“It’s the Climb:” Jennifer Pharr Davis Story
Proven by the talk she gave on Tues. night, Jennifer Pharr Davis is a certifiable badass. She has hiked over 14,000 miles in long-distance trails, in all 50 states, and on six continents. She holds the women’s leading record time for supported completion of the Appalachian Trail, which on average takes five to six months. However, she did it in 46 days — averaging 42 miles a day.
In her talk, Davis touched on the physical “relentlessness” of through-hiking, with all the ups and downs of the mountains, her aching shoulders, blistering feet, and unpredictable weather. However, she mainly focused on the journey that happened in her mind, from setting her record-breaking time and the values she learned.
Davis expressed that she left her first through-hike of the AT (she has actually completed it three times) with the idea of simplicity. She carried her life on her back for months and remained content, which proved to her that societal standards, such as beauty, are not based off of material things but instead self-worth. With that idea of self-worth a couple years later, she further realized that her gender expectations should not hold her back from “living up to her potentials.”
Due to the fact that women have a higher pain tolerance than men and can hold in fat better, allowing them to be physically and mentally more prepared for a through-hike, Davis took off again onto the AT to set the record. However, during this time, Davis discovered that numbers do not equate to happiness. Whether or not she was behind the old record should not matter. What matters is that Davis was completing the trail to the best of her ability, with nothing holding her back.
Even if you are not a hiker or outdoorsman, Davis’ talk was truly inspiring and applicable to the average daily life. Her learned values force you to rethink everyday actions, especially with finals week coming up. Instead of worrying about what others think, stay simple and focus on your own potentials. Comparing yourself to others’ grades, study habits, and recreational activities will only complicate your life and stress you out.
By figuring what you value the most, you will become more content and you can manage your stress more easily. Lastly, Davis urged that numbers do not matter. Therefore, the number of likes on a post does not determine your self-worth, and the ratio of “followers” to “following” means nothing.
You make your life meaningful by reaching your fullest potential, not anyone else’s. Climb a mountain. Read a book. Take a nap. Eat a whole cake. Davis reminds us that we can do anything we put our minds to, and do it successfully.