Monday, June 28, 2010

2006 WEG Vaulting Gold Medalist and Recent Cornell University Graduate, Megan Benjamin (USA)

Believe it or not (personally, I’m still in denial), I am a college graduate. After four years of 20-page history research papers, grueling exams, late nights in the library, and plenty of parties, on May 30th I graduated from Cornell University.

It was certainly a bittersweet moment. As challenging as my academic career at Cornell has been these past few years, I have loved every last moment. More than anything, as a California girl, I’m sad to leave my Cornellian friends, who will scatter across America’s northeastern cities from New York to D.C. to Boston. Luckily for us, there’s Skype and gchat, and as they reminded me as we said our goodbyes and I worried aloud about when I would see them again, “Megan, it’s not like you were ever on campus this semester anyway, and we’re still friends.”

Fair fact. Since January, I ventured to four different countries (Brazil, Denmark, Netherlands, and Canada) on four different occasions to teach clinics and compete abroad, went back to California for vaulting training camps and more competitions, drove over to Princeton, NJ to visit my boyfriend of four years, and flew to Portland, OR and Louisville, KY for the annual meetings of the American Vaulting Association and the United States Equestrian Federation, respectively.

My friends and family don’t quite understand how I managed to graduate (and maintain a pretty sweet GPA, I might add) from Cornell while simultaneously traveling the globe, training for WEG, and keeping my close friendships and relationships intact. The truth is this insane travel schedule and level of stress has been my norm for a long time. There are many things that are important to me, and I approach each and every one of these things with the time, effort, and dedication I believe they deserve.

As my mom has told me during times of stress, “You can have it all, but not all at once.” It is certainly true that if you stretch yourself too thin, it’s difficult to excel at any one thing. Although I’ve managed the delicate balance of my million and one passions these past four years of university, it’s time to scale back. As I write this, I am on a plane from Cornell to California. When I arrive, I will have a single focus for the first time in years—vaulting.

With no more academic obligations, I am finally free to train with my whole mind, body, and soul. With less than 4 months to go before WEG’s Opening Ceremonies, this is perfect timing. My calendar for the next few months is brimming with national and international competitions, vaulting practices, fabric shopping and uniform fittings, gymnastics and dance instruction, strength training, riding, and (of course) hours upon hours of barn chores. I’ve waited four years for this moment, and you can bet I’m going to take full advantage of every second.

8 comments:

  1. Good luck at WEG Megan. To have spent the last four years at an intense Ivy League college like Cornell, and to graduate on time, was time very well spent. And now that you've completed your college education, have fun vaulting again! Welcome back.

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