What I Lack in Talent…

I make up for in tenacity.  So, let me tell you a little bit about how that has worked for me.  Today I received this:

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But there’s a lot more to the story than what you’ve been able to follow over the last few months.  I first applied for a Navy psychology program when I applied to the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences (UHUHS) in 2008.  I wasn’t even asked to interview.  I spent the next year working with the program director to gain some experience in conducting literature reviews.  I took additional prerequisite coursework online over the next year while working on active duty and I completed an online GRE prep course and retook the GRE, raising my score by 80 points.  I reapplied to USUHS (and simultaneously to Regent University just in case) and I got an interview at both schools!  But… I was selected as the first alternate for USUHS.  I didn’t feel too terribly since they only take three Navy candidates a year but I was still pretty disappointed.  I was offered and accepted admission into Regent University.

Still determined to return to the Navy as a psychologist, I applied for the Navy Psychology internship program during my first year at Regent University.  At this point, I was rather confident that I would be accepted.  My advisor at Regent University is a retired Navy clinical psychologist and we was very confident in my application.  They only take five candidates a year for this program so, again, it was competitive.  And, again, I was selected as an alternate.  This time, I was devastated.  When I got the news, I had recently begun dating Justin and I remember crying into his t-shirt for about twenty minutes.  I had worked so hard and they just kept saying “no” when I KNEW that I would be an asset to the Navy!  At this point, I started to let go of the dream.  I believe that everything happens for a reason and I thought, “Well, maybe this isn’t God’s plan for me.”  I began to embrace the civilian identity and looked forward to a career as a civilian psychologist.

Initially, I didn’t plan on applying for the Navy Clinical Psychology Internship Program.  I had decided that this wasn’t the path for me.  Clearly, the Navy wasn’t interested.  But then… Justin decided that he really didn’t want to stay in the Navy long term.  And I started to feel the itch.  I kept trying to push it out of my mind but one day, I brought it up to Justin.  He was immediately on board with it.  He encouraged me to go for it and I began to realize that I had let myself feel a little bit defeated and that was influencing my view of Navy psychology.  So, I threw my hat in the ring. It was risky, emotionally, because the more involved I got in the process, the more disappointed I knew I would be if it didn’t work out this time.  When I went for my interview, I left feeling energized at the thought of becoming a Navy clinical psychologist.  I had given a lot of my energy to the process and all I could do from that point was wait for Match Day.

It REALLY hit me this morning (with happy tears and all) that what I have been working toward for six years has finally come to fruition.  I could have given up… I DID give up for a little while… but in the end, I refused to let previous failures define me.  I’m so thankful that I have such an amazing life partner to push me out of my comfort zone and keep me from wallowing in self-pity.  Now, Justin and I have this amazing (and scary) adventure that we will embark on, together.  I’m so excited to be going back on to active duty; it is an honor to be allowed to serve those who serve!  Don’t give up, my friends!  Stay strong, be tenacious!  Refuse to give in!

So, to end this (hopefully) motivational post:

Side note:  Back in the day when I ran with my iPod and Nike plus, this was my go-to motivational song.  All you gotta keep is strong…

 

 

Running with the Girls

I knew that there was a good chance this would be my last triathlon season (at least for a while) as a Virginia Beach native.  Because of that, I really wanted to make this season extra special and take steps to give back to the community that has given me so much support.

As you know, I have been volunteering with Girls on the Run for the last few years and it has been a humbling and inspiring experience.  One of the reasons that this program means so much to me is because it gives me the opportunity to show young girls what life CAN be like if you maintain a positive attitude and respect yourself and others.  This is significant because, for whatever reason, I didn’t learn how to do that when I was growing up.  Despite having a loving family and all of my material needs provided for, I remained a pessimistic little girl who did not particularly like herself.  I had difficulty recognizing my strengths and I grew into a young woman who had a low self-esteem and sought to improvement sense of self-worth through the reassurances of others.  I was driven to receive external confirmation of my worth, which meant that I was elated when I had a success and devastated when I had what I perceived to be a failure.

Girls on the Run is NOT just about running.  The program utilizes running as a metaphor for the many challenges that they will face in life.  Girls are taught basic coping skills and strategies for managing difficult social situations; these are things that I teach children in therapy and Girls on the Run is being proactive and teaching them these skills BEFORE they become psychologically distressed!  I truly believe in this program.  I have seen it work.  I have seen a young girl go from saying “I can’t!” and “I’m not as good as they are.” to say “I can!” and “I have different talents then they do.”  I wish that I had experienced that transformation earlier in life and, for that reason, I want to kick of my triathlon season by supporting this organization financially since I do not have the time in my schedule to serve as an assistant coach this season.  Monetary donations go toward providing materials for the lessons, scholarships for girls whose families could not otherwise afford the modest participation fee, and snacks for the girls throughout the season.  Please consider supporting me in this endeavor by donating even just a few dollars to the cause.  I will be raising money through early May when I kick of my season with the MonticelloMan Olympic distance triathlon on May 4th.

Please visit my fund raising site here:

https://www.raceplanner.com/donate/Help-Courtney-Support-Hampton-Roads-Girls-on-the-Run#.UwJ3bhcZEjQ.facebook

Thanks for following me through what is sure to be a very emotional triathlon season!

We planned, God laughed.

It’s been quite a while since I’ve been able to blog… and that’s because I’ve been rather busy living.  I think I mentioned this previously but I recently acquired a second job at an acute inpatient facility for children.  My role there is to assess the children as they come in to determine whether or not they need to be admitted, then make my recommendation to a psychiatrist who will make the final call.  I’m also the first clinical contact that the potential patient and their family might have with the facility so I’m there to help them feel comfortable about leaving their child with relative strangers for 5-10 days.  It’s very rewarding and it’s given me an opportunity to work with an inpatient population, which I have not yet been able to do in my graduate training.  It’s also very fast-paced and requires shift work to which I am unaccustomed.  I’ve spent the last few weeks trying to adjust to working occasional overnight shifts as well as evening shifts (which actually seem MORE difficult than overnight) that keep me up until after midnight.  On top of that, I have a heavy course load this semester and I’m still staying on top of my training.  I’ve had to learn to be very efficient in moving from one task/activity directly to the next and sometimes I goes days where the only “rest” I get is when I’m actually sleeping… but I love it (except when I am tired and cranky haha)!

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Multi-tasking while my husband was out of town last weekend, I ate while working on the statistics for my dissertation… and then I worked… and slept… and got up and trained and did stats and worked all over again the next day!

 

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While I was enjoying a dinner date with my dissertation, my husband was having dinner with world class athletes like “Rinny” Carfrae!

 

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But that’s okay because the next day, he did an awesome job of representing the Navy at the USATF XC National Championships in Boulder, CO!

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My husband was the only guy at the National Championships with fans like these! 😀  Our runner friend Krista (who relocated to the West Coast about a year ago) is on the left and my sister and her boyfriend are center and far right, respectively.  My sis lives in Boulder so it was great she and her bf, Matt, could be there to support!

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Luckily, my husband didn’t leave me entirely alone.  I had the excellent company of some gourmet chocolates in his absence.

I’ve been playing catch up this week after working three shifts last week plus working a few hours at my other part time job (therapy/psych testing).  My professors haven’t eased up any, either, seeing as how I have a take-home exam due next Tuesday and a tedious test on Monday evening.  And, even more importantly, this Friday is Match Day! MATCH DAY!  Let me tell you about Match Day…

So, you remember all of that interview traveling I did in January?  We’re going to see how it all works out on Friday morning. Our internship application process uses a match system.  We apply and interview where we are invited.  Once we interview, we rank the sites at which we interviewed and the sites rank the students who interviewed with them.  It all goes into a computer system and… wa’la!  It spits out a match.  For most applicants, this is a year-long commitment.  Because I have applied for two Navy internship sites as well as three civilian internship sites, it could be a 1 year OR a 4 year commitment for me.  Most likely, I will have to move from Virginia Beach but if I receive a military internship then my husband will get out of the Navy and move with me.  So, as you can see, there is a lot up in the air.  In some ways, this busy week has been an excellent distraction and, though I have some feelings of anxiety about this “match,” overall, I’m looking forward to Friday morning.  My closest (local) friends are coming over for breakfast (to include pancakes, french toast and mimosas) and my husband is taking the morning off of work so, really, I’m most nervous about getting our condo cleaned up enough to have people over for breakfast! haha  I’m actually feeling excited about Friday morning… I will finally KNOW!

I will definitely keep you all posted on the Match Day results the possibilities are:  San Diego Navy site, Bethesda, MD Navy site; Hampton (local), VA; West Palm Beach, FL; Columbia, SC.  And it will all come down to the email I receive from the Match system on Friday morning! EEK!

Despite the craziness of my schedule, I’ve still managed to stay on top of my training and nutrition (except for Justin’s chocolate sabotage) and I’m feeling very optimistic about the coming triathlon season.  I have an amazing husband, great friends and family and a career that I love!  I have running and triathlon and my awesome sponsors (Betty Designs, CycleOps, BedGear) and an awesome coach (Dai Roberts) so I know it will all work out, one way or another.  I was even able to enjoy a lovely walk at the local park with my mini family, yesterday, and I look forward to many more family walks regardless of where I end up!

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We enjoyed the improved weather together this week and I enjoyed wearing my custom made dragon hat by Ruth York. 😀

 

Stay tuned for news on where I will be living, working, training and embracing life next year!