My Proudest Moment – August Blogging Challenge – Aug. 18th
My proudest moment has nothing to do with running. Or anything fitness related for that matter. My proudest moment happened on May 16th, 2004. On that day, I marched down the hill with 513 of my fellow college graduating class to our commencement ceremony. 515 degrees were awarded that day to the class of ’04. Nope, my math is right. There were only 514 members in my graduating class. One student walked away that day with not one, but two degrees. Not only that, but they were able to accomplish it in 4 years while working 20-30 hours a week, belonging to numerous clubs and student organizations, and surviving many intense games of beer pong. That student is your’s truly. Neither of those degrees was in underwater basket weaving in case you were wondering. Nope, I’m the proud owner of a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a Bachelor of Arts in Athletic Training. I was one course shy of a minor in chemistry as well (actually, I did take enough chemistry classes to minor, but had to use one of my biochem credits for my biology coursework). I am forever immortalized in the President’s commencement speech. As far as I know, no one since has been able to say that they’ve done the same.
I remember vividly my exit meeting with the registrar. I was curious as to how it would work at graduation if I was getting two diplomas. Would I have to walk twice or would they hand me both at the same time? He looked at me funny when I asked and said that I must be confused. You didn’t get two degrees for having a double major, just the one for whatever the higher degree was in. I’d done my research and read the student handbook. I’d been taking summer classes to get my general education requirements out of the way and had been maxing out on credits each semester to get everything done without having to come back for a 5th year. I had done the math and knew that I should have enough credits to be able to get a 2nd degree. He looked at my transcript, and the look on his face was priceless when he realized that I was right. I had somehow crammed 5 years into 4 and had met the requirements for dual degrees. I was the first student in recent history to do so.
While I was working towards these degrees, I was also working towards being able to take the Athletic Training Certification Exam. I’d taken it and passed a few weeks before graduation. A degree in Athletic Training would make my certification official. When I took the exam, there were two different routes you could take to qualify to sit for the exam. The first was to graduate from a school with an accredited curriculum with the required number of observation hours (they changed the requirements right after I applied for the exam so that this is now the only way to be eligible for the exam). The second was to go the internship route and take a certain number of required courses and have about double the observation hours as those going through an approved curriculum. This is the route I had to take since my school was in the accreditation process during my senior year (they did become accredited the summer after I left, so technically I also went through an accredited program). I had to have 1500 hours of working with the athletic training staff by the time I applied for the exam in December of my senior year. Or about 500 hours per year. When I left the program, I was the all time hours leader with about 2500. Or roughly 20-30 hours per week. I don’t want to even think of the number of miles that adds up to on a bus travelling with the different sports teams.
At the end of the ceremony, I found my advisor. There is a photo somewhere at my parent’s house of him jumping up and down with a diploma in each hand. Thank you Dr. Winters for surviving 4 years of me without having a mental breakdown. Thank you for also not questioning me too much when I said I would need blood and a hazmat suit for my senior research.
No wonder I spent most of my free time in the gym or out running.