In Bloom: A Reflection on a Season of Growth

Hello my precious little corner of the intranet, I’ve missed you so much! I’ve returned from [yet another] much needed hiatus. No matter how much content I have planned or ideas I put to paper, every year I find that I need a bit of a break from the world of blogging and social media.

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Blogging has always been a creative outlet for me and a huge passion, but in the last few months, I lost the drive and passion I had for it. It honestly started to feel like a second job, and that was NEVER my intention. I found myself questioning my writing, and consistently worrying about what my people thought and if I was being judged (ridiculous I know). More often than not, we as humans have a tendency to allow fear to control us. It’s so easy to fall into the comparison game with other bloggers, especially since we only use social media as a highlight reel, as opposed to us showing what’s really going on in our lives. Truth be told, everyone has highs and lows, and sometimes the lows outweigh the highs. As Epictetus reminds us, it’s all in the way that we handle what life throws at us that makes all the difference.

“It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters”

– Epictetus

This year has been a whirlwind of activity so far with an abundance of change that has affected me exponentially. It’s only proper that I take advantage of the season and use the metaphor of spring to reflect on these last few months. You see, I used to loathe change; the very thought of it would make my stomach turn and my anxiety skyrocket. However, in the last few years, I’ve learned to embrace it: without change, we would never learn and grow into the people we are meant to be.

A quick recap on the last couple months

It’s been a minute since I’ve had a chance to sit down and really hash out what has been going on. Life has been moving so quickly lately that I feel as though I really haven’t had a second to catch my breath. There are a number of things that have taken place this year that are not so great, but I’m not going to focus on that right now. I have two HUGE changes in my life that I could not be more elated about that I’m so excited to share with you guys:

I got a promotion! Nearly three years into my first post-grad job, I got my first promotion to Brand & Events Coordinator. This came a couple weeks before our biggest show of the year, which was a bit daunting, but long story short, we rocked it and I’m incredibly proud of myself! I’ve been working a lot more lately because of the promotion, but I feel as though it’s instilled a new sense of confidence in me professionally. I have so many ideas and tactics that I can’t wait to share in the work place!

I’m no longer in a long distance relationship! My boyfriend is officially home for good after four long years and my heart is so full. It’s a bit of an adjustment (in the best way) figuring out how to actually date again, but in the last month, I’d say that we’ve adjusted quite nicely. We’ve both grown so much these last four years both as individuals and in our relationship so I’m excited to see where this next chapter of our relationship takes us.

Lessons Learned

The biggest takeaway from this is to give myself a break every now and then // On my recent work trip to Chicago for our biggest trade show of the year, my sinuses got the best of me and I was SO SICK come day two of the show. Five days later, I was getting ready to hop on a plane to come back home and it was not letting up whatsoever, and it didn’t help that I dove right back into work a brief 24 hours after touching down. My body was in desperate need of some R&R. That long weekend, I allowed myself to have a couple lazy days to sleep and recuperate. Let me tell you, that was the BEST decision I had made in a long time. The following Tuesday, I was feeling refreshed, rejuvenated, and so much better!

Prioritize your time // With my new promotion, I’ve taken on many new responsibilities, and I noticed pretty early on that if I don’t prioritize my time wisely, NOTHING goes as planned and you’ll be asking for extensions on your deadlines. This also goes for life outside of work; I was making time for friends, family, Ryan, working out and staying on top of the few tv shows I have in my rotation, but I was going without making time for my blog and other projects that fuel my fire.

Unplug // There’s a reason why every single mental health article tells you to unplug every now and then, it WORKS! I have a difficult time turning my brain off in order to sleep — especially with so much going on lately. I’ve discovered that unplugging for at least an hour before bed helps me sleep soundly.

What and whom to give my energy to // This has been a long time coming. I’ve found that I get so wrapped up in certain aspects in life that don’t matter and aren’t worth my time nor energy. I recently read the book The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson and — let me tell you — this book has totally changed my perspective on so many facets of life. One of my biggest takeaways from the book was choosing my battles and stripping away all of the bs to live my best, most unapologetic life. Manson presents a hilariously vulgar tough love approach to creating self-awareness and learning about what matters most in life. This book has been sitting on my “to-read” shelf for years, and now I wish I would have had the opportunity to read it at a younger age. I highly recommend this book to everyone! 

-K.

Gratitude

With the advent of Thanksgiving upon us, it’s necessary to take the time away from our busy schedules and reflect on all of the blessings we’ve received throughout the year.

All too often, we get caught up in the craziness of our day to day lives, and don’t take the time to appreciate and thank God for everything both big and small in our lives. I challenge you to take your blessings and use them to give to others during this season of giving. Whether it’s simply paying forward a previous favor someone did for you, or paying for the person behind you in line at Starbucks.

“Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of our Thanksgiving.” – Betsy Farrell

I am truly grateful, thankful, and blessed for an incredible year thus far. I have so many things to be thankful for, including the opportunity to travel to another country for the first time, my family is going to be together for the holidays, and my Airman is FINALLY coming back to the states in just a few more days!

What are you most grateful for this year?

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

-K.

Surviving My First Post-Grad Job: A Year in Reflection

“There is no substitute for hard work” – Thomas Edison

I’ve been at my first post-grad job for about a year and a half now, and thus far it has been a whirlwind of learning experiences. If you’ve stuck with me this long, you’ll know that I did a brief reflection after my first week on the job. Needless to say, after only a week on the job, I had no idea what lay ahead for me in my position.

A Brief HistoryInitially, I was hired on to take over our Social Media Strategist’s position while she was on maternity leave. She’d been at the company for about five years at the time, and is  beyond fantastic at her job. Daunting was an understatement. As turbulent as it seemed at the time, I found that I really enjoyed the position, namely because I was gaining more global experience than I ever thought I would. Upon her return in January, I was handed over some of the same responsibilities I was doing in her position, such as branding/merchandising, writing press releases, and managing local trade shows and conferences. These items, as well as a few others, are what I’m currently responsible for in my position.

Here are a few lessons I’ve taken away from my first year in corporate America:

  • You will make mistakes. Accept them. Learn from them. Early on, I was terrified of making any mistakes, but it turned out that I was preventing myself from learning. After a series of events and some self reflection, I finally acknowledged that it is all part of being human, and the learning process.
  • Be hungry to learn. Take on every learning opportunity you are given even if it scares you; something truly great could come out of the experience. If an opportunity is not directly presented to you, it does not hurt to ask! In fact, it will make you an exemplary employee.
  • Ask questions unapologetically. I’m not going to lie, it took me a while to figure out that my co-workers are not going to get mad at me or annoyed with me if I have a question. It’s always better to ask a question, rather than assuming and doing something wrong. You are not expected to know everything when you first start out. Be sure not to ask the SAME question over and over again – this is where you’ll piss people off.
  • Find yourself a mentor. Being one of the youngest people in the company is a challenge in itself. Luckily, I’ve been blessed with an awesome team that genuinely wants me to succeed.
  • Don’t take things too personally. This is something that I’m still struggling with, and – quite frankly – I think it takes a while to learn.
  • Leave work at work. I CANNOT emphasize this enough! You will have a much healthier work-life balance if you leave anxieties and stress pertaining to work at the door on your way out. You work to live, you don’t live to work.
  • Take care of yourself outside of work. If you’re not at your best outside of work, there’s absolutely no way you can bring your best foot forward at work. Take at least an hour out of your day to relax and “treat yo’self”.

Not too shabby for YEAR 1! It was no easy feat, yet I’ve learned a lot about myself and grown immensely throughout the process. Obviously there is still much more to learn throughout my career, and I’m beyond excited to see what the future holds!

-K.

A Year in Review // Where is the Love?


When I initially sat down to write this post, my intentions were to reflect on my personal life this year and how the copious amount of change in my life has molded me in such a short period of time. However, something has been on my mind for a while that needs to be addressed in regards to this past year.

2016 has been quite the year for me and, based on the countless memes and social posts I’ve seen, I’m not the only one that’s looking forward to a new year. With the endless amount of change that’s occurred, it’s easy to feel a little lost; this is the second time where I feel like I’m losing sight of where I’m going in life and what’s going on. Even more so, it seems like the whole world has lost sight of what matters most in life. More often than not, negative news pours in — death, disaster, the seemingly never-ending war, hate, violence, the list goes on and on.  When does it end?

A few years ago, the Black Eyed Peas released the song “Where is the Love?” Seven years later, this song still remains extremely valid in regards to current events.

“People killin’, people dyin’, children hurt and you hear them cryin’. Can you practice what you preach? Or would you turn the other cheek? Father, father, father help us; send some guidance from above. ‘Cause people got me, got me questionin’ where is the love?”

I challenge you to listen to the words of the song, and think about what you can do in your personal life to help make the world a better place. Even if it’s the smallest act of kindness, it could mean the world to someone.

Merry [belated] Christmas and God bless.

-K.

 

Holy $#!% I’m A Senior: A Reflection

Holy $#!% I’m A Senior: A Reflection

Today I embark on a new journey and begin my senior year of college. It seems like just yesterday I was a shy, clueless, awkward freshman that didn’t know how lame it actually was to wear your keys on your lanyard around your neck.I also had little to no social skills whatsoever coming from a ridiculously small private school. Nonetheless, I was bound and determined to become a nurse anesthetist as I intended to my whole life. This, my friends, was my first mistake in my college career.

Innocent freshmen with no idea what we were getting ourselves into
Innocent freshmen with no idea what we were getting ourselves into

About halfway through my first semester, I realized that I was not on the path that I was supposed to be on; my grades were slipping, I was constantly exhausted, I lost all motivation, and- in all this chaos- I managed to lose myself. You see, I’ve always been a planner, type-A personality, and OCD, so when I came to the realization that I wasn’t where I was supposed to be, I lost my zest for life; I just wasn’t the same person I was before. Because of this, my mental health and relationship at the time began to deteriorate. I broke up with my boyfriend of two years and just wanted to be alone, I knew I had to get better and turned to working out and going out in order to make myself happy again. After countless meetings with my adviser, and more aptitude tests than any human being should ever take, I found myself pursuing a career in communication and public relations- an umbrella category for all of my passions- and something I had always wanted to pursue, but did not think was actually possible.

Finally able to let my preppy flag fly
Finally able to let my preppy flag fly

My sophomore year, I took a huge leap of faith and tried out for the competitive dance team on campus. By some crazy miracle, I made the team despite not dancing for five years. I also did something I swore I never would do and went through sorority formal recruitment. You can probably imagine my surprise when I fell in love with Alpha Delta Pi and accepted a bid from them on Bid Day. Thanks to both of these organizations, I became more confident and started to break out of my introverted shell. That fall, I unexpectedly met a boy who turned out to be the man of my dreams even though I swore I was going to focus on my career for the rest of my life. I became more social, and things started to turn around. I was genuinely happy once again.

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Clearly my style has improved over the years as well

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Ryan and I at ADPi’s Debutante Diamond Formal

My junior year was a growing experience for my maturity as I conquered the challenges and lessons life threw my way. My classes were extremely difficult, I took an executive board position in my sorority, my boyfriend informed me that he decided to serve in the military, I was in a terrible car accident, and my anxiety was at an all new height. I promised myself that I would not revert back to the person I was freshman year, and with the help of my family, friends, and boyfriend, I began to set small-scale goals for myself (this was a huge step due to my type-A personality). I achieved my goal of making the Dean’s List, and I figured out how to prioritize my time because it really is so precious.

If you would have told me four years ago that I would be sitting where I am today, I would have laughed in your face and told you that you were absolutely crazy. However, as I sit here reflecting on the past three years of my college career, I wouldn’t change a thing. College is a time to not only learn what is necessary in the classroom, but to make mistakes and learn from life experience. I am so lucky to have stumbled so clumsily to where I am now, standing with more poise and confidence than I ever could have imagined. Bring it on, senior year, I’m ready for ya!

Cheers!

-K