When I came to Lehigh, it was the first time in my life I was not part of a sports team.
I spent my childhood rushing from soccer practices to softball games and stopping at Burger King for a quick bite to eat in between. My weekends were filled with traveling to softball and volleyball tournaments all along the east coast.
I was constantly busy competing, and I loved it.
When the time came to look at colleges, I decided I wanted to focus on my academics. Wherever I went, I would not be playing a sport, and I was okay with that.
I adjusted surprisingly well to college life: I made great friends, performed well academically and got involved in The Brown and White.
But something was missing.
I missed the connection I had with my teammates. I missed having practices to go to every day. I missed being part of a sports team.
I turned to different outlets in an attempt to fill this void, including joining a sorority, but I still wasn’t able to satisfy the competition and activity I craved.
That is when I discovered running.
In November of my freshman year, my mom decided to sign us up for our town’s annual 5K Turkey Trot race on Thanksgiving.
I came into the race with no preparation — I had not been active in over two months.
My only goal was to finish. While I ended up crossing the finish line, my 55-year-old mother beat me to it.
This was a wake-up call.
After this experience, I started going to Taylor Gym because I knew I had to get my body moving somehow. Going down to the weights section was my worst nightmare, so I started by incline walking on the treadmill.
This walking quickly turned into running. I would run a few miles here and there and call it a day.
As time went on, the running got easier, and I started looking forward to my daily runs. Three miles quickly turned into five, and before I knew it, I was consistently running over six miles without stopping.
Never in my life did I think I would look forward to running, and now it is my favorite part of every day.
Sometimes my friends think I’m crazy, but my day is not the same if I do not get my run in. It does not matter what the circumstances are, I will make time in my day for a quick run.
While I first got into running for my physical health, it quickly turned into an activity that nurtures my mental health.
It is vital for college students to take time during their busy schedules to do something that makes them feel good. Whether it is seeing friends, spending time outside or running, finding outlets to clear your head is beneficial for a student’s mental well-being.
The hour I spend on the treadmill every day is sacred. It gives me time to move, think and just take a breath.
As a college student with two roommates, alone time is hard to come by. Running gives me the opportunity to spend an hour by myself thinking with no distractions.
Sometimes I get so deep in thought I forget I’m running, and before I know it, I have gone six miles already.
I have come up with some of my best ideas, realizations and resolutions while on the treadmill, including what to write this edit desk about.
In addition to keeping me in touch with my mental health, running has satisfied my urge for competition. Except now, the competition is only with me.
There is nothing like the feeling of accomplishment after running a far distance or hitting a new record time.
I could not imagine my life without running. Every day, a few miles later, when I step off the treadmill, I know I’m better for it. I have a faster time and clearer mind to prove it.