OT Chronicles Chapter 2: Applying to OT grad school(s)

OT Chronicles Chapter 2: Applying to OT grad school(s)

To begin, I will be 100% honest about applying to grad school – it’s stressful.  It will test your ability to make decisions.  It will test your creativity and determination.  It will test your patience.  But, it’s all minute stress compared to the imminent stress that grad school itself will bring.

Below are some tips, tricks, and insights to applying to grad school for a MSOT program.

Step 1:  Do your research.

When you start looking for grad schools offering MSOT programs there’s a lot to take into consideration.  Where do you want to go to school?  Will you commute or live on/near campus?  What kind of program does each school offer?  Is it a full-time, standard program?  Is it a weekend-hybrid program?  Does the school require you to take the GRE?  What are the pre-requisites required to apply to the program?  Do they have a supplemental application in addition to the OTCAS application?  Attend graduate open houses or program information sessions for the schools you are interested in applying to.  Do your research, take notes, and write down any important dates and deadlines.

Step 2:  Get ahead on application pre-requisites and other requirements

Make sure you have fulfilled all of the course pre-requisites to apply to the MSOT you are interested in.  Most pre-requisite requirements include some form of anatomy & physiology, psychology, sociology, lifespan development, and statistics.  Check the website for the program you are interested in so that you know exactly what courses you need to be considered for the program.

Also, begin researching potential locations for observation hours in the OT setting.  It would be in your best interest to chose a variety of settings and populations.  This will strengthen your application and give you irreplaceable observation experiences in the field of OT.  Contact the OT departments of each location you are interested in, explain your process of applying to grad schools, and tell them what days/times you are available to observe.  Ask about dress code expectations, where to park and enter the building, and who you will be shadowing.  (I will create a separate blog post in the future with my personal observation experiences)

Step 3:  Understanding OTCAS

OTCAS is the common app specifically for OT schools.  Make sure you check application release dates as you won’t be able to start this application until OTCAS opens their applications.  Once the application opens, start working on it.  There are multiple sections to fill out with educational & work history and other personal experiences.  You will need to have all of your undergraduate transcripts sent to OTCAS.  You will need letters of recommendation from multiple professionals involved in your educational, athletic, or professional background.

The OTCAS process is lengthy and can be very time-consuming.  It’s best to start the OTCAS process early so that you don’t feel panicked about deadlines.  You will discover that some parts of the OTCAS application are completely out of your control.  Be patient, remain persistent and attentive, and stay alert to things that are time-sensitive.  Before submitting your OTCAS application, make sure to review all of the information you’ve provided to make sure you aren’t missing any information that could strengthen your application.

Step 4:  Check for supplemental applications

Some MSOT programs have their own supplemental application.  Be diligent when researching schools so that you know which schools have a supplemental application and which ones do not.  Programs typically don’t release their individualized application until many weeks/months after the OTCAS application has been released so, once again, be attentive to when applications become available.

Make sure you follow all instructions and requirements needed in the supplemental application.  As always, proofread EVERYTHING before you submit your application.

Step 5:  Organize follow-up dates

Most schools provide the estimated time of application response on their websites and/or applications.  Some schools admit students on a rolling basis (first come, first served so get those applications submitted ASAP!) while other schools do not start considering applications until after the posted deadline.  To minimize admittance/declination anxiety, write down expected response dates.  This will help maintain relative sanity while you wait.  During this time, the applications are completely out of your control.  Have faith in the applications you have submitted.  After all, all you can truly do is wait.

Step 6:  Admittance/Waitlisted/Declination

Depending on the response from each school, you may or may not have follow-up steps to complete.  If you are declined from a school (and I assure you that it will happen), try not to panic.  MSOT programs are extremely competitive.  Accept that you tried your best and evaluate what may have been any weaknesses in your application (for me, it was my GRE scores).  If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, again.  Don’t give up on a goal; just work harder to achieve it – even if that means completing the application process again.

If you are waitlisted, all you can do is wait to hear back from them.  They should explain in the waitlist letter/email when to expect further communication; however, each school has a slightly different process.  Make sure to read all correspondence thoroughly!

If you are accepted to a school, they will provide follow-up steps moving forward.  This most likely includes either A) sending a deposit to guarantee your spot in the program or B) scheduling an interview for the continuation of the application process.

Step 7 (varies by school/individual):  Deposit and/or taking the next step

Personally, I was declined by the first school I heard from.  I panicked.  I doubted my worth.  I was fearful.  All I could do was wait to hear from the other two schools.  I was also waitlisted by the fourth school I heard from.  All I can say is trust that God has a plan for you.

I was accepted by the second school I heard from; however, it was my last choice on my list of school preferences.  This particular school needed a deposit within a month’s time of acceptance (basically by mid-January).  Unfortunately, I would not hear from the other two schools until AT LEAST early/mid February.  I weighed my options, wasn’t willing to take a risk, and decided to pay the deposit even before hearing from the final two schools.  So, I bit the bullet and sent in a very pricey deposit.

Deposits might be one of many challenges you’ll face during the application process.  All schools have different timelines.  Make sure you have money saved away to pay these deposits.  I erred on the side of caution by putting a deposit down on a school I wasn’t fully interested in attending.  I wanted a Plan B in place in case Plan A didn’t work.

Step 8 (varies by school/individual):  Interview

A few weeks after sending in a deposit, I heard from my top choice school who offered an interview – the final step in their application process.  My interview was scheduled for mid/late February.  They sent a webinar we were required to watch leading up to the interview day.  This explained everything we needed to know for the interview itself.

I spent the week leading up to the interview preparing.  This entailed reviewing notes on the observation hours I had completed and being mindful of my decision to apply to grad school in the first place.

Leading up to my interview I spent a lot of time writing.  I wrote about why I wanted to become an OT, what I learned about the OT profession through research and observation, what I admired about the OTs I observed, what I learned from the OTs I observed, and what drove me to seek this particular profession.  It was a mental refresher for me to visualize myself learning more and more about this career path.

Pick out a professional outfit, know where to meet for the interview process, what time to arrive, and what to expect during the final stage of the application process.  Take notes, plan ahead, arrive early, and remember to breathe.

For my personal interview experience, we had a group meeting with faculty who presented an overview of the program, completed a timed essay section that tested our ability to think on the spot, and had an individual interview with two faculty members.

Be human during the interview.  Talk with understanding, speak with confidence, listen attentively, and answer every question with your heart.  Don’t go into the interview with memorized answers that make you sound like a robot.  The interviewers are humans that want to speak with a human.  Always arrive to the interview with questions for the faculty and before departing thank them for their time.  Remember….be human.

Step 8: the end of the application process

There isn’t usually anything to do after the interview.  The interview is the pinnacle.  Waiting to hear back from schools can be painstakingly slow.  I assure you that they will contact you when everything has been reviewed.  When you hear back from a school after an interview, follow step 6 or 7.

Be excited for the schools that have offered you a spot in their competitive program.  Don’t be afraid to brag about it and be excited about it!  Call friends and family about it!  Celebrate it.

The application process is just the beginning.  It is lengthy.  It will test your patience and determination.  It will force you to face your weakness.  However, it will also force you to display your strengths.

Work hard for what you want in life.  Be passionate about things that give you hope for your future.  Work persistently and with determination towards the things that give you purpose.  Be mindful and grateful always for the opportunity for learning.

If you can get through the application process, you’re on a path to better things.

2017 in review

2017 in review

2017 is coming to a close and I’m sitting here trying to figure out how this year went by so fast, how I even survived this year to begin with, and how much I am looking forward to 2018.  2017 has been a year of many things: tumultuous changes, traveling, great trail racing, new ambitions, and faith in God’s plan.  There’s been a lot of good in 2017 and a lot of what-is-going-on bad.  2017 started off decent, went through a wild spiral from March until August, and finished….decent. I’ve cried a lot this year and I’ve been stressed a lot this year, but through it all I’ve grown a lot as a person this year.  Let’s review.

Josh & I started 2017 off with a run at Alapocas State Park.  It was a pleasant day and I remember seeing some people rock climbing.

I became a proud 2017 Altra Ambassador and I’ve done everything I can to promote the perfection of the zero drop and wide toe box that Altra’s offer.

It snowed a decent amount at the beginning of January so Gwin and I did a lot of off-leash snow running together.  She loves the snow and I love seeing her leap through the snow so excited!

We hosted a surprise 50th birthday party for my mom in January (her birthday is in April).  Family & friends brought over balloons that reminded her she was turning 50 soon.

I started training for the Hyner 25k on January 22nd.  I needed to do a lot of hill repeats to prepare so Josh and I did nighttime repeats at Brandywine (our go-to place for elevation).  One night in the beginning of February the weather gods gifted us with shorts weather which made hill repeats slightly more enjoyable.

My brother left for Air Force Basic Training (BMT) the day before Valentine’s Day.  We went out to dinner at The Cheesecake Factory then we went to PetSmart so he could buy an I’m-leaving-you gift for Gwin.  He shipped out to San Antonio, Texas on February 14th.

I won a $25 gift certificate to Starbucks (note: I hate Starbucks) by reaching the most elevation logged on a treadmill within a 5 minute time period (note: I hate treadmills).

I began hating my job more and more.  I was working 4:45 AM shifts which was destroying my social life, causing me excessive anxiety & stress, and making me a miserable person.

On February 27th, Angela & I set out on a 3-day road trip from NJ to Colorado.  We vowed to run one mile in every state we drove through.  We ran 1 mile in my hometown in NJ.  We parked behind a McDonald’s and ran 1 mile in Milesburg, Pennsylvania along a farm road.  We stopped at a rest stop in Middleburg, Ohio and ran 1 mile around the rest stop.  We nearly missed our chance to run in Indiana so we made an impromptu stop at Indiana University Northwest.  In Marseilles, Illinois we parked at a gas station and ran 1 mile through a farmer’s field and on a road where people had strange address numbers.  We parked at a church and ran 1 mile on a dirt road in Earlham, Iowa.  Did you know that Iowa is known as the state with “fields of opportunities“?  We ran 1 mile at sunrise in North Platte, Nebraska before we left the La Quinta we stayed at.  My first ever Colorado run was in Frisco, Colorado which officially completed our goal of running at least one mile in every state we drove in.  Take a moment to watch my GoPro documentary of the entire road trip here!

17016060_10209002990897481_271296056240329056_o
Frisco, CO – 9,097″

What did I learn from this roadtrip?  One: switching between 3 time zones within a three day time span is very confusing.  Two: the route from New Jersey to Colorado involves an EXCESSIVE amount of fields.  The landscape doesn’t change too much once you leave the mountainous part of Pennsylvania.  The mountains of Colorado were the best sight in the world after 2.5 days of fields (plus their natural beauty of course).  Three: our country is HUGE!  There’s so much to see, so much to explore, so much to experience!  Four: Colorado is BEAUTIFUL!  I loved Frisco, I loved passing through mountain towns, and I loved Angela’s hometown (even the sloppy mess of the Colorow Trail).

I loved Colorado so much that Colorado didn’t want me to leave.  I was about 15 minutes away from missing my flight from Denver to Philly thanks to a worrisome cop and Denver rush hour.  This was the first of several stressful travel experiences of 2017.  I sat on the plane facing the mountainous landscape (I was at a window seat).  I didn’t want to leave. I didn’t want to return to my stressful, crappy job.  I yearned to stay in the serenity of the mountains.  Ever since that plane took off, I’ve wanted to go back.  In 2018, I will.

I transitioned from the Altra Torins to the Altra Escalantes.  I felt like I was flying in my new purple Escalantes!

At the beginning of March, I started training my first at-home personal training client.

My first race of 2017 was the Xterra Brandywine 12k.  It was 23 degrees at the start of the race and I was feeling sick to my stomach.  I finished as the 2nd overall female.  Josh wrapped me in a blanket and I was walking around as if I was a brittle icicle.  It was so cold that their computers malfunctioned so they couldn’t give out awards.  They promised to mail us our awards.  I went home and slept for a few hours underneath blankets.  They mailed me my award a few weeks later.

I wrote a lot of snail mail to Angela, my brother at BMT, and other airmen who were also at BMT with him.

On the 1st day of spring, Josh & I got free water ice from Rita’s Water Ice.

Josh made me a homemade heart-shaped cookie cake on my birthday.  It was delicious!

I turned 23.  Yay.

I experienced some serious mountain withdrawal.

On April 5th, my family and I travelled to San Antonio, Texas for Michael’s BMT graduation.  It would be the first time we would get to see him since February 13th.  Our flight arrived late to Dallas so we missed our connecting flight.  Round two of 2017 travel stress began.  The airline offered us tickets on another flight but when the plane arrived, there was no pilot scheduled to fly the plane.  We were stuck in Dallas for a few hours at 11 PM.  After a 45 minute flight from Dallas to San Antonio (note: the flight was shorter than the time we spent waiting for a pilot to arrive…), we arrived to our destination city around 1 or 2 AM.  We struggled to figure out how to get our rental car because all the rental car companies were closed.  We finally arrived to our hotel just in time to get 3 hours of sleep.

On April 6th, I started the morning by eating a waffle shaped like Texas at 5 o’clock in the morning. By 6 AM, I stepped foot onto Lackland AFB (the 1st AFB I’ve ever been on).  We attended the Airman’s Run and Airman’s Coin Ceremony – both of which were probably the most “I’m proud to be an American” moments I’ve ever witnessed.  Michael got base liberty so we got to explore the base and see where he’s been living for 7.5 weeks.

17835035_10209353108490202_3997332063762378626_o
Lackland AFB

On April 7th,  Michael graduated from BMT.  We celebrated with town pass by visiting the Alamo, the Tower of the Americas, and attending a San Antonio Rampage AHL hockey game.  I can officially say I’ve been to a hockey game in Texas now.  I had pizza for dinner the 3rd night in a row.

On April 8th, I ran 3.5 miles in San Antonio with my dad.  The part of San Antonio we ran through was sketchy.  We also saw a few chihuahuas running along the road.  I cannot make these things up.  That day we went to USO to play games and eat lunch.  We also explored River Walk some more.  We went to Dave & Buster’s.  For food, if you’re ever in San Antonio, River Walk is THEE place to visit for food.  There is a lot of variety and authentic food for every desire!  I was determined to eat guacamole while I was in Texas and I finally got some at dinner!

We left to return to NJ on April 9th after our goodbyes.  Highways in Texas are confusing so we got lost driving to return our rental car.  We had a connecting flight home but we didn’t miss our connecting flight this time.  I returned home happy for my brother and determined to do something better with my future.  Seeing all the airmen dedicated to our country made me realize that I need to do something good for the world too.  I needed to do something good for me.

My job continued to cause me an immeasurable amount of stress, anxiety, and misery.  My boss wasn’t listening to my concerns and my stress was causing me sleep disturbances and problematic fatigue.  I yearned for change but felt stuck.

18118415_10209508151806188_4975750833162094288_n
the finish of Hyner 25k

After 3 months of hard training, Hyner 25k arrived.  Josh and I drove my brother’s truck to the mountains because we trusted the reliability of his truck.  We slept in a tent at the base of Humble Hill just like we did in 2016.  I finished the 25k in 3:54:16.  All race details can be found here.

After Hyner, I went through a running hiatus.  My legs were exhausted and my motivation to train was low.  I was feeling physically tired and mentally exhausted.

I started riding my bike more which took the pounding off of my legs while still maintaining my cardio.

I explored many new places with Jess (Josh’s twin) including Menantico Ponds and parts of the Pine Barrens.

I started mountain biking again.

I began trusting the advice of my closest friends and family members who did everything in their power to look out for my well-being when all I could see was a tunnel of misery.

So…..I decided I wanted to become an occupational therapist.

I officially resigned from my job.  Despite my worries about unemployment, my stress levels decreased significantly.  I was focused on my goals of applying for and eventually attending grad school to become an occupational therapist.  I was ready to leave behind what mental health effects that job caused me.  I was ready to set forth on my new ambitions.

I started training three new clients bringing my client count up to four!

I attended my first ever wine festival with Josh and tasted about 50+ different wines.

I started volunteer coaching at youth track again.  I also volunteered with NJ NICA at several NICA races as a course marshall.

My dogs became more and more adorable when they slept.

I became obsessed with watching the sunset along the river.

Josh & I built a garden.  I bought us soil and the guy gave us “special dirt” claiming it was the best dirt around.   We grew tomatoes, green bell peppers, long hots, jalapeños, and cucumbers.  Our summer salads were fresh and delicious!

I started my observation hours for grad school applications.  I observed 6-7 different OTs in multiple settings.  Each OT left a lasting impression on me and made me realize that my ambition to become an OT was the right choice for me.

I learned how to change a flat tire on a bicycle.

On June 11th, Josh & I completed our first ever mountain bike race (Ramsey’s Revenge) at Brandywine.  I did not finish last like I had anticipated.  This would be my first of three mountain bike races in 2017.

I completed my 2nd ever mountain bike race 6 days after Ramsey’s Revenge.  I got frustrated at a 65 year old man for causing me to fall.  I watched my mom complete her first ever mountain bike race.

Sneakers & Spokes hosted a vintage bike ride/throwback run to the local ice cream stand.  I wore my cross country shorts from 2012 and a sweatband.

I downloaded Strava and claimed some QOM’s.

Screenshot_20170705-205756.png
flying at the Pitman 4 Miler

I ran the Pitman 4 Miler.  I did not PR, but I wasn’t actually trying to PR.  I forget my time.  I remember that I enjoyed it because I didn’t go out too fast for the first mile.  I also wore my Altra Escalantes.

I missed Colorado and I missed Angela a lot.

On July 8th, I started training for my 3rd and final race of 2017 – Green Monster 50k.

Josh & I attended my friend’s wedding in Mifflinburg, PA.  This was 2017’s travel stress moment #3.  Let’s just say this… it was a really long drive to Mifflinburg.  We camped in our tent after the wedding.  The next day we stopped in Duncannon on our way home to hike on the AT.  It was refreshing to stand on a vista again.

I began helping out at Sneakers & Spokes more frequently.

Wanting less stack height, I made the transition from Altra Lone Peaks to Altra Superiors.  I began to love having more ground feel in the Superiors.  The Superiors are now my go-to trail running shoe.

Josh & I attended our first concert together – Philip Philips & The Goo Goo Dolls!  It was a perfect summer night with great music and good company (as always!)

About one week later, my mom & I went to a John Mayer concert.  We made it into the venue with minutes to spare before a huge summer storm rolled through.  I’ve lost count but I believe this was the 6th time I saw John Mayer.  He performed fantastically!

I completed my 3rd and final mountain bike race of 2017 at Fair Hills.  I didn’t come in last place but a lot of young kids passed me.  I have no shame and I’m proud of myself for stepping outside of my comfort zone to even try mountain bike racing this year!

I attempted to train for my 50k with hiking poles.  This lasted about three long runs but eventually I opted to leave them behind so that I could fuel properly and depend on my legs for power.

I completed and submitted my grad school applications.  Application stress was over but now acceptance stress loomed over my head.

The country went crazy about the eclipse.  I wore homemade eclipse glasses that my dad made so I could also stare at the sun.

My family & Josh & I biked on the Michael Castle Trail on a lovely late-August day.  Then we ate at Grain H2O.  Yum!

I got a job as an assistant cross country coach at the community college I once ran for.  It’s weird how things came full circle.

I finalized a name & logo for my health coaching/running coach services.  I called it Better Strides Fitness and officially made the logo.  I created an Instagram, Facebook page, and Twitter for Better Strides Fitness too!

I was a participant in a 9/11 memorial run.   That was another patriotic moment of 2017.

I got stung by a bee on the back of my ankle during a long run with the women’s cross country team.  It itched for days!

Family visited us from California.  We talked about the Philadelphia Eagles a lot.  It was a pleasant morning.

I continued to crave returning to the mountains.

21743577_10210698972735967_5454142032683498224_o.jpg
Oktoberfest in Delaware

Josh & I attended Oktoberfest for the 2nd year in a row.

I worried a lot about getting accepted to grad school.

2017 travel stress moment #4:  driving to Wellsboro, PA for my 50k race.  Josh & I didn’t leave for Wellsboro until about 4:30 PM. It was a 5 hour drive to our campsite at Leonard Harrison State Park.  Once off the highway, we had to start driving on winding, pitch dark, mountainous roads.  It was terrifying, but we made it.

I sprinted down a mountain and ended up finishing Green Monster 50k in 7:58.  I achieved my goal of running under 8 hours.  I finished in the top 10 female finishers.  Three months of training were once again successful.  Check out the race recap here!

The night after my race we slept in our tent while a tropical storm passed over the mountain.  The next morning we stood at the top of the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon and took a picture in the rain.

22291497_10210866842732612_8359456544808456133_o (1)
PA Grand Canyon

Josh & I dressed up as lumberjacks and won a Halloween costume contest.  This was our 1st costume contest we ever entered together.  We won a gift certificate to a local pizza shop.

I started working with two new health coaching clients – one of which is now 82 years old!  I realized how much I love helping others work towards their goals.  Helping others is my true passion in life and I can’t wait to see what the future holds.

I got more and more excited about watching the Philadelphia Eagles games with Josh & I even learned the chant!  Fly, Eagles, Fly!

After districts in Rhode Island, the women’s cross country team won Regionals in Delaware.  I was a proud coach!

I got accepted to one of the grad schools I applied to.  A weight was lifted off my shoulders.  I am still waiting to hear back from two more schools (one of which is my first choice) but I am relieved and EXCITED knowing that I have the opportunity to begin my education to become an OT.

Gwin got bit by a dog on a 1.5 mile run we went on together.  This was an extremely stressful afternoon for me because I felt guilty she got bit.  We took her to the vet who assured us she would be ok.  Gwin wasn’t allowed to run with me for 1-2 weeks which made me sad.  I carry my pepper spray with me on every run we go on together now.

The cross country team traveled to Massachusetts for Nationals.  We played Cards Against Humanity for hours and came home with two new NJCAA All-Americans.  My first season as a cross country season had come to an end and I was proud of how the team had improved over the course of the season.  The season was nothing like I expected it to be but also everything that I knew I signed up to experience – the highs, the lows, and everything in between!

I got a new job working retail.  I HATE working retail but I needed a source of income to start saving up for grad school.  I remind myself daily that this job is temporary.  I remind myself daily that this is a necessary step in reaching my goal of becoming an OT.  Retail is not ideal.  Retail is not what I went to school for.  Retail is not somewhere I want to stay for longer than I need to.  This job is temporary aid in my ambition to achieve a bigger goal, a more meaningful future, & a lifelong career.

I celebrated my four year anniversary of vegetarianism.

I worked with Sparkly Soul at the Philadelphia Marathon Weekend expo.  It was a fun (and exhausting) two days but I came home with a Thanksgiving Sparkly Soul and Christmas Sparkly Soul so I was excited!

All of my clients ran PRs at their races and accomplished their goals.  I was once again a very proud coach!

I worked Thanksgiving night and I was very miserable.

My family hosted the annual Thanksgiving weekend nighttime trail run.

Josh & I built a snowman.  We had a perfect snow weekend that included homemade crockpot vegetarian chili, hot chocolate from the local coffee/donut shop, a snow run, a late night walk around town to look at Christmas lights, and a Christmas movie!

Two of my clients gifted Josh & I tickets to a Flyers game in club box seats.  I’ve never sat in club box seats before and I felt like I was being spoiled!  I had the biggest slice of pizza I’ve ever consumed in my life and the most expensive glass of overpriced wine.  Regardless, between the luxury of the club box and the Flyers winning the game, it was a perfect date night for Josh and I!

Angela came back to NJ!  We went for a 2 mile run to celebrate our reunion!  It was FANTASTIC!

On Christmas Eve, I went for a run with Gwin down our local trail.  I attached two bells to her collar so she sounded festive running down the trail.  I wore a Santa hat.  We would’ve easily won an award for being most festive on the trail if there had been a contest.

Holiday festivities were fun!  I was grateful, happy, and amazed of how much love there is in my life.

I began feeling excited for what 2018 has in store for me, for my family, and for my friends.  There’s a lot to look forward to!

Running Stats of 2017:

  • Total Miles:  1,505.0 miles
  • Highest monthly mileage: September (189.2 miles)
  • Three trail races – Brandywine 12k, Hyner 25k, Green Monster 50k
  • One road race – Pitman 4 Miler
  • Shoes worn:  Altra Torins, Altra Escalantes, Altra Lone Peaks, Altra Superiors
  • States I ran in (13 total) – New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Colorado, Texas, Rhode Island, Massachusetts

Biking Stats of 2017:

  • Total Miles:  1,103.4 miles
  • Highest monthly mileage: June (262 miles)
  • June, July, August – three consecutive months with 200+ miles
  • Total Road Bike Miles: 767.1 miles
  • Total Mountain Bike Miles:  336.3 miles
  • 3 races – Ramsey’s Revenge, The Challenger, Big Elk

After proofreading this blog post, I’ve come to realize that it lacks flow; however, this year hasn’t flowed smoothly either.  It’s been a challenging year for many reasons.  Both good and bad changes have tested me.  Running has tested me.  My body has felt exhilaration, exhaustion, and adrenaline throughout the year.  I’ve found enjoyment out of cycling and seeking new QOMs.  I’ve established a new goal for my future that will surely challenge me in new ways in 2018.

I’ve become a more resilient woman who learned how to stick up for herself.  I’ve become a more determined individual who is focused on goals for a better future.  I’ve become a more experienced trail runner who learned to push beyond comfort zones, to believe in herself, to race towards any finish line with a determined heart.

This 3700 word blog post doesn’t justify all the memories, experiences, and moments of the year but it does put it into words to reflect on in later years.

2017, it’s been a year.

2018, I’m ready.

22449516_10210871685813686_310653901_o

Mini Recap of Recent Events:

Mini Recap of Recent Events:

I have decided to make a quick (and probably not-so-short) recap of recent events since I haven’t blogged in a really long time.  Life has been crazy hectic these last few weeks so I haven’t had the time or enough brain-power to compose some sort of logical writing – so here goes nothing!

A few weekends ago I got to visit my friend, Sarah, and tour her town and go to Dorney Park for a day.  It took me almost an hour longer than it should have to get to her house because there was so much weekend traffic, but I got there eventually and that’s all that really matters!  We walked around her town and got a delicious milkshake from her favorite icecream stand.  The next day we went to Dorney Park, which was EXTREMELY crowded considering it was a beautiful Saturday.  We stood in lines a lot but we made the most of it and entertained each other.  This weekend was the perfect mini vacation I needed and I’m so glad I got to visit her for a few days before we went back to school.

I finished working for the summer as well so now I can enjoy the last few weeks before I return to school without the stress of work.  That same day I also got to catch up with two of my favorite people in the whole wide world at YOGO and just gossip.  It was perfect.

I also took a 5 day vacation in San Diego to visit family.  My brother and I boarded our first ever plane that was west-coast bound.  The plane ride was almost 6 hours long but we occupied ourselves with music, movies, and a book.  We spent a lot of time touring San Diego with our cousin who showed us all the local beaches and downtown restaurants. My brother and I also went on a beautiful hike in the mountains on the outskirts of the city.  The views were breathtaking and I was amazed by the fact that I spent the morning on the beach and the afternoon in the mountains.  It was great!

We also took a trip to LA for a day and stopped at Venice Beach and Santa Monica.  Both were unique beaches that attracted many different crowds.  We also took a walk on Hollywood Blvd.  Unfortunately, I found Hollywood to be somewhat overrated.  They make it seem a lot more majestic and appealing on TV!  Los Angeles was great for a day trip but there would be no reason to spend more than a day in this west-coast city.

After returning back to the east coast, I was instantly thrown back in to the chaos of the summer.  My dad and brother are working on opening their own business which has caused a lot of stress and extra work for all of my family members.  We have been working through the process together and staying positive that everything will work out.  We were able to officially make a Facebook page for the business and the overwhelming amount of support from friends and family members just reassured us that this business will be a success.  We are so blessed to be surrounded by wonderful people near and far who are supporting our next adventure.

This weekend I did some back-to-school shopping and bought a lot of necessary things for my apartment this semester. I also went to Coldstone for icecream and went for a wonderful 6 mile run with one of my favorite running buddies.  Today I concluded my weekend with another 6.5 mile run which was a success.  I was able to exert some built up energy and stress during my run which led to the last two miles of my run to be faster-than-expected.

Recently, I’ve been also watching old seasons of The Amazing Race which has only fueled by addiction to the show.  I am intrigued by all the teams and even though I have watched the seasons before, I am still surprised by the winner during the final leg because I don’t remember who won each season (side note: I’ve been watching seasons from about 8 years ago so unfortunately my memory has failed me on the drama of each season).  I’ve also been watching YouTube clips of audition videos, previous race “dramas”, and brainstorming ideas for when I apply with my dad.  We plan on applying this week and I couldn’t be more anxious to show CBS what we have in store for them.

All in all, these last few weeks have been adventurous, hectic, stressful, and wonderful.  The last few weeks of summer will be the same.  It is almost that time when we have to say “see ya soon” to the people we love the most.  A new semester is about to start.  New adventures are about to begin.  I hope these last few weeks don’t go by too fast but I plan on making the most of them by spending time with the people who make my life complete….you know who you are.