Imagine being in the final year of your undergraduate degree, a double major with a place in a prestigious graduate school already lined up. You’re working two and sometimes three jobs, and time is at a premium.
So why would you take on a physically challenging, time-consuming class that, in all actuality, isn’t a requirement?
For Lindsay Dube, the answer was simple.
Diagnosed with muscular dystrophy, she didn’t know how long her body would let her take these kinds of chances. And she’s never been the type to shy away from a challenge.
She signed up, loaded her camping gear onto a bike, and spent her final spring break with her adventure media class taking on the Monumental Loop, a mountainous bike route in New Mexico, in one of the most physically demanding classes ever offered at Texas Tech.
The fifth day of the trip was a monster. It was the last full day on the trail – more than 45 miles, mostly on a flat gravel trail. Rain made the ride harder than it needed to be.
As dark settled, Dube and the rest of the class set up camp.
Every night they gathered to share their happies and crappies for the day in front of the group. This is a media class, so it was all documented.
The exhaustion from Dube was easy to spot as she started sharing.
“You were right; it was a slog out there,” she said as she started her crappy, the word slog drawn out in four syllables, emphasizing just how rough it was. “The second half of today was tough for me. I probably told a bunch of y’all, but I felt pretty fine all week, kind of holding my own. But the day we get on flat gravel, my legs were like fudge. I don’t know, something was crazy.
“I was struggling in the back, mentally. I was giving it everything I had, and people were still passing me. That’ll do a number on you.”
After a deep breath, Dube moved on to her happy.
“My happy is riding those last five miles in together,” she said. “We all grouped up and decided to do that together, and I think that was really, really important.
“I’m just really proud of myself, because I know that there will be a day…” she took a slight break in the thought to give the group context and insert a bit of a chuckle before continuing. “I’ve talked about this before, so this is not like a mic-drop – I have muscular dystrophy, and I know that there will be a day where I cannot do this.”
Two bricks sit just outside the Frazier Alumni Pavilion on Texas Tech University’s campus. They both have the Dube name on them.
The first was bought by Lindsay’s parents, Travis and Michelle. It says “Perseverance” and has their graduation year etched into it.
The second one is Lindsay’s and has the word “Thrive” inscribed.
“To me, it’s like they had to persevere so I could thrive,” Lindsay said. “So that’s what I’m doing.”
The Dube family story is a tale of fighting through adversity. They exemplify the grit and determination of Texas Tech.
Medical issues nearly derailed Travis and Michelle’s time in graduate school. As Travis tells it, professors and the university stepped up to make sure that didn’t happen, and the family made it through their tough times together.
“You know, any challenge life throws at you, you just have to persevere,” Michelle said. “It doesn’t matter what roadblocks are ahead of you, you find a way to get around them. And as a family, we persevere, and we’ve taught our kids to do that.”
The apple certainly didn’t fall far from the tree. Lindsay not only took on challenges, she actively sought them out.
In high school, she started working for the yearbook and found a niche she was interested in. By the time she came to Texas Tech, it seemed only natural to work for the college yearbook as well.
Soon after arriving, she applied to join the MILE program, a leadership group in the Davis College of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources. She also took on a second job with the alumni magazine. Before long she was editor of “the Agriculturist,” a student-led magazine from the Department of Agricultural Education & Communications.
Early in her final year at Texas Tech, she picked up yet another job working for the Office of Advancement.
In talking to her advisers and mentors, the workload – daunting to most people – was just what Lindsay was looking for.
“She never expects anybody to accommodate anything,” said Lindsay Kennedy, the director of the MILE program who also teaches the magazine production course. “She never expects special treatment. She’s just purely there to get the job done.”
When Dube applied to the adventure media class she was a shoo-in and there was little doubt from anyone involved she would be a success on the bike trail as well.
“I don’t think Lindsay had any sort of real expectation that she was going to be blowing people out of the water physically,” said Jerod Foster, one of the professors for the adventure media class. “But what you see about people like her is where she starts is not where she’s going to end up. Every time she’s on the bike, she’s getting better. Every time she’s behind the camera, she’s getting better.”
Dube is heading elsewhere for graduate school, but she’ll still be a Red Raider, working for the Office of Advancement remotely while completing her next educational step.
She started her graduate program this fall, and there’s little doubt from anyone at Texas Tech that she’ll make the most of it.
“She embodies the opposite of what a lot of people typecast her peers for,” said Erin Hornaday, a senior director in the Office of Advancement. “I dare anyone to hear her story and say she isn’t up for a challenge.”