Embrace opportunity. #CASCH2015

While I would, without a doubt, drive to Banff for the long weekend by myself just for the heck of it, I did actually come for a reason. Friday and Saturday I attended the Campus Alberta Student Conference on Health (CASCH). I randomly found this conference through a graduate student newsletter that popped into my school email months ago, an email that I would normally just delete and move on with my Pinteresting data analysis. I decided to go for it without much knowledge of what I was signing up for.

I figured a student health conference in Banff couldn’t possibly be a bad decision!

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EMBRACE OPPORTUNITY. Sign up for something YOU want to do. Even if you know no one going to an event, conference, presentation, or trip, do it because YOU want to! You will likely meet a ton of interesting and like-minded people.

I know talking about the actual conference seminars, what I learned, and how it applies to my personal research plan and Masters program would be super annoying because not everyone LOVES to discuss public health research, but one thing I thought a lot about this weekend was embracing opportunity. This mountain air… deep thoughts just happen.

I didn’t think I knew ANYONE coming to this conference and was prepared to just introduce myself a million times and network my ass off, but I was surprised by the number of people I knew, either speaking, presenting posters, or attending. It was so much fun and there were lots of University of Alberta students in attendance that have amazing research projects I didn’t even know were happening on my campus!

One of the highlights was attending the Saturday morning keynote speaker, Yoni Freedhoff. Everyone and their grandma in public health knows who Dr. Yoni Freedhoff is and I have been an avid follower of his blog, Weighty Matters, for a while. I actually included links to his blog in one of my random “link love” posts HERE. Dr. Freedhoff is the most sarcastic, quick-witted, say-anything, Canada-Food-Guide-hating, opinionated, interesting doctors in Canada. His talk was mostly about using social media to your advantage in the field of public health to push reliable knowledge. I LOVED IT.

He is a blogger, and obviously I am one too, so I could related to SO MANY of the things he was saying. His blog is about public health, nutrition, and his practical experience as a physician, and mine is a try-to-be-healthy lifestyle and fitness blog but the pressures and challenges of putting your own opinions and content out for the world to read were strikingly similar. I have about 17 blog post ideas that I jotted down during his talk. 😀

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EMBRACE OPPORTUNITY. Write a blog or a tweet or a book, put your opinion out in the world, and OWN IT. Dr. Freedhoff kind of reinvigorated my sense of pride in my blog. I have always loved to write pieces on this little website but now I feel even more confident about writing my thoughts and owning my words, not letting the fear of being judged stop me from being myself in both real life and online. Given the opportunity, voice your opinion and have a say. Sure, there might be someone who disagrees, but you might also inspire someone.

EMBRACE OPPORTUNITY. Always stay another night in the Rocky Mountains when you can. Okay, this one is slightly unrelated to the conference I attended, but instead of driving down Friday, attending the conference Friday night and all day Saturday then driving home, I decided to book two extra nights in Banff at the discounted conference rate. I have never really travelled alone before and honestly last night was my first time going out for dinner by myself but it wasn’t half bad! I cozied up in a bistro with a chickpea burger and my laptop, and jotted down a bunch of things from the conference that I didn’t want to forget, like my 17 blog post ideas. I am embracing this opportunity in Banff to refresh and mentally prepare for the intense school year I have ahead, take time to get my body back and ready for long distance running by foam rolling my legs off, and drink as many americanos as possible while staring at the mountains.

In sum, this post was all over the place, but I am not only surviving my trip alone to Banff, I am thriving and embracing every rainy and snowy moment here. I am going to attempt a long-ish run this morning so if you don’t hear from me… I was eaten by a bear. 🙂

When was the last time you were proud of yourself for embracing a new or scary opportunity?

Did you run this weekend? How did it go?

Do you try to schedule your long runs in different places to switch it up or do you stick to the same routes?