I’m a few days late on this reflection, folks, but I hope you’ll forgive me for that!
2012 was a year that I decided to LEARN. I understand that in the best of cases, you learn every day, regardless of what decisions you make at the start of each year, but I did some very intentional learning this year. And at the same time, learned a few lessons completely by accident. So let’s get this thing going!
2012 was a year that I learned about love. I started 2012 in a relationship, and ended 2012 out of one. But I think that the key words that can be used in this whole process are mature and significant. I don’t have a problem saying that my last relationship was the most mature and significant one of my short life. And yet, in moving on from it, those same words apply. I hold no ill will as I move forward from that time in my life, and I know that I am a better person for many of the lessons that I gained from that relationship as well as from how it ended. What will 2013 hold for me in this arena? No idea, but we shall see!
2012 also, as the word might imply, taught me about education. Namely, how important it is to me. When the year started, the next steps in my educational journey were far less defined than they are now. I was looking toward doing something completely different from the path I’m going down right now. What a difference a year makes! Rather than looking forward to a degree in public health, I’ve now decided to start my journey toward a PhD or EdD in higher education. I intend to spend that time studying the role that introversion has on student engagement practices, and how institutional processes to select, train, and retain student leaders effectively (or ineffectively) engage introverted students. I’m really excited to start that journey, and hope that 2013 is the year that it will start!
2012 taught me about adventure. If you had asked me where I thought I would be on January 2, 2013, I would probably say that I’d be heading back to Tallahassee from Tampa, getting ready to start my second spring semester at Florida State University in my role as Assistant Director of Student Activities. But most of you reading know that’s not where I am. I took a leap this year, a bigger one than I ever expected to, and far bigger than I ever thought I was capable of. I left my job at FSU after 14 months to accept a position at Emmanuel College in Boston. It was one of the most difficult decisions I’ve ever made, but also one of the best ones. This move and this new position has given me the opportunity to reconnect with old friends, make countless new ones, and explore aspects of myself professionally that I may have never explored if I had stayed at FSU. I am so incredibly grateful for the wonderful students and incredible staff that I worked with while there, and miss them often. But this is a fit, and I look forward to the next set of adventures awaiting me this year!
2012 was a year of learning about religion and spirituality. One of my most specific goals for 2012 was to explore my faith, and I have done that. I work at a faith-based institution now, and am learning how to fit into that sort of a community in a way I never thought I could when I first started job searching. I found a place of worship that I really enjoyed in Tallahassee, and am continuing that search here in Boston. I’ve learned about other faiths and made attempts to be inclusive as I plan holiday celebrations on campus. And I’m starting to learn more about myself and my faith as I continue exploring these issues. There are big questions associated with religion and spirituality, and I’m far from done confronting those lessons and thinking about them. But I committed to making a conscious start, and this year I will commit to building on that start.
And lastly, 2012 was a year of contemplating next steps. We don’t often take enough time away from where we are, to figure out where we’re going, and where we ultimately want to be. I made more strides toward my ultimate goals this year (to be influential in my field, to connect with more people, to move toward a terminal degree) than I ever expected, and look forward to doing the same with each passing year. Other challenges may come up (Apartment hunting! Relationships! Health!), but I’m prepared to move forward and see what strides will be made in the coming year in that area.