Melissa Hardy had four memorable years as a cross-country running star at St. Francis Xavier University, but now she’s ready to spread her wings into the working world.
Hardy will finish up her hectic life as a student-athlete at St. F.X. when she completes her dietic internship at St. Martha’s Regional Hospital in Antigonish Thursday before heading home to Deer Lake.
“It was definitely the best four years of my life and I will take everything I learned and how I evolved as a person, and take advantage of every opportunity that I seek out in the future,” Hardy said on a lunch break from St. Martha’s Tuesday.
Hardy, 21-year-old daughther of Deer Lake’s Peter and Beverly Hardy, capped off her college career with a number of awards, including being presented with the Most Valuable Player award for the cross-country team. She also received a Leadership with Distinction Award, one of only three student-athletes in the school’s Leadership Academy to receive a high enough evaluation to be awarded such a distinction. On an annual basis, a male and female student is awarded a Community Service Award and this year Hardy got the nod as the female recipient.
Being recognized for her leadership abilities has brought her contentment knowing full well a lot of employers are very interested in what a person can offer in a leadership role so this should help her in her job hunt now that her life at St. F. X. is behind her.
“It gives me a lot of confidence,” she said. “I have confidence in leading and I have confidence in taking a standback and letting somebody else lead. Group faciliation is where I feel I would strive the most.”
As for finding time to volunteer, Hardy wouldn’t have had it any other way regardless of how challenging it was at times to juggle academic and athletics on an elite stage.
“Giving anything back to the community is a pleasure to me because St. F.X. and Antigonish, as a community, has given me so much over my four years,” she said. “Anything and everything, but a lot of it was dealing with kids in the community.”
Hardy’s resume on the Atlantic University Sport scene includes bragging rights as the 2013 individual cross-country running champion and 2013 gold medalist in the 3,000-metre and silver in the 1,500-metre as a member of the St. F. X. track and field contingent.
She plans on keeping in close contact with some of the great friends she had around her at school and pursuit of a masters degree via online is being pondered, but her No. 1 priority right now is finding a job.
“I am excited to embark on a new endeavour,” she said.