It has been exactly one week since getting hooded at my graduation. The whole ceremony was a mind bender. Our dean proclaimed, “Here are your healthcare heroes!” A great reminder of the pandemic. This was the first time I attended a graduation since my technical degree in nursing. I promised myself that the only graduation I would ever attend again was that of my doctorate. A final finish line.
Running has been my north star for many years. My love affair with the proverbial post run endorphin high began many years after high school cross country. Monthly half marathons became my consistent friend during each long semester as I was completing my master’s degree. The distance ballooned during my doctoral program into ultra-marathon racing as I kept pushing my limits. It was the one activity where I could challenge my mind in a non-scholarly manner. It’s silly that as a self-described carefree spirit that I’ve always chased after anything and everything that challenges my mental and physical game. After all, I really enjoy the competition of both. Learning, check. Endurance, check. Grit, check.
The pandemic, political, and racial tensions here in the United States during the last year literally and figuratively put a halt to many of my goals. As I closed in on the last two semesters my life became hell. I continued to run for my sanity and was able to set some personal bests in running. Make no mistake, those races were fueled by a deep sense of stress. At one point, graduating from the university was questionable. It didn’t occur to me that I was embarking on one of the greatest challenges of my life so far.
But here I am. So much will change. I will no longer live my life from semester to semester. No more stressing over study deadlines. Yet so much will stay the same. I’ll always be a lifelong learner, the running will never end, and my goals will constantly shift. Going to keep chasing this rolling stone.
This long chapter in my life has triumphantly ended. Still internally beaming at this accomplishment. Class of 2021 is done and dusted.