A running guru by the name of William James once stated that "Beyond the very extreme of fatigue and distress, we may find amounts of ease and power we never dreams ourselves to own; sources of strength never taxed at all because we never push through the obstruction." It's amazing how much can change in a year: a chick can grow into an egg-laying hen, Donald Trump can go from reality television star to a presidential nominee, and one person can go from rock bottom to rediscovering their passion for education, excellence, and running; on the road to becoming who they were meant to be.
Running has always played a huge role in my life. I thought all families woke up for 5Ks on Saturdays and that all moms had run at least one marathon. Growing in that race environment invigorated me and helped me imagine what my future could look like as a runner. Little did I know that it wasn't the running that inspired me, it was the power that these athletes had discovered within themselves after years of "pushing through the obstruction" and reaching their goals. As I began to grow as an athlete, I started to learn firsthand about the importance of dedication, perseverance and endurance both mentally and physically. I found myself applying these skills towards all things in my life, including school and work, and I realized that I had tapped into something bigger than myself.
When I began my studies at [omitted], I realized that I was surrounded by people who were also in this mindset and while it excited me, it intimidated me at the same time. I began to doubt my abilities and even though I still held onto these fundamental lessons, I allowed myself to get lost in the crowd. I succumbed to the doubts, and finding a reason to maintain a healthy balance in my life became a struggle. I encountered many more obstacles than I expected, both financially and academically, and eventually, I lost focus of the goal. Yet throughout these trying times, I still had running to keep me grounded. And it finally clicked. If I could power through this 10 mile run, why was I struggling so much in everything else? What happened to my motivation?
This brief moment of mental clarity helped me see things through the eyes of a runner, and more importantly, through the eyes of my mother. It propelled me forward and I finally had the confidence to strive for more. Within the year that I was away from [omitted], I ran my first half marathon and received a promotion where I was working. I realized that this was in fact a new beginning and a turning point where I could redefine myself. This was a time when my family was not necessarily thriving financially and I saw my chance to help out. I went through the process of becoming a certified pharmacy technician, which had been a goal of mine for quite some time now, and I knew I could accomplish so much more. I realized that this time away from school was much more than a redefining moment. It was my chance to rediscover what moved me and why I wanted a college degree in the first place.
So here I am. Yes, this journey has been physically, mentally and emotionally tough, but I feel like that's the point of college. Why would any company want to hire a mediocre employee who feels entitled and hasn't overcome any real challenges. My journey has only just begun but to say that it started at [omitted] as a [major omitted] student is already saying a lot. The opportunity to finish my degree plan here is something I would cherish for years to come and something I will surely not take for granted the second time around.