far she could push herself. She had no previous ocean rowing experience and had to reach out to people for advice and mentorships from rowers and other extreme explorers. She explained that asking for advice and mentorship is something that our students should begin to think about as they chart their future paths through university, apprenticeships or even gap year adventures. 

Dr Savage was the first in her family to go to university, graduating from Oxford with a degree in law. She talked to students about how they should trust their instincts when choosing a course to study and to keep an open mind to the journey they will take throughout their life. As she explained, they don't have to have success early on, as she was in her late 30s when she decided to row across the globe. The most important thing is to find a way to motivate yourself - whether it is through exams, university, your career or even rowing 12 hours a day in isolation in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. She explained that in her most challenging moments she would think about doing things that would make her future self proud. 

During Dr Savage's incredible journeys across the three largest oceans, she faced adversity and setbacks including the failure of her satellite phone and speakers in the middle of the Atlantic, leaving her alone with only her thoughts for over three months. She explained that setbacks are opportunities to grow and that she learned a lot about herself during her experiences on the ocean. Before embarking on this journey, she shied away from difficult things for fear of failure, but out in the middle of an ocean she had no choice but to keep rowing. Her message to students: keep showing up, keep failing. One day it will come good. She explained that her definition of success is not material wealth or job titles, instead she asks herself 'Did I learn something? Did I become a better person?'

After her talk, she met with a group of students to find out more about their concerns and their vision of the future. She gave them advice on following their own path through life and even provided expertise on how to approach their own endurance challenges this summer.

To find out more about Dr Roz Savage's extraordinary story, visit her website.

I was head girl in 2015 and loved being able to speak to parents about my time at Sheldon when they were considering where their children should go. Because of how it has shaped me as a person I feel I am who I am today because of my time there.
Alice Parham - Marketing Assistant for THG Labs