Starting college is tough, and it’s tougher still when you have to fly solo without your horse. McKenna Oxenden checks in.
I can’t decide if it was yesterday or forever ago that I sat down to write my first post for Horse Nation. But what I can decide is that it is crazy that I am officially underway with my first year of college. Like this just sounds scary! And I’m without my horse — not sure which one is scarier… psych! No horse for sure.
If there is one thing riding has taught me it’s to never give up and always face your challenges; look life in the face, know it for what it is, love it for what it is, and carry on. It’s taught me to not be afraid, dare to be different, to speak up for myself, stand up for what is right, and maybe most importantly to never ever quit.
For those of you who do not know, I decided to attend a university halfway across the country in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, at Marquette University where I am studying Journalism. I can’t lie, this whole thing has been such a bizarre experience. You meet so many people in your first few days it is actually quite unbelievable. Actually let me rephrase that. You meet so many people if you put yourself out there.
Horse Nation and horses taught me how to do that. I learned not to be afraid because when you introduce yourself to someone, that is another connection in this small community, or even another friend. My working student position further instilled upon me how to introduce yourself to strangers, conduct yourself, and countless other things.
And as I sit here in my dorm room at 11:42 p.m. (Central Time now, of course) after my first day of classes, I can’t help but sit and thank what gave me the basis for success. If I hadn’t been involved in a sport that required so much determination, maybe I wouldn’t have questioned the office of admissions after I received a letter of denial of admission from Marquette. Maybe I would be at a different University. Maybe I wouldn’t. Maybe my story would be different.
While I know that I have been a bit more than missing in action for a while, I fully intend to take Horse Nation on a journey with me through this insane time in my life. Because who doesn’t love a crazy horse girl tackling college without her trusty steed?
It’s scary. Really freaking scary. But you know what? I know it will all be OK. I know it will because I have had a wonderful upbringing and the privilege to be involved in such a phenomenal sport of life lessons.
So Horse Nation, I invite you to remember your roots and push yourself, push yourself outside of your comfort zone. Find what you love and let it kill you.
McKenna Oxenden is an 18-year-old freshman in college hailing from Columbia, Maryland. She is a Training level event rider and is currently campaigning the 15.1 Trakhener Cross, “Gossip Girl” a.k.a. Gigi and previously competed 13.2 pony superstar, Dorito Cooler Ranch, through Training. She has worked for CCI4* event rider Emily Beshear and currently trains with Courtney Sendak of Defying Gravity Eventing. She is presently attending Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to attain a degree in the field of Journalism and a minor in Photography. Additionally, she is also an active ambassador to JustWorld International. When McKenna isn’t busy writing or riding, she is taking photographs and playing in Photoshop. You can see some of her work by liking her Facebook page, Mckenna Erinn Photography.
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