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50 Jobs in 50 States by Daniel Seddiqui

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PROLOGUEBELIEVING IN MY IDEAWHEN NO ONE ELSE DID

“You have to go through a lot of nightmares before you realize your dream.”

After six-and-a-half grueling laps of jumping barriers and water pits, it was down to the last lap. I was at the Pacific-10 Track & Field Championships, representing the University of Southern California in the steeplechase. It was my last collegiate race and I had been training like a seasoned Olympian in hopes of breaking the university’s long-standing record. I was on the final lap of the race — a lap away from experiencing another nightmare.

I stepped onto the final barrier. My foot slipped on its slick surface. Tumbling into the water, I hit my shin. I was down. The filthy puddle splashed into my mouth, making me gag ...

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