Participate in the #UABSOGraduationChallenge to help honor the accomplishments of graduating fourth year students

Getting through professional school can be a marathon. Honor the accomplishments of the School of Optometry’s Class of 2020 by participating in its marathon challenge.

Video produced by: Laura Gasque and Jeff Myers

Editor's Note: The information published in this story is accurate at the time of publication. Always refer to for UAB's current guidelines and recommendations relating to COVID-19.

Getting through professional school is challenging. Some students, like Kate Daluyin, 2020 class president of the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry, would compare it to running a marathon. For the School of Optometry’s class of 2020, this rang true — especially in the face of the COVID-19 outbreak.

When the COVID-19 outbreak first started, students still had seven weeks of clinical training left, and were looking forward to their upcoming graduation. When the students received the news that they would be unable to remain on campus and gather in-person to commemorate and celebrate the past four years of their doctoral accomplishments, they were deflated. Daluyin came up with an idea to change this while she was on a run.

“I was reflecting on how this time of the year is usually exciting as we approach graduation, and I noticed that my peers were not joyously posting on social media,” Daluyin said. “I thought that, by creating a challenge leading up to our original graduation date, it could help boost morale and remind our class that we still have something to be proud of and excited for.”

From there, the UAB School of Optometry Graduation Challenge was launched. Through May 15 — the school’s original in-person graduation date — Daluyin will be running 26.2 miles every week, the length of a marathon. Each week of mileage represents the “marathon” each year of optometry school was for her. Daluyin is excited to extend the challenge to her peers by encouraging them to move and stay active in their own ways, be it walking the dog, biking or running, to honor their accomplishment of graduating.

Daluyin shares that there is a good-sized group of students who are participating and holding each other accountable. It is a great way for her and her peers to stay connected while physically apart, and she hopes that faculty, staff and the greater community at large take part as well.

To participate in the challenge, use the hashtag #UABSOGraduationChallenge on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.