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Belles Beyond the Avenue - Patty Duffy '10

A multi-part image. Left side has text reading

A letter Saint Mary's alumna Patty Duffy '10, MSN, FNP-C, penned to her younger self.


Dear younger self,

Hello from the future. Just writing to let you know things all work out. The hard work that you put in to obtaining your nursing degree has led to a worthwhile career. You found a job as a critical care nurse, and your passion for learning and advancing yourself led you to take on more debt and go to grad school to become a Nurse Practitioner. You moved out of the Midwest and are working at a clinic in Arizona. It’s not quite as adrenaline-producing as the ICU was, but you enjoy the challenges it presents all the same.

Everything that you ever needed to handle life has already existed inside you.  Being a student-athlete at Saint Mary's has prepared you for all of the things that life has/will throw your way. Being a student-athlete, you faced challenges that the N.A.R.Ps (Non Athletic Regular People) didn’t - time management, prioritizing wants vs needs, putting in hard work to achieve success of both mind and body, working behind the scenes to bring your best for game time and also to succeed in the classroom. Being a student-athlete also has taught you lessons and given you perks… you understand the true meaning of working as a team. Your college teammates have turned into your family. They are your support system that you know you can turn to for anything.

It taught you leadership, and that many times leadership doesn’t mean standing on top of the mountain and yelling out orders. Rather it is most effective when it comes from lifting others up around you and giving them the support and courage they need to blossom. It taught you the power you wield when you make others around you feel important. That understanding and love of team work has earned you recognition throughout your career and by your teammates.

Being a student-athlete taught you to take risks. It taught you that trying your best is all anyone can ever ask for. You understand the meaning of leaving it all out on the field/court. When you’re tired and at the end of your rope, you can ask yourself – did I try my best? Did I give it my all? And you can trust your answer because you’ve been placed in that situation before. You know your edge. You know when you can push more, and you know when you've given your all.  And that has allowed you to grow immensely. Your love of sports has changed your life for the better. It introduced you to rugby, which, turned into the opportunity to represent the Philippines on the national stage as you earned a spot on the Filipino National Rugby team, medaling in every tournament you played in. It not only allowed you to travel the world but to also make new friends and connections.

So. Keep working. Keep pushing. Keep grinding. Keep valuing friendships and family. Be true to yourself. Stay weird. The world is such a serious place already – add some spice. Take risks. Adversity is no stranger to you. Remember, everything you've ever needed to get through life already exists inside you.

“I am the gardener

And I am the seed.”


Older self


Patty Duffy is a 2010 Saint Mary's alumna who graduated with a degree in nursing. Originally from Chicago, Illinois, Patty was a four-year member of the soccer team and a two-year member of the basketball team. She was the Class of 2010's Lumen Christi Award winner, becoming the first student-athlete to earn one of the College's highest individual accolades. Patty has a master's degree in nursing and is a certified nurse practioner.