A Healing Hiatus

IMG_0830 By: Anna Sobczyk

Exercise is my catharsis, and it takes something major to throw me off my routine. A year ago, that unexpected “something major” happened. I developed sesamoiditis, the inflammation around two tiny bones in the ball of the foot, and it caused severe pain when I ran. I stupidly kept running on it because I refused to accept the fact that pain resulting from overuse counted as an actual injury. I thought since nothing was physically broken or fractured, it would just gradually disappear. When I reached the point where I could no longer walk to and from class without pain, I knew I had to quit running.

I thought maybe I’d give it up for a couple weeks—a month at tops. Little did I know, it would be 10 months before I could run again. For someone who has run for years, it was like having a piece of me ripped away. In addition, I couldn’t play Ultimate Frisbee, and I drifted away from the team I’d been a part of since I was a freshmen.

On the bright side, not being able to run forced me to try things outside of my comfort zone since I wanted to stay active. I picked up weight lifting, which is something I used to vehemently hate but now love how much stronger it has made me feel. This term I dabbled in rock climbing, and I learned a lot from attending the Rec Center bouldering classes. I even joined the dodgeball club—a dangerous decision for someone with as little hand-eye coordination as myself, but it’s ended up being really fun.

I used to consider running my utmost prioritized form of exercise, but my injury and months of subsequent recovery forced me to commit myself to new things that are now just as important to me. Strangely enough, this injury gave me the time to discover I enjoy other activities and the confidence to pursue them.

The Self-Care Backlash

IMG_0830 By: Anna Sobczyk

Between classes, homework, jobs, and more, student life is busy. Not only is finding time for yourself (self-care) difficult, but it isn’t prioritized. Even though self-care is all over the media these days, actually implementing it can be received with scorn. I encountered this when I began to shift my personal schedule around to make time for myself more of a priority.

Exercise is my version of self-care. Swimming and running are my main stress relievers and my form of meditation. I especially love training for long-distance races, because it’s time and effort I put in just for my personal achievement. When I signed up for a half marathon in May, one of my extracurricular groups knew and saw it as a conflict of commitment. They tried to guilt me out of it even though I had carefully planned my schedule to have time for everything. They completely overlooked and undermined how important is was to me. 

I didn’t anticipate that training for this race—something done for myself—would be met with such backlash, especially from people it really didn’t affect. Oftentimes I think it’s easy to forget that people are multifaceted with several interests, and that we’re all trying to find the mix of interests that make us the happiest.

Don’t Forget What You Love

Version 2 By: Anna Sobczyk

Recently, I have found myself falling away from some of the hobbies I love in order to study and do homework. Even though college is definitely a time to figure yourself out and find your identity, I started to miss parts of myself I’d accidentally left behind.

For years I sang, played guitar, and enjoyed performing the songs I’ve written at open mic nights. In fact, Portland’s flourishing music scene is a key reason I chose PSU—and yet I still have not been to an open mic. For the entirety of winter term, I only picked up my guitar once and never wrote a new song.

I also haven’t been running as much. I loved having a goal to train for that culminated in a competitive race where I really tested my limits. Moving to Portland from Idaho, I was excited to participate in the races it had to offer. As in the case with my singing and songwriting, fall and winter term passed by and my runs grew few and far between.

Despite entering spring quarter of my freshman year with two academically successful terms behind me, I felt rather unaccomplished and disappointed. On a whim, I signed up for the Cinco de Mayo Half Marathon with only a month to train. After my first long training run, I immediately felt like part of my old self was back—and in a good way. I have also queued up possible open mics to go to and ended my creative drought by writing a song.

Looking back, I see that I took the “fresh start” of college too literally and ended up sidelining the things I love to do. It’s very easy to get swept away in the idealized college life of self-discovery. Despite the transformations I’ve undergone, the biggest learning curve was realizing that not everything about me has to change.