Honors Summer Snapshots: Emma

Ever wonder what Honors students do during the summer? Honors Ambassadors and students will be taking you into their 2017 summer routines via photos. Brand new Honors alum Emma Runquist is starting a new adventure in Virginia full of muscles, bikes, and being insta-famous:

Well I, Emma Runquist, have officially been an Iowa State graduate for over 2 months and a lot of big things have happened since then.

My boyfriend Conrad and I in our graduation regalia (don’t let his lack of Honors medal fool you, we actually met at two separate Honors events; he just got his masters this spring).

I’ve moved to Roanoke, VA, started my doctorate of physical therapy, biked over 200 miles with 15,000+ of elevation gain, and became semi-insta famous.

Instead of hitting you guys with the boring details of my daily life (think class and cadaver lab from 8-12, studying from 12-5, bike, dinner and more studying), I’m going to share some things I’ve learned during my first two month of post-grad life.

1. The southern accent is REAL! Southwest Virginia is interesting in the fact that about 1/3 of all the people you meet have a distinctly southern accent; the other 2/3 just say y’all. For real, I have yet to hear a native VA say “you guys.” I’m just waiting to pick it up but I’ve only said it once so far.

2. Mountains are beautiful. Roanoke is situated in the Blue Ridge Mountains with parts of the Application trail within 20 minutes of my house. I’ve been trying to take advantage of this amazing nature AND study so I’ve taken to doing sunrise hikes. I’ve woken up before 4am more than a few times to catch a sunrise. A recent picture of mine taken at McAfee Knob was reposted by not 1, but 2 visit Virginia instagram accounts.  If that isn’t the definition of success for our generation, I don’t know what is.

3. While ISU gave me an amazingly broad education, I don’t think I was truly prepared for the class I’m taking this summer: 8 credits of gross anatomy. As a future PT, it’s critical for me to know as much about the muscles, bones, and ligaments that I can. This past test was just over the origin, insertion, innervation (nerve supply) and action of all the muscles on the back of the body. When I say every muscle, I mean every muscle. I learned about muscles I never could have dreamed existed. One of my favorite is rectus capitis lateralis:

4. Writing on a white board is the best way for me to learn and retain muscles. I can’t count the number of hours I’ve spent staring at this white board, trying to remember where certain muscles attach. Here’s a picture of one of my white board sessions. As you can see, there is a water bottle, bottle of coffee, a lunch box full of snacks, and a random pelvis for reference, all necessary things for a quality study session.

5. I was mountain biking before I left Iowa, but my passion has just increased since I’ve moved here. I’ve been teaching myself how to ride on loose rocks, ride up mountains, and go downhill fast. Monica, my downhill bike, is well equipped to handle all the trails around here and incredible photogenic. My Instagram has switched from being full of pictures of coffee, lichen and scenery to pictures of Monica and sunrises over mountains.

In addition to mountain biking more, one of my classmates loaned me one of his road bikes. She’s a beauty from the late ’80’s, complete with drop handle bars and gear shifters on the downtube (which is terrifying to learn to ride at first). Here’s a picture of me on the day I picked Regina up. If you can’t tell, I was pretty excited to get her.

6. Moving across the country and adulting isn’t as easy as I thought. I graduated on Saturday, packed my life up and moved out on Tuesday, all without knowing I had truly secured somewhere to live once I got to VA. I grew up 45 minutes away from ISU so this is the biggest permanent move I’ve ever made (I studied abroad in Tasmania Australia). There have been a few bumps but things have worked themselves out well enough (thanks parents, friends, and new classmates!). One of my main concerns was replacing my go-to coffee shops in Ames (Café Diem or Burgies) but I quickly found the Sweet Donkey, dangerously located a 7 minute walk from my front door.

I’m so thankful for my Iowan upbringing and ISU experience – I wouldn’t trade it for anything – but I’m so looking forward to continuing to choose my adventure in Virginia.


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