Meet Janet, a nurse at the renowned Mayo Clinic, who has made it her life’s goal to make a difference in the lives of others. As she so articulately puts it, she intends to leave a “compassionate footprint” behind, not only through her work as a nurse but in her day-to-day interactions and experiences. As a Girls on the Run alumna, Janet realized her limitless potential through running, and has taken this confidence and drive and transformed it into an unwavering energy and desire to serve others. Janet’s vision for her life and her endearing compassion, kindness, and dedication mesh perfectly with our values here at Be Your Own Muse, and we warmly welcome her to our community!
- Age: 23
- Location: Currently Rochester, Minnesota. Next summer I will be moving to Colorado Springs, Colorado
- Education: Northwestern College
- Field of Interest: Public Health and Maternal and Infant Health
- What Inspired You Today? A bike ride in the sunshine after a very long, cold Minnesota winter and spring. The change of seasons is a beautiful thing and I love seeing each season unfold into the next. This summer day reminds me of the promises of this summer season. There will be fresh strawberries to pick this month, sunny afternoons to read a good book, and flowers blossoming to cut for my table or to bless a friend with.
- What’s Your Favorite Thing About Yourself? My flexibility, and going along with that, my ability to transition easily.
Questions + Answers
What’s Your Favorite Moment of the Day?
My favorite moment of the day is the mid morning hour on a day off or weekend. There is nothing quite like a slow morning that allows you to wake up feeling rested. Coming back from a morning run or bike ride, showering, and sipping a smoothie or savoring blueberry pancakes – these are a few of my favorite things. I feel refreshed and empowered, ready to take on the rest of my day and the tasks at hand. I look forward to these mornings. After breakfast I can usually be found sipping green tea and reading my Bible with quiet music in the background. The perfect soundtrack to these mornings includes a mix of Sarah Groves, Ben Rector, Chris Rice, and John Mayer.
AS A NURSE AT THE esteemed MAYO CLINIC, YOU SURELY SEE AND EXPERIENCE SOME VERY DIFFICULT THINGS. HOW DO YOU KEEP YOUR WORK FROM AFFECTING OTHER ASPECTS OF YOUR LIFE TOO MUCH?
I have walked with patients and families through some very tough situations. I have seen death, and seen people facing death.
When I first started working as a nurse, it was not easy separating my work life and the emotions that occur there from life outside of work, but it is something I have learned to do. I have learned that when I shut my locker and walk out of the hospital, I need to leave my worries, burdens, and emotions there. Nursing is a 24/7 job and I am responsible for 12 shifts at a time, and then I pass patients along to the next nurses. I have learned that I need to do my best to give patient-centered care, and then I have to entrust the work to someone else until I come back.
YOU’VE SPOKEN BEFORE ABOUT LEAVING A “COMPASSIONATE FOOTPRINT.” COULD YOU EXPLAIN WHAT THAT MEANS TO YOU?
One of my favorite authors has two quotes that will help me explain what I mean about leaving a compassionate footprint. We only get one opportunity to live life here on earth.
As Frederick Buechner writes, “we must be careful with our lives, for Christ’s sake, because it would seem that they are the only lives we are going to have in this puzzling and perilous world, and so they are very precious and what we do with them matters enormously.”
It is easy to live a life focused on ourselves and our achievements. I think goals are very important. I have many of them and I will do my best to achieve them, like running the Boston Marathon! But when I look back on my life, I do not want to reflect and realize that it was simply about my ambitions and accolades received; that is an empty life. I want to leave a compassionate footprint. I want to have left a mark not celebrating how great I am, but instead showing how important others are. Life is about serving others.
The world has many needs, and I have gifts and talents and passions that can be used to help. I can do what I love while serving others. Buechner hits the nail on the head when he says, “the place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”
WHAT’S ONE GREAT MEMORY FROM YOUR GOTR EXPERIENCES?
I think my favorite memory of my experience with GOTR is when I ran my first 5k. I bundled up in the warm, hand-knit scarf that my coach made for me and put on my colorful gloves and hit the road. It was incredible finishing the 5k distance, an accomplishment that set a foundation for me to believe that I could run. It gave me the confidence to go out for cross country as a freshman in high school. This then led to cross country in college, and then a marathon my junior year of college.
I still remember the first time I ran 10 miles in college. I joined cross country my sophomore year and we were working on increasing our long run distance each Saturday morning. It was still dark, a cool morning when our girls’ team took to the gravel roads in northwest Iowa. As we neared the end of our 10-mile run I was running in sync with a girl named Leah. It was getting lighter and we were coming back into town. I remember saying, “I can’t believe it. We are almost done with 10 miles!” We were about 400 yards away from where we started and I fist-pumped the air and let out a shout, “Wooooo! We just ran 10 miles!” While others were still fast asleep in their dorm rooms, I had just seen the sun rise and run 10 whole miles. It was the most invigorating experience.
AS A WOMAN IN THE SCIENCES, WHAT ADVICE MIGHT YOU GIVE TO YOUNGER GIRLS WHO ARE INTERESTED IN PURSUING A PATH IN STEM (SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, ENGINEERING, AND MATH)?
Go where your interest lies, even if the path there may seem difficult. I took many challenging classes in college to get my nursing degree. Microbiology, pharmacology, pathophysiology, to name a few. They were difficult at times and some of the content I was not as interested in as other classes, but I tried my best, asked lots of questions, used the resources around me, and celebrated the victories when they occurred. It felt so good to learn a hard concept, do well on a test, and continue to learn the complexities of the human body and the detail in various fields of science.
FILL IN THE BLANK: WITHOUT GIRLS ON THE RUN, I WOULDN’T HAVE ______________.
Without GOTR, I wouldn’t have developed a passion for running and learned the potential of my own body. I also would not have encountered some of the dearest friends I now have – because running brought us together.
Janet was nominated as Girls on the Run’s Wondergirl of 2014, an honor given to a GOTR alumnae who is actively embracing joy, health, and confidence in her life. These are all qualities that we also celebrate here at BYOM, so check out her feature here!