Two years ago, I ran my first (and last) half-marathon. It was during my second semester of my final year at The College of New Jersey, when I was taking the minimum amount of credits that one could take while still being considered a full-time student. At that point in my life, I felt like I had enough time to effectively train and enjoy my final year of college at the same time.
Now, things are a little different. While I have become significantly better about balancing my free time with my school time (recently with a greater emphasis on the former), I do not think that I would be able to train for a marathon. Yet, in a lot of ways, I still feel like I am.
I have not been getting up at 5:30am to run 20 miles like some of my more athletically inclined friends have been; nor have I shelled out upwards of a hundred dollars to actually compete in a race. But for some reason, I cannot seem to shake the feeling that going through vet school has been a similar experience to running a marathon.
I truly love the vast majority of vet school, but there is no getting around the fact that sometimes you’re just tired. Midterms just ended mid-October for second-years at UPenn, and after roughly two weeks and five exams, all I wanted to do was go to bed. I didn’t of course, because I wanted to make up for the lost time when I was not able to hang out with friends. In the days after the brief reprieve from exams, I have been voluntarily tiring myself out with dinners, bars, conversations and lots of traveling back and forth to New Jersey, where I am originally from.
In the same way that my friends have signed up for a marathon, I too have subjected myself to a marathon. Just as my friends have chosen to spend their free time training, the four years I spend here in school are completely voluntarily, excessively expensive, and physically taxing- but I have loved it all the same.
It all comes down to this: the satisfaction I get after getting a good grade on a difficult exam is the same feeling I got after I finished my half-marathon two years ago. My legs just looked better then.