7 THINGS

Happy Monday! It was a crazy fun-filled weekend (with not much running!) I kicked off Friday with a 9.1 mile run & strength 

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Came home to this view and many distractions while trying to study

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Went out for a hike to Arethusa Falls Friday afternoon! 

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Saturday morning coffee views 😍 

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Went with my mom to Sebago Brewing Company to pick up her Triathlon Bib Saturday afternoon! Their Raspberry beer was 👌🏻 

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Also they had amazing pizza. Definitely need to get the loaded mashed potato one next time!  

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Sunday afternoon studying and listening to the rain on the tin roof! 

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What It's Really Like Leaving Your Full Time, Salaried Job To Go Back To School

SO I’ve been ‘back to school’ for a little over a month now. I left my full-time, salaried job at the end of April and began classes full-time at the beginning of May. I also moved across the country from Colorado back to my home state, Maine into our family home (my great-grandfather built it)! Let me just start by saying that NONE of this has been ‘easy’ and I really will NOT sugar-coat it because honestly I feel like everyone that I’ve ever heard of that has made any of these decisions just glaze over all the crappy-parts to get to the happy-parts. If you’re looking for that then, maybe this isn’t the post for you because it’s about to get really honest. Before we get to all the tough-parts, here’s what I’m now seeing as my view most mornings when I study from home (this is nice, see!):

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I didn’t decide to change careers overnight.

It’s been a LONG journey to get me to this point. I applied to Med School after receiving my undergraduate degree and have always been extremely passionate about working in the healthcare field. I’ve previously worked as an Orthodontic Assistant and went to school in (original hopes) of becoming a Physical Therapist. I won’t go into all of the details, but short story- none of it panned out. I also found a real passion for youth athletic programming and knew that a boost in my GPA would help my still dreams of going back to school to get my DPT or possibly DO degree, so I got my MBA in Sports & Recreation Management. I LOVED my schoolwork and learned so much. I’m 100% sure I’ll use it down the road in one way or another and it was also really beneficial when I was still running the Figure Skating program in Steamboat, CO.

SO, I guess long-story short, I started to dream of maybe going into Nursing was the perfect fit for me after I had a really really great experience with a Nurse Practitioner. She was AMAZING. After this encounter, I started thinking that I hadn’t had a BAD experience with any nurse and all of them were outdoorsy and had relatively flexible schedules and were obviously highly intelligent and had job security and I got along with any nurse that I met. I mulled this profession over for several years. I didn’t just want to apply to a program (especially now with all of those lovely student loans I have) if I wasn’t really sure this was for me. SO I finally decided to apply.

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But, Why Move Very Far Away?

When I was looking to apply, honestly- Maine was really the only program that I even looked at (or even applied to!). Alex and I had been talking about ending up back in New England at some point (our entire family is in ME/VT/MA), so it just made sense (plus not having to pay rent was key if I was planning to go back to school). University of Southern Maine has an EXCELLENT nursing program, so I knew that if I got in I had to go. This was probably one of the easiest decisions throughout this journey.

How are you paying for all this?

Yes, I’m going to talk about money because honestly I don’t think most people DO. I always wonder how people go back to school after having all of these bills and remain unmarried and how do they afford it all?!? SO I’m kinda flying-by-the-seat-of-my-pants with this one. I was able to save up some money to float me along for the Summer and as my classes wind down, I’ll be taking on a part-time job to pay for my bills and gas and food. I’m also currently teaching figure skating lessons, which helps. Honestly- this is one of the most stressful things surrounding going back to school. It’s so much easier when you’re younger (all around!), but I’m 29 and certainly no longer ‘one of the young ones’ in my class! I’m taking as little additional student loans as I can and hoping for a few scholarships that I’ve applied to. It’s helpful that this program is one year and then I’ll be able to apply to get my licensure. I wouldn’t go without saying that Alex and my mom have been super helpful with financial extras as well. I couldn’t continue to reach for my dreams without them!

Some things that I’ve found useful when cutting back on money:

  • Packing lunches each day

  • Limiting the ‘extras’ (Starbucks/Dunkin Donuts/ Purchasing less organic foods/ etc.)

  • Evaluated any extra bills I have (reduced car insurance/ limiting electric bills etc.)

  • Selling items that I no longer use (this was really easy since I had so many extra clothes still left in Maine that I no longer wanted/needed!)

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So, Was It Scary?

Oh yeah, every step that I took to get to the first day of classes, first exam, first study-session, first round of books purchased was REALLY challenging and SCARY. If I let myself get easily deterred, then none of this would have happened. There were so many roadblocks, set-backs, wrong-turns, but I just keep moving along. Some days were frustrating, everything costs ten times more than what you anticipate, and I’ve had quite a few meltdowns along the way. Leaving a job (albeight one that I really didn’t love) that gave me security (although no health insurance) was HARD.

Leaving Steamboat was also really really hard. I had a lot of anxiety around the entire trip and continually questioned whether I was making the right decision. If it was meant to be, wouldn’t it feel easier? HOWEVER most things that are the most rewarding are really challenging and will test you (hello, take marathons or your first race as an example!). I didn’t get to say goodbye to a lot of people and left it a secret to most because Alex still hadn’t told most of his friends (and he had lived there twice as long as I had), so I kept it mainly to myself which also made it a lot harder when the day finally came to drive away. I also just really hate goodbyes, so yeah.

6 Weeks In

I’m 6 weeks in and can honestly say I am LOVING it. Everything I’m learning is giving me a sign that I have FINALLY found the career for me. I wake up in the morning really excited about what I’m going to learn today, how I can apply it to my future career as a nurse (and hopefully an NP one day!), and just general happiness - something that I had been missing for a really long time. School-wise it’s been great. I love studying and am absolutely a life-long learner, so even though there is still anxiety surrounding exams - it’s a new, fun kinda learning that I never had during my first undergraduate degree.

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Relationship-wise it’s been hard. Alex and I are still figuring out our new dynamics - we’re in a new place, he’s working from home, I’m gone most days for 12+ hours, and money is obviously tighter than it has been. There’s been some bumps in the road and I wish I could say that we’ve been planning our Wedding or it’s already planned, but honestly that’s taken the back-burner and it just sucks (no sugar-coating here!). I’m remaining patient and optimistic and looking toward the future where it looks a lot brighter over there.

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Any questions you have for me regarding this area?

Ever quit a secure-job for something unsecure? How’d it go? Any tips for me?

Anyone a nurse out there? Tell me more about your job!!

Checking In: Keeping Track of My Mileage, Currently Obsessed Over, This Was Nice

HI! I’m HERE! Things have finally FINALLY settled down a bit, but WOW am I surprised at how crazy-busy life has been lately. Between moving things in, having our first guests visit (Alex’s parents), two exams in one week, and running less-than-ever, I have really had NO free time. Any free time that I have had, I’ve been trying to fit in a run or maybe maybe five spare minutes to read before falling asleep.

As I’m typing this, I was questioning whether I even wrote my 50 miler race recap. Oy. I’m tired. I did, however, run one of my fastest 5ks ever!

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We also made it on our first hike last weekend! Up Black Cap mountain and it was so nice. Hoping to get in another good hike this next weekend. I just really loving being in the mountains here whenever possible.

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I also did a WHOLE LOT of studying last week. Probably way more time than I should have, but I’ve been loving all of my classes lately!

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Gilmore Girls- always applicable in everyday life. Also, my view almost everyday:

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I’m hoping to do a full recap of how the first 6 weeks of Nursing School has gone- so look for that at the end of the week. I certainly won’t be holding anything back or sugar-coating it all (if you were wondering). I’ve also been obsessing over ice cream stands and twists in a cone again. Soooo good.

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I’ve also been skipping some runs lately. Don’t get me wrong- I LOVE to run, but I’m also really enjoying this new season in my life where I’m trying out other activities (hiking, cycling, strength training) and just generally enjoying the perks of not being in serious training mode. So, my sneakers may be in my car waiting for that run that I just never got to that day and I’m not worried.

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"Disclaimer: I received an Strava Summit Membership to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!"

Since I’ve basically put all of my personal life stuff on hold lately, I’m also REALLY thankful for Strava to keep track of my weekly mileage.

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Also, how cool is it that they partnered with my last race and the photos directly linked with my Strava account? I also really love how you can track so many activities (including YOGA!), it can keep track of your elevation gain (so awesome when you do races like Mt. Washington!), and get kudos from your friends after your activity (important when you run solo most of the time like me to still feel like you’re part of a community)!

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I will have my Mt. Washington Road Race recap up for you tomorrow (look at me all organized again!) and hopefully my nursing school first 6-weeks experience and what it’s been like to leave a full-time salaried job to go back to school on Friday.

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How do you keep track of your running mileage?

Favorite thing about Summer?

Ice cream- soft or hard serve?!

STILL HERE!

Hello! I’m still here and busier than ever. I’m currently relating my schoolwork to ‘triage’. I’m only focusing on the immediate tasks at hand because if I focus on the larger picture, then I get REAL overwhelmed. Going back to school is TOUGH as an adult. Studying for exams, so many readings, MATH again…it’s crazy. I had my first exam on Wednesday and I learned A LOT about what I need to focus on for the upcoming weeks and I’m already learning so much (benefits of being in an accelerated program like mine). So, most of my views lately have been something like this:

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Extra sugar, studying at 9pm at night (my usual bedtime), and something light like McDreamy-day Grey’s. Also Alex and Stella arrived here Wednesday afternoon (YAY), so on top of all of the studying and schoolwork and figuring out my finances and trying to assimilate to a new area, we’ve also been UNPACKING.

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We unpacked the kitchen and living room items yesterday so at least that’s done. Most of our clothes are still in suitcases, I’m still wearing clothes that were in this house when I went to HIGH SCHOOL, and we’re carrying 5+ bags of trash to the dump every trip. BUT we’re here, we’re so happy, and I’m just trying to really savor those moments of peacefulness/I don’t-need-to-do-anything-right-at-this-very-second moments <—- keeping me sane. OH! I also went on two runs this week. One on Wednesday morning along the Back Cove in Portland (ran from campus) and one this morning. Both easy 30 minutes with minimal hills and conservative paces. I’m just running when I can and when I want to and putting 0 pressure on myself <—- haven’t done THAT in a while!

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My hope is to still post 5 days a week (Monday-Friday), BUT until I get on a schedule and figure other life-things out I’m not so sure that’s realistic. SO hopefully I’ll be back here again on Monday, but if not I’ll be back real soon ; )

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-How do you ‘triage’ when life gets real crazy?

-Favorite Trader Joe’s sweet thing?!?