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OCMS Community Spirit

Being a part of OCMS is more than just getting a PhD. It is part of being part of the community and part of everyone's journey.

I have always told my children that we make family wherever we are.  I didn't think I would have to heed my own advice as I am so far away from my husband Matt and my children Kieron and Tara.  I miss them more than I can express.  The more I miss them the more I think of how much OCMS students, faculty and staff mean to me.  I mean I have a staff member who is my house sister.  Sharing Saturday morning mega breakfasts has become our thing.  Drinking my special masala tea with whoever is around, most often with Woodsji, Friday nights at Posh Fish with Terry, yeah it all helps. 

Today brought community to a whole new level.  I had this crazy idea to start a student peer support fund.  Something to help students to enjoy their times of residency here in Oxford.  I decided to do a solo sponsored half marathon. (13.1 miles)  I usually run to pray and process my studies, so the idea of adding another benefit was appealing.  I announced my sponsored run and people have generously donated.  This is wonderful but not surprising.  There are plenty of generous people at OCMS.  What I didn't expect was others to run alongside me.

Heather Payne rode her bike the whole way.  She carried water and fruit for me and kept me company.  New RIS student Bill Berger started the run with me in the freezing cold and stayed with me for 2.5 miles.  As I reached the half way point I turned around to run back. I picked a leaf from a tree as is my daily habit and I thought, 'I'm carrying my medal.'  

By mile 8 I was tired.  All I could think of was in 3 miles Melody and Benrilo would be there. Then I began to doubt.  What if they changed their minds?  After all it was very cold.  As I approached mile 9 Heather got a phone call to say that Melody and Benrilo were waiting for me just over the bridge by the Wolvercote roundabout.  Suddenly I started to  cheer up.   I kept telling myself, 'Less than 2 miles and I'll see my sisters.' Then 'Less than 1.75.  Less than 1.5.  Less than 1.  Less than .5 mile.'

I said it over and over in my head.  I was beginning to ache.  I just knew I wanted to give up but I didn't want to let my friends down.  They believed in me.  So I ran and I saw Melody's blue shirt in the distance and Heather's purple jacket.  I wanted to run faster but I couldn't I wanted to cry but I didn't.  I picked 3 daisies and carried on running.  To my delight here they were Heather, Melody and Benrilo together with Stavan!  I was so happy!  I knew I could do it now!  We all started running back.  Melody kept right by my side and Stavan was right behind me.  I was beginning to ache and thought about stopping.  My hip was hurting but Melody kept encouraging.  'Almost there! We're almost there!  You've got this!'  Yeah I thought to myself.  'You've got this!'  I've heard that from Woodsji, my supervisor more than once.  

So we pushed through.  Once I saw the St. Margaret's Rd bus stop I knew we could do it!  I could see the spire of St. Philip and St. James.  I said to Melody and Stavan, 'Look we are almost there! We can see the spire!' 

We reached the finish line and I gave Melody, Benrilo and Stavan a daisy each.  Their medals for running with me.

It felt so good to have my study brothers and sisters with me today.  

'You've Got This!' 

We really do!


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