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Graduation Day

18 May

 

 

 

 

 

 

In 2002 I graduated from Simmons College, Boston, MA, with a degree in Public Relations and Marketing Communications. I never dreamed of continuing my education because in this field I figured all I would need is professional development. Well, I left Boston for a job in my hometown of Springfield, MA and soon realized I was bored. I had no friends except friends from work and those relationships were just starting. So when a graduate school college fair was in our cafeteria one day I decided to look into a program.

Things happened quickly and in less than 9 months since graduating from undergrad I was in school working towards a Master’s of Communications. I started and finished in 12 months. I was happy but realized this degree didn’t do much for me and I figured some day an MBA might be in order.

As you may have read I was laid off in 2008 and after sis months of looking for a job and then a looming recession I decided it was time to go into debt and works towards my MBA. Because I had one master’s I didn’t have to take the electives; however, Financial Aid said I wasn’t a full-time student without extra courses. So I took a few from the nonprofit program and was then convinced to take two more to get a certificate in NonProfit Management. And when in my first class was convinced to look into three more classes and making it a double master’s.

That is what I ended up doing. I spent a total of two years working for my MBA and a M.S. and today I have them. I didn’t plan anything but realized if I wanted to be marketable during the recession school was my only option besides being a full-time volunteer. And everything paid off, I have a wonderful job now and this past Sunday, May 15th, I walked with 689 other graduates. I wore both of my master’s hoods and while I only walked across stage once, they made a big deal about me and announced both degrees.

I felt extremely proud. I took a negative situation and turned it into a positive one, even though I wasn’t sure at sometimes just what I was doing. I was even more proud on this day because I have also become an Adjunct Professor at the same school I just graduated from, Bay Path College, and I got to see the seniors I taught walk across the stage and graduate. I made sure to hug each one of my on-campus students as they walked off stage; it was important for me to do. I wanted to hugmyonline students too but being online I didn’t really know what they looked like and didn’t want to mistake anyone. They all accomplished something huge; many of them had their own personal struggles and to know I was a part of their college career made me feel so proud.

I walked out of the building that day walking taller than ever before. Not only was I proud of my accomplishments over the past two years, I was proud of all my students and their accomplishments. Many of my friends who know me know I kid about it “being all about me” and yes, Sunday was about me but it was about more than me… it was about 690 graduates, some whose lives I touched, who are entering the world and ready to make history and to know I am part of that group but was also instrumental in some of these lives, I will forever be a proud graduate and never forget this day.

Thank you to all my friends and family who took this journey of self-discovery and self-realization with me. I am honored to have you in my life. ~xoxo

Could a Vacation Change Your Future?

3 May

Okay, I had the best intentions to write this sooner…like on the plane ride home but somehow I booked myself with work non-stop the minute I got off the plane.

For the past two years I have been out straight with life. As mentioned in previous posts I was laid off in June 2008. I enjoyed a wonderful summer of vacationing in Lake George but then reality set in come September ’08 and I needed a job…but the recession was settling in too. Skipping ahead to January 2009 I enrolled in graduate school and then my life became non-stop with school every week, even the summers. So it is safe to say that from January 2009 until January 2011 I had no vacation. For New Year’s this year I spent three days in Atlanta but that was a whirlwind and truly made me want more.

In April I had my chance! I was so hungry for a longer vacation period after my trip in January I booked my April vacation in February. I planned on spending the Easter holiday in Atlanta where my BFF lives. And wouldn’t you know she surprises me and we end up spending three of my six days in Venice Beach, Florida.

And oh was Venice nice. As someone who was used to the west coast of Florida; my brother used to live in Palm Beach, this was the first time I was ever on the east coast. The sand was white, the water blue, and of course the sun was out. We spent every day, event Easter Sunday, on the beach tanning and then watch the sun literally melt into the ocean every night.

I spent my last two days in Atlanta and have found my BFF’s Atlanta friends and I get along so well it was like I lived there too. And we all text, Facebook, etc. when I am not there so to have Monday night dinner with the girls, all four of us, was so nice. It made me feel right at home and honestly made me question my future… where I want to finally settle down. While I have made a nice life for myself in western MA I am not sure I truly fit here. I think I am more of a big city girl…and I do love warm weather!

My vacation was one of the best yet because I was able to let the outside world go (okay it took my two full days to get off email) and I was with people I really wanted to be with, but it definitely made me think about my future… is that what a vacation is supposed to do? Has this ever happened to you – have you gone on vacation and wondered should I move, am I really living in the right place?

One Door is Closing…Another One is Opening

17 Apr

It’s been a while since I have written and I apologize but I have a good reason – I was finishing my master’s program. See, I told you it was good! 🙂 Since March 2009 I have been in graduate school and I am finally done as of yesterday. Well, as long as I get a passing grade on my paper 😉

So as I said I have been in school since 2009. My life has been centered around school work and some Saturdays in school too. At times I admit, I was ready to walk away but I stuck with it and wow, two years later… I have to admit, anxiety definitely set in over the summer because I knew school was coming to an end. It was such a constant in my life – I didn’t have time to vacation, see all my friends, etc. – but I was stressing because I wasn’t sure what was next. If you don’t really know me (and many of you don’t), I don’t sit well; I can’t sit still for long. I take a day off to relax and by early to mid-afternoon I am bored and need to do something. So I was honestly worried what I was going to fill my time with next.

Well lo and behold last year around this time I met a new friend, on Twitter no less, Alfonso. Al, as I call him, and I have similar work backgrounds, ethics, habits, etc. and hit it off on the work front. While we both work in different venues we often collaborate and bounce ideas off one another. I have to admit it is nice to have someone who gets your work and has similar philosophies about work. Throughout the year we have had many different “conversations” about projects and most recently we have gotten more serious about a project which means I need not have anxiety anymore about my future… I am taken on a new role!

While I will continue to work full-time as a development professional and a college professor I am becoming the Chief Brand Officer for The Businews Channel. Have you heard of it??? Probably not because it is a new project Al and I are working on. I can’t tell you too much except the channel is launching in July and I will have my own show!!! Can you believe I have my own show?! I am not sure Al knows what he is getting into by giving me a mic and a camera, but then again after many nights and weekends working on this… he just might know and is willing to turn his head 😉

So as one door closes, school, I am opening up a new door. One of excitement and fun because as far as we know this has never been done before and by that I mean no one has ever given me access to a weekly show all about me! Okay, not all about me… but staring me  🙂  And I am only kidding about me; honestly we don’t think anyone has truly tried what Al and I are about to do and I am grateful Al thought I would be a good business partner for him. And I am grateful he is giving me something to do now that school is ending… but sorry he has to spend so much time with me. Poor guy knows about the color of my nails and toes, knows when I am cranky and moody because I haven’t had coffee yet, knows the stare I have when I am wearing sunglasses, and knows when I am not in heels clicking down the hallway something is usually wrong.

So as I look towards May 15 and graduation…oh yes, I am rocking my cap and gown for a little pomp and circumstance I ask you to take a look at my new venture. It’s gonna be awesome and not just because I am involved or have a show but because I truly believe in the concept and the people who are going to be joining Al and I too on this venture.   http://www.youtube.com/TheBusinewsChannel

Hope you enjoy!

Are You Your Own Worst Enemy? Always Wanting More Time?

29 Mar

So Many Things… So Little Time…

It’s been a few days since I was on here and not because I had nothing to say but because I had no time. Every time I turn around lately there is something else I need to do. I often get a little break and get excited I have time, but then I really don’t as something else pops up. And this is partly because I don’t know what to do with myself when I have time on my hands…so I book myself with more. Basically, I am my own worst enemy!

I like to think I want free time and maybe I do but I honestly don’t know what to do with myself once I have it so I ask my friends how I can help them. I find new organizations to be involved in, new projects to work on, etc. And out of the 52 weeks a year I may actually be in the “pulling my hair out” phase about 15-20 weeks a year. All in all, this isn’t too bad considering the amount of weeks in a year but still I am sure some of my friends would appreciate it is I was more available during these 15-20 weeks. And if I wasn’t saying “I just need two more hours in a day!” I always feel like I leave my friends in the dust during my busy times.

More recently I took on a new position, one I am truly passionate about, but my time becomes compromised with this new role as well. I am a professional fundraiser so more often than not I am at events, meetings, dinners, etc. to make new connections and to continue fostering the current relationships I have. I also organize and run three volunteer committees. And my territory to do this in – four counties spanning about half of the state of Massachusetts. What I found though is while this seems like work to many, it isn’t for me. I love meeting people and hearing their stories. I love finding ways I can help and I honestly don’t mind driving. It took a while to get here but I know I finally found my passion and when you find it you too will feel like I do – this isn’t work; it’s part of your mission.

I would be remiss if my friends read this and I don’t mention I am finishing my third master’s degree (a doctorate to come one day), I am an adjunct professor at a local college, a gym instructor, and sit on two boards. An, I even help a friend on occasion with his business. I am not one to toot my own horn, I am oddly humble in that sense but I know my friends are proud of my accomplishments so I am learing to be as well. Frankly, I feel like a “goodie-two-shoe” or an “overacheiver” if I mention all that I do. I don’t want to show anyone up, that is never my intention, I just like to stay busy.

There are many days I leave my house at 4:30 in the morning only to get home between 9:00 and 10:00 pm only to do it all again the next day. I admit, some days this isn’t easy but I do what I do not because I need to stay busy but I love what I do. I have found areas I feel deeply about and have invested my time in to them. When I do have free time I sit on my couch with my dog and inevitably fall asleep; I could waste a whole afternoon napping. Some days, this feels good but to do this every day doesn’t make sense to me; hence the busy schedules I keep. However, my proudest accomplishment in juggling all of the moving pieces – if a friend or family member needs me I make it happen. I may not see many friends or talk to them on a regular basis but if any one of my friends needed me (and my family too) I make it happen because at the end of the day jobs will come and go but true friends will always stay.

My question to you today – are you your own worst enemy with time?

New Beginnings

1 Mar

June 2008 was a devastating time for me. I was laid off from my job and didn’t know where to turn. At 28 years old I didn’t know what was next; all I had was my part-time fitness instructor job. I spent the summer working out, going to the beach, and looking for a new job.

But somehow it was January 2009 before I knew it and the ten interviews I had in six months went nowhere. It was at this time I was encouraged to go back to school. After a long conversation with my parents, I decided school seemed like the logical answer. I figured if I was unable to join the workforce I would at least find ways to stay competitive and current – working towards my MBA. I also started doing a lot of volunteer work and free consulting work. This allowed me to expand my already large network, but it was in some of these volunteer and consulting jobs where I met my biggest cheerleaders.  

Fast forward to today and I am finishing my degree, final project/paper left, and I two jobs – full-time development officer for a local nonprofit and adjunct faculty member at a local college, the same college I am finishing my master’s. For two years I wondered when I would find a job again, one that fit me, and now I have it. School is no longer my crutch to keep me going or keep me busy. For 20 months it was my be all end all and the light is not at the end of the tunnel. While I am happy to be done, I am sad to see it go. I am shutting the door on a chapter of my life that truthfully made me “me” and opening a new door, one that will only see me continue to grow. Bittersweet…

Looking back I was so bitter about losing my job. While not the perfect fit nor what I wanted to do with the rest of my life, I was good at what I did; I spent four years doing it. I was well-respected and well paid; I was 28 and making close to $60,000 a year. I don’t think it was until June 2010, about two years later, when I finally stopped being bitter. Up until that time I still wanted to egg the houses of my ex-bosses (so mature I know!).

Very few knew I was bitter because I hid it well and didn’t share my feelings but I knew I was until somehow, one day I felt like a light bulb went off; the bitterness I felt stopped. Instead I was thankful for the time off, renewed friendships, new friendships and new experiences, new connections, and a new sense of self. While I spent my life saying “everything happens for a reason” I was finally able to realize it and accept this time. I finally realized the two and a half years I spent out of work, in school, and in a constant state of show and flux was only to lead me down a better path; one that was meant for me.

I am not going to lie, some days I wish it hadn’t taken me until 30 to figure out the rest of my life but I am glad it finally happened at 30 and not 40! I am also extremely glad I went back to school for my master’s. It was the glue that held me together from March 2009 until December 2010, without it I am not sure I would be here today. If it wasn’t for school I would have laid in bed all day as I didn’t have too many reasons to get out of bed on a daily basis; it kept me going when I didn’t want to. I wasn’t going to hurt myself but I admit I had some days where I just wanted to hide under the covers and never come out. School was my “drug” to keep me from slipping into a depression so it will be weird not have to write a paper or read three books in a week anymore.

While starting ym job in January was a new beginning leaving school behind will also be a new beginning. One filled with time for family and friends and working on new ventures (yet to be determined). All I know is while I am sad to see school go I am happy at the possibilities it created for me as well as the possibilities it leaves me with I have not encountered yet. Here’s to you school for helping me find my way.

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