2015: The Turning Point Year

When I started 2015, I had a feeling that it would be a good year.  I knew it would be different and that 2015 would bring with it time for change and growth in myself. I knew things would be different than in previous years, but I never anticipated just how impactful and transformational the year would be for me.

Three big things happened that changed my plans: I graduated with my Master’s degree, I traded a crappy job for a new and much improved one and my brother got married.

Graduating with my Master’s was much more than just an educational and professional milestone, it was much more of a personal milestone as well.  I ended up learning so much more than I anticipated, meeting people I wouldn’t have come in contact with otherwise, and grew my fondness for my alma mater, all the while building a solid foundation on which to create my career.

With that, I worked on a capstone that left me passionate about philanthropy and the Millennial generation.  I grew and built skills that left me with solid experience to start a career. It allowed me to be reflective of my own self – something I don’t think schools do enough of – and my self-awareness exploded as a result. I didn’t anticipate how much I would grow as a person.  I knew what I wanted out of life, especially when it came to my career. It changed my dynamic and ignited my passions, which led me to quit my not-so-stellar part-time job and start building myself up as soon as I could.

But it didn’t go exactly as I planned.  2015 was the year I was going to end my time in Buffalo and head out west. But as 2015 progressed, Buffalo is where I would stay.  After a debilitating journey searching for jobs, I found one that stuck.  I joined the Hilbert College staff in October as a Communications and Engagement Coordinator in the Institutional Advancement office. It was the perfect blend of building on my experience, incorporating my love of writing, and my knowledge of philanthropy.

The job is still relatively young and every day brings with it a new chance to grow and learn something I didn’t know or have been able to apply. The best part is I’ve gotten comfortable with my voice, being able to contribute my ideas and hold conversations that allow me to contribute all I’ve worked on while also taking in more from the great people I work with. It’s been a fast few months working there, but I can see just how much I am able to help while continue to develop as a professional.  It is very much a place that functions for what I need as a professional – an environment that encourages listening, communication, feedback and teamwork.  Every element was missing from my last place of employment which was draped in dysfunction.  In a sense, that dysfunction allowed me to clearly see what I needed in the workplace to work to the most of my potential.

In between the ending point of graduating and the starting point of launching my career was a period of time to focus on myself.  It was a tough time trying to navigate job searching, but I also had plenty of time to myself and to take a break.  I spent more time with my family than I otherwise wouldn’t have had the luxury to. It helped that my brother was getting married and we all pitched it to try and make it a special day for Paul and Katie.

In that period, while a job seemed so out of reach, my family was right there and I was growing and nurturing my relationships with them.  I can honestly say at this point in my life, I am the closest to my family than I have ever been before.  That has been the greatest gift of 2015.  I feel like I have not just grown myself – professionally and personally – but my relationships have strengthened as well. I now feel more confident that the support I hold in my family can get me through anything.  It goes to show that even the darkest and hardest of experiences can bring the greatest and most special of blessings.

I look at 2015 as one of the major turning points in my life, if not the greatest turning point so far. I wrapped up my education (for now) but continue to learn.  I’ve come to the greatest sense of closeness with my family and continue to value and work on all the relationships in my life. Most of all I’ve grown in self-awareness and grown to see that life isn’t what we plan, but how we make due when our plans bite the dust. I did plan on 2015 being a big year, but it surprised me on where it would lead me. I’ve seen that life can be a crazy ride that leaves me excited for what is next.  I am actively and openly searching for ways to challenge myself and extend my ambition.

Now I see that 2016 will be the year of putting this momentum to the test. It’ll be rolling up my sleeves and continuing to work hard, learn and continue to push myself. It’ll be taking the potential I have gained and finally making movement from it.

Here’s to 2016 and the continued change and exciting experiences that await!

What are your greatest moments of 2015? What do you think 2016 has in store? Sound off in the comments section below!

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