I graduate with my masters in public health on May 7th from one of the best public health programs in the country and I don’t know what is next.
This blog is about my journey through endurance events, travels, school and life and I feel dishonest if I don’t post something about when things get hard. Recently things have been kind of hard. I got sick for the first time in over a year. I‘ve got what feels like a million things to do before I graduate. I let my extensive traveling impact my diet and sleep. My running felt a bit “off” post marathon and in the run up to a 50k. And I got rejected from a potential job I was excited about, just days after I sort of turned down a different job.
Job rejections hurt, everyone knows that, but they especially hurt when you’ve gone through most of the hoops and interviews, seen the benefits package, etc. and then out of the blue they tell you they are going to be pursuing other candidates. To say I was bummed is an understatement because it also just left me feeling more anxious about the future.
Anxiety is not a common emotion for me. I’m usually extremely on top of things and I rarely wear my emotions outwardly (except for tiredness from lack of sleep.) Recently I got called out by friends for seeming “off.” I pride myself on always being self reliant and when things aren’t going well, I typically shield my loved ones from what is going on in my life to keep that image going. Instead of shielding everyone this time, I actually sought out a counselor to talk to. I didn’t want to burden anyone close to me with my problems because I know too many people are dealing with their own, often bigger, problems right now. With the help of someone that I can just openly talk to about these anxieties and fears, I’ve been able to process them better.
I’ve been able to reframe job rejections as new opportunities to look for other potential jobs that could be a better fit. I reframed my not having a job right after graduation as a time for traveling and seeing family and friends. And I’m able to reframe my fear of what is next into excitement about the unknown (with still some anxiety thrown in there.)
I have a 50k on Sunday, then a racial equity training, then the Smoky Mountain Relay, then a free weekend, and finally graduation. I have so much to do between those already filled weekends that I am actually looking at everything on a microscopic day-to-day schedule. I have had some incredible days over the past month in addition to the days where I’ve been off. In fact I’ve had everything from a somewhat wild reunion weekend in Nashville with sorority sisters, to a final spring break that fulfilled/completed my childhood and adolescence (visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando with a friend) plus very recently I had an almost perfect date night. In athletic news, while the Mountains to Sea 50k I’m running this Sunday may not be much faster than my last one, I’ve run over 300 straight days – well over 1,000 miles since last June.
I say all this because I am not super-woman, I am human. There are good days and bad days. Without varied emotional experiences how would I be able to know when the best days come along? So yes, there have been some struggles recently and I am pushing hard to this graduate school finish- mentally, physically, and emotionally. Humans are resilient, and I know these struggles are all learning experiences along my journey. And above all I believe in enjoying the journey, the good and the bad, wherever it takes me.