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9 1/2 Years In The Making – Geek Turned Athlete

9 1/2 Years In The Making

This past weekend the hubs and I flew to St. Pete, FL to attend a wedding and my graduation down in Gainesville. The weekend went by incredibly fast, and the realization that I finally have my masters is finally sinking in.

Thinking about it, this has been a long time coming. My undergrad took me 5 years to complete since I changed my major 4 times. I’m STILL interested in everything. :) Those times were so hard. I moved out on my own only to become broke and have to move back in with my mom several times. My last two years of undergrad, I realized that I wanted to go to grad school someday, and I needed to make school more of a priority. I changed jobs to only work 10-15 hours a week, sucked it up and moved in with my mom one last time (this sucked not because my mom is a horrible person to live with, but I had rules that I had to follow if I lived with her), and had to get really creative with how I spent my money. I think my last year of my undergrad I made around $3,200. I was broke! haha.

Thinking back, it only made me stronger. I appreciate things so much more since going through that. Once I graduated, I moved to Tucson to be with my boyfriend, now husband, and worked for a while to pay off some debt. That only lasted for a year and a half before having to move to Europe where I spent 2 1/2 incredible years traveling everywhere.

While in Europe I didn’t want to just sit at home idly waiting for my next traveling adventure so I drove up to Frankfurt where I took my GRE (scary as hell driving in our Chevy Avalanche, also where I got my first European parking ticket, hehe). I thought my time in Europe would be the perfect time to pursue my masters through the University of Florida since I really couldn’t find a job in my career field there.

I learned so much, played hard, and worked hard during my time getting my masters. At times, I had to say no parties, get-togethers, and traveling weekends with friends. I was focused.

My last semester consisted of moving back to the states, continued volunteering, and a full school schedule. The hubs and I definitely had to cut back on a few things since I didn’t work during my grad school years, but that gave me the ability to put school first, volunteer, travel, and still be able to spend a little bit of time together. We shared a car for 4 years, and we STILL have hardly any furniture (if you didn’t count our plaid 30 year old couch and 1990 television that we just replaced). Money for traveling and racing is much more important! 😉

I’m glad it is finally done, and now I can get out there and make some money! Putting the money aside though, pursuing my masters has only made my hunger for knowledge more, which I think is a good thing. 😉

Here are some pics with the fam from the weekend…



I’m in the gray pants (they actually look white) on the very left on the stage.


We actually took more, but I’m still waiting on some pics from some family members.

And, we didn’t take any pics at the wedding we went to on Sunday except for these…


I swear, the hubs and I have a fun time wherever we go. 😉 Thanks babe, for supporting me and my dreams!!!

I’m ready and excited for the next chapter in my life to begin! 😉

Have you ever worked so hard (or are you in the process of working towards) for something that you wanted so badly?

{ 28 comments… add one }

  • Lisa December 22, 2010, 2:18 pm

    CONGRATULATIONS!!! That’s exciting. A new chapter in your life! Savor the moment!

    Yes, I worked very hard to lose my 100 pounds. It was something that consumed my life for 2 years. It was all I thought about and I worked so hard to achieve it!

    • Nicole December 22, 2010, 2:23 pm

      I can’t even imagine trying to tackle something like that! Go you!!

    • Joanna Burgraf December 23, 2010, 8:22 am

      Lisa, that’s amazing! Congratulations to you for making your health a priority.

  • Jessica @ How Sweet December 22, 2010, 2:23 pm

    Congrats beautiful! You are the total package – absolutely stunning, amazing personality, kind hearted, and BRILLIANT!

    You deserve every wonderful thing that comes your way!

  • Rita @ Fitblogger December 22, 2010, 2:39 pm

    Congrats Nicole, my hubbie calls his degree the 7 year plan, it’s popular! And how sweet it is, can’t wait to see what’s next for you.

  • Melie December 22, 2010, 3:15 pm

    Congratulations! That is so exciting! I am currently working towards my phd – fingers crossed, next year I’ll be a doctor (not the md kind of doctor)… I can fully understand you about the working so hard for so long. But doesn’t it feel so good that you actually made it? :-)

  • Tanya December 22, 2010, 4:12 pm

    Congratulations!!!! I follow your blog – though I think I haven’t commented before, but this is such awesome news! And your journey is really inspiring. I remember the very broke grad school days, so I can totally relate to your undergrad experience. I remember not really wanting to participate in the graduation ceremony but my mom insisted – and I’m so glad she did as it’s one of my fondest memories.

    • Nicole December 23, 2010, 8:32 am

      Thanks for finally commenting!! 😉

      Yeah, I didn’t want to walk this weekend, but my husband convinced me to. I’m so glad I did!!

  • Annie D @ Annie's Simple Life December 22, 2010, 4:58 pm

    Congrats!!!!! That’s so exciting! My hubby just finished his MBA…what a process!!!!

  • Sana December 22, 2010, 5:12 pm

    Congrats! i am so so proud of you! I am still struggling with figuring out what I want. This should be my last semester of undergrad IF i pass biochem and i am too scared to look :(

  • Carolyn December 22, 2010, 6:16 pm

    Congratulations! I’ve been checking out your blog since TorontoGirlWest’s guest post (I went to elementary school with her!) & really enjoy your posts. I got my Masters degree this past June. I got hooded, shook hands with the President of the university, then tripped on the stairs & fell on my face. Good times! Glad that you had a more graceful exit. Looking forward to reading about your running & triathlon adventures (I particularly loved your half-Ironman post – a great recap of a crap day).

    • Nicole December 23, 2010, 8:38 am

      Thanks for finally commenting. 😉 Honestly, I was so scared of tripping too! That stuff happens to me all the time!

    • Toronto Girl West December 25, 2010, 7:23 pm

      Oh Carolyn….I had no idea! Still, it’s one for the books! :)

  • Jacquie December 22, 2010, 6:52 pm

    Congratulations pretty girl! I’m so proud of you and am sorry we couldn’t meet up; however, I think a visit needs to be planned soon :)

    And as an answer to your questions, I’m still trying to figure out what I want. Ugh, so hard!

  • Heather (Where's the Beach) December 22, 2010, 7:10 pm

    Congrats girl!!!!

  • Pure2Raw Twins December 22, 2010, 7:31 pm

    Congrats!! So happy for you! and so excited for the next chapter in your life!!

  • Kris | December 22, 2010, 9:49 pm

    Congrats girl!! I am so happy for you :)

    I am working my butt off on my bakery right now!


  • Jenny Doyle December 23, 2010, 1:05 am

    You rock, girl!

  • Joanna Burgraf December 23, 2010, 8:28 am

    Congratulations on achieving your master’s degree! It’s amazing what humans can accomplish when they want something badly enough. Way to go on not letting anything get in between you and your goals.

    Five years ago I worked my tail off at starting a business that failed. We tried and tried and at the end of the day couldn’t make enough money to keep the business alive. The experience was painful and humbling. Although I wouldn’t want to relive the experience I am grateful for it. The experience taught me to grow up around business and money.

  • Amber from Girl with the Red Hair December 23, 2010, 10:45 am

    Congratulations! You worked very hard and totally deserve to revel in this. What an amazing accomplishment :)

  • Katherine December 23, 2010, 2:50 pm

    Thanks so much for sharing your story. I will graduate this summer with my undergrad after going on and off for the past seven years. I know that I want to go to grad school or law school, but can’t figure out the financial aspects of it. Thank you for reminding me that I can do it and not work. Thank you!

  • Dave December 23, 2010, 3:03 pm

    Go Gators! I just finished my first semester in a PhD program at UF. Congratulations on your graduation!

  • Toronto Girl West December 25, 2010, 7:28 pm

    Congratulations Nicole!!!! Your Masters is a huge accomplishment and you’ve every reason to be incredibly proud of yourself! :)

    As for the things you gave up along the way, I’m pretty sure they just make this victory lap all the sweetest.

    In terms of your question – getting to law school was a huge achievement I worked very hard towered. I ended up chronically ill in undergrad and my GPA plummeted; I got into the top ranked law school against all odds. I still remember sobbing when I wasacceyed. It was a testament to overcoming huge odds – both health-wise and academically.

  • Heather @ Get Healthy With Heather December 27, 2010, 9:52 am

    Such an accomplishment! Woo hoo! I hope you find a job you love :)

  • Erica December 27, 2010, 11:55 am

    CONGRATSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS! That is so very exciting. And the pics from the wedding are adorable- looks like you two had a blasty. Hope you are enjoying the holidays

  • James December 29, 2010, 9:19 pm

    Awesome job there! I can wholly empathize with you on many levels. From start to hiatus to finish, my doctorate took nine years. I’m not using it directly, but it was worth all the effort.

  • Tasha - The Clean Eating Mama December 31, 2010, 9:33 am

    I know I am late, like always, 😉 but I wanted to give you a huge congratulation on your achievements! One thing that I have always regretted was not completing college. I am like you, though. I want to learn so many things that it has always been hard to actually commit to one thing. Medical, massage, english, IT… gah.
    Anyway, 2011 will be amazing for you! =) Miss you and hope to be able to see/meet you in the spring!

  • Katie Rainey January 19, 2011, 1:02 pm

    Soooo Proud of you girlfriend!! All that hard work paid off, I knew you would be on that stage before you knew it!! Only with Kyle and I could have been there to celebrate with you. congrats again we are very proud of you!!


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