And in the end ...
I have not contributed nearly as much as I had hoped to this blog.
I have been a blogger for two years and neither year was I able to contribute as much as I though I would be able to. However, the past two years, I have grown more as a person than I thought possible before coming to Fisher. So much so, it is difficult for me to wrap my head around everything that has happened and condense it into simple blog posts that could be easily digested by prospective students. This experience has been such a developmental one that it is hard for me to fathom anyone connecting to it without it looking like over the top, dramatized platitudes.
Moving to Columbus from Detroit, I was familiar with adapting to new environments, living in a large city, and making my way without much guidance. That was how I began my time here. I figured I could get by just fine on my own, without depending on many people because that has always been how I operated. My life entering the MLHR program two years ago was completely different than it is now. So much so, I'm not sure I would recognize myself from that time. I started here in a long-term relationship, with my girlfriend moving with me. I was excited and nervous about courses and whether or not I had the ability to do well. Questions constantly circled about how I could find and internship, could I get a job, as well as a number of personal issues that still had to be dealt with.
Being someone who always felt that needing help indicated a sign of weakness, I went through the first year not connecting with many on a real level. I knew the people in my Cohort were great people, but I kept a distance so as not to appear I couldn't do something on my own. As the summer came and went, the relationship I was in ended and I was working as an intern at ExxonMobil in Texas. Now as background, my family did not come from means in any sense. Therefore, I did not leave my home state of Michigan until I was 25. Therefore, living in a new state, in a new work environment, and being newly single created so many obstacles for me to climb, and each one being faced head on. I found a new confidence in my ability and further engrained the thought that I can do anything on my own. This thought was further confirmed by being extended a full-time job offer at the end of the summer.
Coming back to Columbus, I was excited to see the people I had missed over the summer. While I had been extremely successful professionally over the summer, there was a new void. Being used to having someone around all the time is undoubtedly something that was missed upon my return. However, I did not feel I had connected with many in my cohort, which lead to a sense of isolation. I didn't have the courage nor did I think it was necessary to really open up. This isolated feeling lead to a lack of confidence in myself. As if, while I am smart and have a lot of interestes, I didn't have the ability to truly connect with people. That has been a challenge for me the entire year. However, as with everyone, there have been challenges for me this year for which I needed a support system. Luckily, I have found some members of my Cohort who have truly been people I feel I will forever be able to lean on and will desperately hold on to for as long as possible.
Wes Lin - Wes was the first person I met at the awkward mingling thing that was part of our first year orientation. We are roughly the same age, although, for the record, I believe he is older. (I just say that to make myself feel better.) Wes was someone that I did connect with very early in the first year. Perhaps it was the age, perhaps it was because we are both secret nerds, who knows. But going through personal turmoil, Wes was always someone I could depend on talking to without being judged and would get sound advice. Even if it was to stop being an idiot...sometimes that the best advice to give.
Rachel Brokaw - Rachel and I talked very little in the first year, mostly during group get-togethers. Early this year there seemed to be a perfect storm of my personal problems, coordinating group work, and a lack of desire by others to go to the VC that caused us to socialize more. While I was going through some of the worst personal crises of my life, Rachel became someone that I could confide in. I knew after a short period of time that, similar to Wes, I could open up to her and not be judged by the difficulties that were thrust upon me. In addition to that, in my personal opinion, she is without question one of the hardest working people I have ever met. I have the deepest respect for what she is able to do with her time and still be successful at all of it. Her work ethic inspires me every time I talk to her.
Rebecca Zurek - Rebecca was the absolute first living soul I met when coming to Fisher. My first thought was "this person has to be the most energetic woman ever, I'm too old for all this." We were always friendly, but again, it was not until this year that we became close. We have come to depend on each other during various emotional roller coasters. We are rarely the thing that brings the coaster back up, or relieve the anxiety of a steep drop, but are always there as the safety bar to hold onto and feel safer.
Micaela Savage - Only in the last few weeks has Micaela become close...this may be a case of too little too late. As is a theme, I have come to trust her opinions and her friendship. I have a tendency to be a little on the negative side, so having a friend who can call me out without judging is a pretty good deal.
There are just a few of the people in the Cohort that have helped me the most during this very trying year. I could list so many others who have had an incredible impact on my life and who I hope to stay friends with for a long time to come. Jen Hunt, Shawn Henderson, Amber Stephens, Stacey Falardeau, Dana Wagner, the list goes on.
The point of all this is to say, while I am still the same person I was when I started, I am very different. I have learned, almost more importantly than the class work, that I absolutely cannot do everything alone. I need people around me to lean on. I need people I can trust and who can push me, put my in my place, bring me up, and let me do the same for them. I do not have a large supportive family like many of my classmates, but I am able to create my own if I choose the right people to spend my time with. Luckily, this Cohort was not lacking in amazing people to let into my life.
Thank you to everyone I listed here. You have all made a larger impact on my life than you could truly know. To those not listed, please do not take offense. I will remember this group for a long, long time. Especially since half of you are coming to Houston with me.
Good luck to everyone. I wish nothing be success for all of you, and if I can ever be there for any of you the way some of you were here for me, you know where I'll be.
Peace and Love