Where do I begin? I guess I’ll start with this: I am so much happier now than 365 days ago. Leaving Chicago one year earlier than planned was a great decision, and moving to New York was an even better one!
In March 2015, I wrote about leaving Boston for Chicago, and a year later, I mentioned leaving Chicago for a summer in New York and New Jersey with fall plans in Southern California to finish graduate school remotely from there. Those plans changed too..
Until July, my plan for a fall in Southern California was still on.. But several signs kept encouraging me to stay in the Northeast. I ended up signing a one-year lease for a NYC apartment with my wonderful roommate Sarah (thanks for helping us find this place, Claire!). I’m glad I stayed. My time in NYC is making up for the tough year in Chicago in more ways than I imagined. Even though I still think I’ll eventually end up back in Boston, I don’t see myself leaving NYC anytime soon.
It’s been a year since I’ve updated this blog, and two years since I first started it. In my January 2016 post, I mentioned that I wanted to publish at least one public blog post per month. That lasted three months. This year, I’ve got a new, tailored goal: post two times a year. It’s not that I don’t have anything to write about, but it’s what I feel comfortable sharing versus keeping to myself. HBR recently published the article Why You Should Make Time for Self-Reflection (Even If You Hate Doing It), and in high school, my incredible teacher would have us take a moment and reflect on the highlights of our day. He told us no matter how challenging some days may be, there is almost always something positive in the midst of chaos. So, here are some of my highlights:
During my summer 2016 consulting internship, I was aligned to the Media & Entertainment industry. I worked with an amazing team on a fun client in Orlando, and collaborated with other interns to research and present on M&E Analytics. I’ve traditionally been interested in Life Sciences, but I’m glad I tried something different and learned something new.
I Airbnb’d a sublet in Union City, NJ, from June through August, and I admire the way my hosts built a strong sense of community by taking us out for breakfast and organizing karaoke nights. Getting to know everyone, including Ria, Azalea, Julia, and Marcel, was a blast! S&J, thank you for hosting me. I may have to take a page out of your book one of these days!
Some friends and I turned the mid-August series of unfortunate events into something positive. Though we didn’t get a full refund, we were able to change our perspective and view the experience as an investment. An investment in not only helping us realize the truth about some people, but also in bringing us even closer together. They say misery loves company, and boy, we sure were happy to have each other during that emotionally and financially exhausting experience.
My parents, who have a long-distance relationship, celebrated their 30-year anniversary in October. I loved spending quality time with the family on a weekend cruise to Ensenada and then again over Christmas in NYC. Can’t wait for our next family trip. In addition to my immediate family, I appreciate my extended family. Special shout out to cousin Vinnie who not only helped me with my Python homework, but also flew to Boston and drove across the country from Maine to SoCal with me.
I enjoy attending alumni events and reading alumni relations newsletters from universities and organizations that I have been a part of. Kudos to those who have truly kept me engaged and encouraged me to give back in one way or another. An alumni relations connection is actually how I ended up in my current short-term contract. Since December, I have been involved in design thinking/human-centered design and social innovation work with a Wicked awesome team. Learning from Colleen and Kate has been an energizing experience—I’ve already witnessed improvement in my professional and personal development as a result of their effective coaching, proactive mentorship, and sincere friendship. Last night, I was on the alumni panel at the Bentley 2021 NYC Meet and Greet hosted by Morgan Stanley. I hope the incoming class loves Bentley as much as I did (and still do). To this day, I still value my Bentley experience and how much it has shaped who I am today.
I found a way to make the MSLOC program work for me, and moving away for my second year of graduate school made me feel less terrible about attending class virtually (see last year’s blog post for more context). Even though I personally would have still preferred a true in-person full-time student immersive experience, I was able to gain more appreciation for online classes. On March 11th, I presented my Capstone on Using Social Identity Theory to Understand Membership Negotiations in Rotational Development Programs, and on March 24th, my degree was officially conferred! Filling out the exit survey was aggravating, but it is best to provide honest feedback in hopes of seeing improvement in the future. Now that I have this master’s degree under my belt, what’s next? #LifelongLearner
As I get older, my tolerance for bullsh*t severely decreases, and I’ve learned that it’s OK. To maintain my patience, I can practice the life-changing magic of tidying up (a la Marie Kondo) along with mindfulness and meditation techniques. Last year, I started getting my sweat on at OrangeTheory Fitness classes. While I still love these classes and try to make my way to a studio once in awhile, the Manhattan/Chelsea studio charges a premium fee. Irene, one of my favorite Boston friends, got me hooked on the Kayla Itsines workouts when she visited NYC a few months ago. I started the 12-week challenge on January 9th and successfully made it through Week 6. I’ve had to repeat Weeks 7 and 8 a couple of times, but I’ve become forgiving of myself because I get back up and keep going. I took a week off when I was sleep-deprived and balancing graduate school with my full-time job. At first I was disappointed in myself, but one of my colleagues had a good point: sometimes well-being is about being mindful and listening to our bodies so that we can adjust accordingly versus forcing ourselves to exercise. On that note, I’d say I’ve been doing just fine. There are still other things I need to work on, but slow progress is better than no progress! It means I’m still moving forward.
Today, I’m another year older. I’ve come to realize that I may need to change my “Thirty Before Thirty” bucket list to a “Thirty-Five Before Thirty-Five” one. Other activities and priorities have come up along the way, and I’m ok with that! I have a lot to look forward to this year, including celebrating Cinco de Mayo in Orlando, traveling to Basque Country with my wonderful super cool dope epic sister, closing out the Bentley Centennial festivities, attending more weddings, hopefully meeting more of my cousins’ children abroad, and launching my consulting career in August. I also promised my roommate that I would finally give the NYC dating scene a shot now that I’m no longer spending weekends doing homework. So, friends, set me up on a date, send me your app recommendations, or simply wish me luck! 😉
Before I sign off, I’ll leave you with this: design a life you love, and remember, it’s a iterative process!