This year has been tremendous. It has been adventurous, challenging, inspiring, difficult at times, overwhelmingly joyful, and everything in between. I have grown tremendously as a person, as a friend, as a man, and as a professional in my field, but none of this happened solely by my own power. To all the people in my life and that have been a part of my life over the past year, thank you so much. Life wouldn’t be the same without you.
The beginning of the year was spent with my best friends dancing the night away in Grand Rapids, MI. The year moved forward when I worked with great students and now some tremendous friends in my old high school. I leaped into adventure in a time of uncertainty and sadness by traveling on my own to Florence, Italy. Although, I traveled alone it was the people I met on my journey who became my teachers, friends, and companions for a while. After Florence, I returned home with little sense of direction, but an understanding that a change needed to occur. I learned that a balanced life means including your own happiness.
Throughout the summer, I visited friends, went to baseball games, drank tea and read books, started tumbling again, went skydiving, and facilitated a leadership camp. It was a packed summer. All of these things renewed my sense of self and guided me towards my next great adventure, returning to CMU for grad school and work with the Leadership Institute. All of these were truly amazing, but one of the top five moments of the year was being able to spend time with all of my best friends at Tessa and Woody’s wedding. Their love and commitment to one another flows even into our friendship groups, and it was truly an honor to share that special day with them and so many others.
My return to CMU was a time of transition, but one filled with excitement, passion, and support of some many others. The Leadership Institute is home for me. Returning home after being away for a while is always interesting. You get to see how it’s changed after a while and how you’ve changed only to realize that the same passionate, caring, and inspirational people are still around. Also during this time, I was able to see the program College 101 expand to a second campus. Working with Dr. Paul Hernandez and the College 101 Committee is nothing short of amazing. Lastly, I had the opportunity to collaborate with Dr. Denny Roberts to write a journal article that will be published in February, which led me to a deeper understanding of international work related to higher education. I am deeply thankful for the opportunity to work with great people who understand the value of others and live with the belief that the world can be better.
An now as the year wraps up, I can only focus on the love, compassion, support, kindness, growth, and learning that has filled my life over the past twelve months. This year has been one of the best by far and I can say without a doubt that it is because of the people in my life and all that they share with me.