The Perks Of Graduating College As A Runner

How one woman made the transition from finals to real life with a little help from our favorite sport.

running friends

It’s been two months since I graduated from college. Throughout my senior year, I was so excited, as many graduating seniors are, for the next chapter of my life to begin. However, there were many post-grad growing pains I was not expecting that made the transition tougher than I anticipated. During all of these major changes, running stayed a constant for me. With so much changing around me, I knew running would be something that would always be mine. Some people have security blankets; us runners have our security running shoes. After a long run a couple of weeks ago, I realized running was helping me transition into post-grad life in ways I did not see before:

  1. Making new friends: Running helped me make my first group of friends after graduation. I joined a running and triathlon team in San Diego and meeting up with them 2-3 times a week provided friendly competition, camaraderie, and the support system I needed while everything around me was constantly changing.
  2. New running adventures: Now with vacation days ahead and no exams to study for on the weekends, I can look forward to run-cations or planning destination races throughout the year. I cannot wait to explore new cities and see how far my running shoes can take me.
  3. Opportunities to focus on my athletic goals: That race I couldn’t run because I had an exam the next day? That PR goal I couldn’t focus on because I had to split my time between studying, work, and clubs? Once I graduated, those races, those goals that I had to put off throughout college suddenly became more tangible and just like how acing a class was my priority back then, acing a race became the new priority.
  4. I can do hard things: When starting my new job felt impossible, I reminded myself how the first couple miles in a run are the hardest to get through or sometimes the entire run is not as great as you want it to be. But just like the tough first couples of miles or a bad run, a rough start at a new job or a bad day at work does not define you- it only makes you better going forward and reminds us we can all do hard things.
  5. It reaffirmed my resilience and confidence: Starting a new job, having your closest friends move away, and having new responsibilities post-graduation was really overwhelming to tackle all at once. My time on the road or the track reminded me that like training and racing, growing up does not easier for here on out, but we get stronger and tougher.