The secret’s out: I’m not a great long-distance friend. Lots of folks have been promised updates of greater length than a text, Tweet, or SnapChat and I’ve chosen to take the easy way out with a one-size fits all blog post. I know it may not be the promised phone call, but I hope you enjoy!
If you’re way out of the loop, then you need to know that I finished up my Master of Arts in Higher Education Administration at Ball State University last July. Just before graduation I made the move from Michigan via Indiana to Fort Collins, CO. Never in my life had I ever considered Colorado as a potential landing spot for my first post- grad school job, but I was lucky enough to be in a right-time, right-place scenario.
Working with non-profit association volunteers and events, I have almost been with Synergos, AMC for a year. Currently I work heavily with the Association of Fraternity/Sorority Advisors and the Association of Fraternal Leadership & Values to engage both college students and professionals as a part of their Association membership. Since starting last July, I’ve been fortunate to work with an excellent team with our company’s staff in the office and our volunteers who are spread across North America.
While my skills in higher ed have been put to good use mentoring some undergraduate and graduate interns at our annual conferences and providing thoughts to improve education in our client programs, I’ve also developed skills in areas I hadn’t previously considered. My job has helped me to become more adept at relationship development, gain experience with major events and programs, and create an understanding of the non-profit world. I’ve also picked up fun tidbits along the way by sharpening my travel skills (I’m almost officially a Frequent Flyer), developing a general working knowledge of craft beer, and learning how to single-handedly buy $600 worth of groceries at an inner-city Wal-Mart. If you’ve ever gotta do that last thing, consider asking for carry-out assistance and don’t bring a sedan.
My job is great, but assimilating to life in Fort Collins hasn’t been the easiest transition. Much of my initial struggle when moving here centered on my apartment: a 100-year-old and 300 square-foot studio apartment in a great location was unfortunately hindered by an extremely nearby (read: 20 feet from my bed) booming train and lack of working heat. Without being able to get comfortable in my own space, I struggled to “buy-in” to my new community. Fortunately luck worked in my favor this February when I found a less central but much larger space further from the train and closer to my comfort zone. Moving to my new place has mostly been a blessing, but I’ve definitely discovered how quickly living on your own can add up… especially when you’re not in West Michigan.
I can’t say that I’m exceptionally “busy” here as I have been in the past, but I’ve fortunately made a few great friends and work with amazing colleagues who have helped to make Fort Collins feel like home. If you don’t already know, making friends post-grad in a college town in your early twenties is tough and a constant work-in-progress. For the first time in my life I didn’t walk into a classroom, living center, fraternity house, or cohort with insta-friends. It has been a year of uncomfortable growth that’s pushed me farther than I once thought I could go, and I’m proud to say that I’m now at a place where I’m ok with my social life being in flux.
Lots of people like to ask “what’s new”, and it has become my dreaded question as my life seems relatively routine. However, I’ve gotten to travel a lot in the last twelve months for both personal reasons and work. I co-led a trip to New Orleans to serve Habitat For Humanity with 21 college students, supervised 35 graduate and undergraduate interns at three major association conferences in Indianapolis and Costa Mesa, re-engaged as a volunteer for Delta Sigma Phi’s Regional Leadership Academy in Santa Clara, and experienced the Northeast in February for the first time since high school. I’ve been fortunate to travel home several times to visit with family and friends, and most recently was able to spend time with much of my family in North Dakota for my cousin’s high school graduation. Also, I got to go to Disneyland!
There’s a lot coming up this summer too. In two weeks I’ll embark on a nine-day trip to Boston and Cape Cod where I’ll experience the area for the first time while being responsible for the planning of my first multi-day conference. Immediately after that I’m returning back to Michigan to spend some much needed time on the lake with friends, and cruising the Westside to visit loved ones for the 4th of July weekend. Later in July I’ll be at my first ever LeaderShape as the Program Coordinator at our session in UCLA, and I’ll be traveling home in August and September to participate in the wedding festivities of two close friends as their Best Man. Clearly there is a lot to look forward to and a lot of busy weekends ahead!
Other random news: I’ve been marathoning lots of shows on Netflix, but I think my favorite will probably always stay Arrested Development. I have now scored over 1,000,000 points in Tetris ten times over. My new ride this year is a 2009 Ford Escape. Last Friday I went to my first TEDx event. And, for some reason, I thought it was a good idea to get a season pass to a local theme/water park.
The door is always open in my train-free apartment for a visitor, so consider stopping on by. Wishing all of my friends a safe, fun, and warm start to their summer!