Today has been a very tiring day. I spent much of the day volunteering at an orientation on campus for new students, which meant being up and looking presentable much earlier than I’d like (getting up early isn’t an issue, but putting on clothes rarely happens before 8AM). But a funny thing happened: I actually had a good time.
I’ve had some fun this summer, but I’ve spent most of the last seven weeks isolating myself to work on dissertation, job applications, and to generally behave like a hermit. I struggle every summer when many of my friends (almost all of whom are also students) are out of town. Being broke doesn’t help, either. Next time you envy a graduate student for getting summers “off,” remember two things: 1) We are never really “off,” we’re always working on research, course planning, etc.; and 2) In addition to the fact that we’re still working, we also aren’t getting paid. Anyway, though, I saw some friends today that I hadn’t seen in months and met some new people, too. A lot of folks who haven’t seen me since May have been telling me how great I look… which is funny, because I lost most of my 42-pound weight loss during last school year. I guess it’s more noticeable when people haven’t seen you in a while.
Helping others today felt good, too. Which is lucky, because I’ve recently signed up for another volunteer opportunity. I’m going to be an assistant track coach for girls at a local school. I heard about this opportunity through a running store that I shop at, and it seemed like a good fit. I’ll be working with pre-teen girls who are just getting into the sport, and I attended my first training session last weekend. I hope that discovering running will be as enjoyable and confidence-building to them as it has been for me. As runners, we sometimes tend to be very solitary. We sometimes forget that there are always race organizers and volunteers and people maintaining our trails and an entire support system for us. I’m pleased to have found a way to give back to this community and to the sport that’s done so much for me over the years. I’m also happy that, even though summer is coming to an end, I have something to look forward to in the fall!