Hello Again, World!

Second Post Struggles

When I first started my blog and shared the link on social media, I wasn’t sure who were actually going to read it. Surprisingly, TheAlexaConnection.com reconnected me (no pun intended) with some friends and extended family members who I haven’t spoken to in years, brought me closer to friends who I already talked to regularly, and allowed me to develop stronger relationships with those who were initially acquaintances (shout out to CP and JJ) — it is amazing how one post sparked up several offline conversations. I know it has now been almost ten months since my first blog post, and several of you have been asking about updates to my blog, so I decided to finally rip off the Band-Aid!

I have learned a lot about myself over the last few months, especially since I have had more time to truly reflect. I realized that while I do not necessarily mind sharing some things one-on-one, I find myself more self-conscious and shy when I write about them publicly. I completed a few more items on my Thirty Before Thirty bucket list and even drafted a blog post about the 7-Day Fitness Retreat at PhuketFit back in May, but I did not feel comfortable posting it because it started to get really personal when I discussed the challenges of getting back in shape. While I have decided that there are some posts I am going to keep private, one of my 2016 New Year’s resolutions is to publish at least one public blog post per month, especially since I am no longer living a nomadic lifestyle and have settled into my on-campus apartment in Evanston. Here it goes!

Adjusting to Evanston

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#TeamSirWagsalot Holiday Dinner!

Even though I have lived in multiple places, moving to a new city is still challenging. During the summer quarter, family and friends visited the Chicago area for one reason or another, so the change of scenery did not hit me right away. As I transitioned into the fall quarter, however, I started to feel lonely. Those of you who know me really well know that I tend to make friends and build relationships fairly easily, but my current environment makes this more difficult. Yes, I am in grad school and chose the MSLOC program primarily for its curriculum and collaborative nature, but the majority of MSLOC candidates are part-time students who work full-time whereas I am a full-time student who works part-time.

Because classes take place in the evenings, I am often unable to hang out with friends who work full-time and are free when I am in class. I tried joining the clubs of other grad programs to meet more full-time students, but I still felt like an outsider because everyone else already knew each other very well. Even though I tried to avoid thinking about this too much, our MSLOC Foundations professors emphasized the significance of reflecting (along with the proper ways of reflecting) and I was bound to face my thoughts and feelings eventually . #ReflectingOutLoud on The Hive, MSLOC’s online social collaboration platform powered by Jive Software, turned out to be very therapeutic, and several classmates reached out to me with support and encouragement.

Note: Fall 2015 MSLOC 410 Foundations students have access to the reflection post here. If you do not have access to the post but are interested in reading and/or learning more about it, please let me know — I’d be happy to share the reflection post with you privately. 

My third quarter of grad school, while busy, is off to a great start both personally and professionally:

  • I constructed my Reflected Best Self Portrait for MSLOC 420 (Accelerating Learning & Performance) at the end of last quarter and discovered that family, friends, and colleagues consider these my top three strengths: building & maintaining relationships, positivity & optimism, and coaching & support. This exercise continues to bring out the optimistic realist in me — I consider this challenging environment as a learning opportunity and a way to further push myself out of my comfort zone. I have taken several steps to power through, including going to the bar alone, reaching out to a Bentley alumna who is a part-time student at Kellogg (thank you for your “People you may know” algorithm, LinkedIn), attending meetups, maintaining relationships with classmates and team members who have become friends, interacting with non-MSLOC students during recruiting season, etc.
  • I was inspired by this quote from a blog that I subscribe to: “I left there with zero new friends, but I left there knowing that from now on, I don’t need that plus one in order to say yes to an adventure. I am good enough, brave enough, and excited enough to go to places all by my 27-year-old self.” -Jen Glantz, From How to go to Events Alone – The Things I Learned From.
  • I had my mid-year review with my Resident Director last week, and overall, I have thus far exceeded expectations as a Graduate Housing Assistant.
  • I experienced my first set of case interviews in the past few weeks and I am excited to progress to the next round of interviews with multiple firms.
  • I booked a flight to Denmark for spring break to visit my cousin Lala and her husband Thomas and meet their adorable little boy. Hillary, my birthday buddy, will also be joining us. I look forward to exploring another country!

MSLOC 430 – Creating & Sharing Knowledge

I am currently taking Jeff Merrell’s Creating & Sharing Knowledge course, where we are encouraged to write blog posts on a related topic of interest. I am interested in exploring how Enterprise Social Networks (ESNs) drive individual and team behavior and/or performance in the context of change management — I will be blogging on my #msloc NUsite.

That’s all for now, folks! Next month I’ll post updates on what I have crossed off my Thirty Before Thirty bucket list. Stay tuned!

-Alexa

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