New Year, New Challenges!
As I packed my bags to head down south for my annual trip to the Florida Keys, I couldn’t help but feel nostalgic, reflecting back on what a whirlwind year it’s been. I’ve learned so much over the past 12 months and have grown as a person, a friend, and as an entrepreneur.
Leading up to 2018, social media would attest that I was living ‘my best life.’ I had a gorgeous apartment with my best friend in a city I grew up in. I was dining out and hosting parties. I’d attend concerts and shows on the weekends when I wasn’t traveling, or better yet, I’d plan trips abroad for exotic getaways. What social media failed to reveal was my inner desire for a challenge.
On January 1st of last year, I started my first application to business school. I’d been thinking about going back to school for a while and spent months leading up to January researching different graduate programs, taking self-assessment exams, career tests, and meeting with a career consultant. In order to understand what challenge would be the right one, I knew I needed to be introspective and truthful with myself. Trust me… I considered a lot of different options before confirming that business school was the next step.
So, there I was, sitting at the kitchen table, starting my first of 14 applications the day after New Year’s Eve (minor headache included). A month in, I was frustrated with the application process. It was taking much longer than I expected because each application had several different essays and requested different components. Time was running out if I wanted to attend school in the fall, but preparing the applications, cramming for the GRE, and working full-time meant full speed ahead. Since MBA programs are competitive, I was advised to apply to as many schools as possible. What my career consultant really meant was “You’re a bit late in the application process and your math score is average.”
I worked hard to make sure the rest of my application was flawless with interesting essays, a perfectly formatted resume, an updated website and LinkedIn, and recommendation letters from highly-regarded individuals. In addition, I spent much time preparing for my in-person interviews and pressed my best business suit before meeting with admissions. For the next two months, I waited wait for responses, and prayed to God I got into the school of my choice. By the time March rolled around, I accepted a spot at one of my top choices, which was only a minor stepping stone on my journey.
The year had its ups and downs, but I like to believe many of the negative events were blessings in disguise. Part of my journey was traveled on a broken foot, which made the last few months before my move to D.C. extremely difficult. However, I spent quality time with my family before beginning graduate school. There was a time I didn’t believe I would be attending school in the fall, but it turned out I was granted multiple scholarships to MBA programs. I launched a blog and began publishing content to fill my own creative itch. I grew apart from people who were once close to me, which was sad at the time, but I had space in my heart to develop new friendships. 2018 was filled with many nights of frustration and tears over accounting and statistics, but I came out on top with straight A’s my first semester of school. I’ve started building my own network in D.C. by accepting work and opportunities as they have presented. My life has changed in so many ways.
The reason I’m sharing this is because I want you to take chances-- take real chances. It’s easy to be complacent when things are going well and life is stable, but don’t be afraid to make changes that could lead to your own self-fulfillment. Nevertheless, measure ten times and cut once; be sure you’re making a change for the right reason. Feed your soul despite what people may think or say. Most importantly, do not fall short because of your own insecurities. I can’t imagine if I listened to all of the voices around me:
My friends asked, “You have to take math classes, how are you going to pass?” “Business school is hard, how are you sure you’re going to like it?
My co-workers asked, “Why are you leaving the studio? You love it here.”
My Mom asked, “Why are you leaving Atlanta? Your family and friends are here?”
My Dad asked, “How are you going to afford it?”
My boyfriend asked me, “What does this mean for us?”
The little voice in my head asked, “Are you smart enough to do this?”
Don’t listen to the voices that discourage you, because hard work and dedication will always pay off. I promise it won’t be easy, but you can follow your dreams too. The new year is made for new challenges.