What You’ve All Been Waiting For…

It’s here, guys!!!!!!! I sat in my room today listening to Kendrick Lamar’s “Damn” and crying tears of joy. After quite the labor of love, my grad school thesis/capstone project is here. I had so much fun working on this project, even when I was stressing about getting it done on time and perfecting every little aspect of it.

I traveled far and wide for this project, but the span of wisdom I’ve picked up from my journey stretches even farther and wider than any amount I physically traveled. These wise old women (yes, I’m allowed to call them old, as they are all over the age of 85) were incredible. The hours I spent with these women are hours that I will remember for the rest of my life. They taught me how to live life, but they also taught me about myself along the way. I walked away from working on this project with seven incredible role models.

I’ve always believed that everyone has a story to tell, and I’d like to thank my professors for believing in me and in this project. Because of them, I had the great fortune and opportunity to tell the stories of these women.

One of the biggest takeaways that I got from working on this project, though, is that the stories of women don’t need to and shouldn’t stop here. I’m proud to be a woman, and I’m proud of and amazed by the plights women before me have overcome just to make it a little easier for me. These women aren’t necessarily recognized, or at least all of them aren’t. Some of these women are just every day women, which is exactly why they deserve to be recognized for their unique and extraordinary contributions to this world. Every woman counts.

I think that now more than ever young women need to listen to stories from women who have lived full lives and accomplished some amazing feats. They could use the words and actions of these wise old women and take them to heart. At least, I know that I could. In a world where women put down other women, I like to hear stories about women lifting up other women.

I created this project for me, for young women like me, for young women totally different from me, for old women, for any women in between young and old and, yes, for MEN too. I cannot forget men. Despite the men that put women down, I truly believe there are twice as many men out there who respect, appreciate and lift women up.

Take a minute tonight, sit down, get comfortable, unwind from the crazy world you live in, put in your headphones and watch the videos in this project. Read through the stories. I hope I can help you visualize these seven amazing women, and then your mind stems off and you think of all of the amazing women in your life. Then, I ask you to share this project with your brother, sister, friend, significant other, aunt, dog or whoever else is important to you. Share it on your social media page. Tell the world about it.

As my six years at Loyola University Chicago come to an end, I’d like to thank this wonderful Jesuit institution from the bottom of my heart. I truly grew so much, learned so much and became a better person here. This place always believed in me and what I could do. They let me live out my passions, and now I am going to go out in the world and try to make it a little better place, while continuing to live out my passions. It’s a bittersweet time, to be graduating next week from Loyola round two, only this time with a Master’s degree instead of a Bachelor’s degree. I’m not scared but excited for the unknown that lies ahead. Like anything else in my life, I’m going to make it epic. 🙂

Thank you from the bottom of my heart to every single one of you that have been with me and continue to follow me on my journey! You don’t know how much I appreciate it.

Without further ado, here is the link to my capstone project website, and I hope the stories of these wise old women can bring you as much joy as they brought me:

Wise Old Women: A Snapshot

Ally Spiroff, out. *Obama inspired mic drop*

As always, peace, love and running (fast),

@runningforlife2

Published by Ally Spiroff

I am Ally Spiroff, and what seems like seven short years ago I created a Twitter account, @runningforlife2. I tweeted how I felt and what I was doing. I tweeted about my greatest passion in life, running. I also tweeted about my other passions, food, music, movies, books, pop culture, writing, traveling, and life. Before I knew it, people (mostly those people in the running community but others too) began to latch onto my life. Then, I realized, “hey, this Twitter thing is pretty cool.” I get to write about what I love. I get to tell my story. The world around me, all of my people, get to ride along with me as I take on the world, one day at a time. People can watch me grow. I can watch other people grow. The Twitter handle has evolved into @allyspiroff over time. With it, the content has also evolved, but the same crazy woman is behind the content. :) So what exactly is my story? Who exactly is Ally Spiroff? I graduated with a Master's in Communication from Loyola University Chicago in May 2017. I was a Division I collegiate athlete there for five years, all four of my undergraduate and one of my graduate years. I graduated with honors in May 2015 with a Bachelor’s in English. In the winter/spring 2015-2016 due to a redshirt season of indoor and outdoor track, I returned to run a fifth year. Since I have always thought that it is more fun to jump over water and other obstacles than just run normal laps around the track and I like a good challenge, I am a steeplechaser by nature. I got to chase fast steeple times for one more season at Loyola, as well as run the 3k, 5k, and even the mile/1500 with my teammates that double as my best friends, sisters, inspirations, and the greatest people you will ever meet. Now, you might ask, how did I still run at Loyola if I graduated in the spring of 2015? I started the cutting-edge graduate program Digital Media & Storytelling in the fall of 2016 at Loyola. It was a two-year program, so I was blessed with another year at the wonderful Jesuit institution to finish up my Master's degree. After obtaining both my undergraduate and graduate degrees, I have become an experienced writer and researcher. Through graduate work, I have become well versed in Adobe Creative Commons software programs, specifically Photoshop and shooting and editing video in Premiere Pro, and in Google Analytics, along with other search engine optimization tools. Through an abundance of internship experience, I became extremely proficient in news editing software programs. I have lots of experience in the newsroom and writing for news producers as well as out in the field on assignment and in working with a variety of people. My experience as an undergraduate and a graduate student while simultaneously being a Division I collegiate athlete on Loyola’s cross country and track teams as well as in a variety of jobs/internships and volunteer work has helped develop my confidence, drive, responsibility, time management, sense of teamwork, people skills, communication, troubleshooting skills, attention to detail, critical thinking skills, leadership, planning skills, and even a sense of humor. I also have extensive experience with all outlets of social media. As I mentioned before, I am an avid tweeter and Instagram user, with 1,450+ followers on Twitter. I have lots of experience with creating and building content for websites. I also run the website I created for my graduate school capstone project, titled "Wise Old Women." I am on Pinterest, Foursquare/Swarm, and Facebook as well. I wrote in the arts and entertainment section of my university’s award-winning newspaper, The Loyola Phoenix. You can find my running profile on the Loyola Ramblers website. You can find all about my collegiate running career on TFRRS. Of course, you can also catch me on LinkedIn. I am lucky because I get to tell people’s stories for a living online, through digital media and other means. Currently, I live in New York City and I'm the Digital Editorial Assistant at Runner's World magazine, and I'm a freelance writer for VICE's health vertical, Tonic. I really love life. I have big dreams. I do not know where my dreams will take me, but I am confident that they will take me far. I am an open book. I like sharing myself with anybody who wants to listen. I am enjoying the opportunity to further my education every day and perfect my craft. I love learning something new every single day about myself, others, and the world around me. Besides being a multimedia journalist and a city dweller, I am a literature (Hemingway and Plath are my favorites) and grammar nerd, a hippie, a music fanatic, a foodie, a concert-goer, a traveler, a huge sports fan, a fashionista, an art lover, and an urban explorer who likes natural adventures (like hiking up mountains in Alaska) as well. Wherever I go and whatever I do, I conquer it. I was born and raised in Milwaukee, though, and no matter where I go, I never forget my roots. Milwaukee will always be my city and where my heart truly lies. I have quite the eye for unique knick-knacks. My spirit animals are the grasshopper and the gazelle. When I take the Essential Enneagram Test, I am #3. I am a hard worker with relentless energy. I am everyone’s sister. I am nutty but in a way that I like it. I think that God is so good and we are blessed to get to walk this earth every day. I believe that every person has the right to be exactly who they are. I am dreaming big, with my head in the clouds, but there is still some common sense in there somewhere. ;) Turning over a new leaf in my life, at the start of grad school, I wanted to create a comprehensive website where I could connect you to all of my social media outlets. I will continue to share my running experiences and life journey through this awesome outlet we now have called the World Wide Web, and I hope that everyone continues to enjoy all things Ally Spiroff. Peace, love, and running (fast), Ally Spiroff

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