Thursday, June 24, 2010

Running as a metaphor for my academic career

Remember the stress that occurred six weeks prior to my birthday?  The first two weeks of January I was writing a paper (a comprehensive exam to be more exact) that would make or break my academic career- pass the exam and graduate or fail and have to take it again in May. Failing the exam was an unbearable, crippling thought- what if, then in May, I did not pass?  Then I really wouldn't graduate "on time" (because the next, and last opportunity, to take the exam would be in January, long after my set graduation date of November).

Well, proving the theory that "what we focus on grows," I did not pass my January exam.  The test was broken up into three parts and I only passed one.  This meant I would have to retake the remaining two sections in May.  Devastation set in.  Regrets came pouring out in the form of tears.  The Pilot silently and patiently drove the car home, so I could quiver in disappointment and wallow in self pity for the remainder of the day.  I did just that, crawling into bed shortly after I received the news and slept.

The next morning I woke up, still reeling, but forced to move on, duty calls.  I went for a run.  A horribly slow, incredibly painful 3 mile run.  I pushed through the physical pain, crying for most of the run, from the combination of physical discomfort and emotional disappointment. 

However, I finished the run, without stopping or taking walking breaks.  And a powerful thought came over me upon completion of the run; "The run was difficult, but I finished!  And I am a better, stronger, and healthier person for having done it." 

The same can be said for my academic career- it has been a difficult, challenging road (with MANY unexpected twist and turns) to obtain my Masters degree, but overcoming those obstacles will make me a better, strong, healthier person and certainly a better therapist.  Armed with this metaphor I made an action plan and moved on towards May..

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