Today, revisited.

Approximately a year ago I wrote the following post about one of my students, who lost her mom after a valiant fight with cancer. A year later, my feelings couldn’t be more true. I continue to be proud and impressed by the young adults I spend my days with. They challenge me everyday to live in the moment and be better than yesterday.

So, I thought it worthy of a re-post. To remind us to keep loving, wherever you may be in life, because you never know where it will take you.

Today my heart broke. Today I cried through a memorial service for a woman I never knew; a mom of one of my students, who lost a battle with cancer last week. Today I stood in front of some one I met three years ago, as a 17-year-old high school student; one of several hundred I would come to know that year, never thinking that I would be standing with her during one of the hardest points in her life. I also watched her peers, students who not too long ago were strangers, stand up and support her. I have never been more proud to know these students. I was so inspired by the message encompassed in the service. Today I’m reminded of the journey life has taken me on the past few years and the purpose it serves.

Today my frustration over “I feel like my job is my life” paused for a few moments. Because yes, my job is my life. It’s not just how I pass the time in my day. It’s not just a mindless motion I go through. My job is the people and relationships that have become intertwined in who I am. It’s the idea that we can never really know the impact we’ll have on another human being or the roll we’ll play in their life.  My job is to love. 

And so is yours.

I was reminded of the phrase “You may be the only Jesus some people will ever know.” How true. Each of us exists in a specific place for a reason. Use that time well. Encourage. Support. Savor all that people are. Show some one what it means to be loved well. Take advantage of the opportunity to leave a mark on another person, no matter how small. Because it’s not about our plan, it’s about His plan. And we each have a part to play in it.

While discussing the news of the above situation with a friend last week, we had the following exchange…

Me: “…I get way too emotionally attached.”
Lindsey: “No such thing as being too attached.”

Thank you, friend. You’re right. We can never care too much. But it sure would be interesting if we all tried. Maybe we should give it a shot?

You can read the original post here.

5 Years and Counting.

Approximately five years ago, give or take a week, this was me…

Graduating undergrad. Leaving my home at Otterbein and heading off into the real world. I was in a pretty good place; I had an apartment with my three best friends and a job that I started prior to graduation.

This time of year always holds a special place in my heart. Working at a university, I’m reminded of the utter excitement and absolute fear that ending college brings. And as this is a milestone anniversary, I thought I’d take a look at a few things I’ve learned in the past 5 years:

I don’t know if you ever feel like an adult.
The other day someone called me an “MBA holding homeowner” and I literally almost started sobbing. I have these things; titles, degrees, mortgages, etc that are all supposed to mean that I’m smart, responsible and capable. And yet most days, I still feel like a child. I’m often intimidated by my students and all the ambition they have, forgetting that I’m in the mentor position. I always kind of thought that when I got to the next milestone, I would feel more prepared. But alas, I’m not sure it works that way. I’m not sure we ever feel ready and settled.

It’s ok not to know.
I spend my days convincing 18-22 year olds that it’s ok if they don’t know what they want to do the rest of their lives We push everyone to always have an answer to “what now?”; Where will you go to college? What will you study? What will you do after graduation? When will you get married? When will you have kids? Bahhhh…

Sometimes, it’s ok to just enjoy the present. Sometimes you just need to be still and figure out who you are before you can figure out where you want to go. And if you do set off in a direction, and it doesn’t work and you turn right back around…that’s ok too.

One of my favorite verses, Psalm 46:10: “Be still and know that I am God.”

Home will always be home.
No matter what, I will always be a Clyde Flier. I will always love Pizza House, sitting around bonfires and going to Lake Erie on weekends. I’ll always be a country girl. I still want my mom and dad to sweep in and make things better. And even as I change, and my hometown changes, I still feel comfort every time I drive into town (which unfortunately isn’t that often anymore.) There’s just something special about knowing where you belong.

People are more important than anything. Anything.
I’m notorious for saying that the people I spend my work day with are more important than the work I’m doing and the pay I’m receiving. And I believe that. I’ve had jobs in which I spent my days alone in an office, sometimes never talking to another co-worker the whole day, never seeing a human face-to-face and accomplishing nothing except seemingly making money. I don’t believe that’s a fulfilled life. We’re here for a reason, and that reason involves connecting to each other. Put people first. Everything else will fall into place.

Family is a fluid concept.
It isn’t until you’re away from your family that you realize that can mean more than blood relatives. I’ve found my true soul mates are some of my best friends. We’ve gotten each other through the past five years, sometimes dragging one another when life made that necessary. We’ve laid on the floor, staring at the ceiling, waiting for some kind of direction. We’ve stood next to one another through weddings, heartache, babies, moves (oh, good grief, so many moves!!), job changes, job loss, celebrations and frustrations. I know for a fact that I would not have come through these past few years without these people. They mean the world to me. And when you’re on your own, nothing could be more important.

I’ve learned far more than just five things in the past five years…but I thought I’d save you from some of those boring lessons, such as how to cook a turkey on Thanksgiving or how to steam a wedding dress (of which I think I’ve become an expert!) What lessons do you have to add to the list??

To any of my students (I know some of you find this)…know that it’s ok. The next few years may be scary as all get out. But we’ve all been there. And we are coming through on the other side. There are some lessons that only life and time can teach us.

Gratituesdays: Graduation.

I did it! I finally graduated with my M.B.A.!

Myself, Carrie and Sonya walking through Memorial Gate (a Capital tradition) after graduation! Some of my best friends through the program these past couple of years.

Those close to me would tell you that I really wasn’t overly excited about graduation itself; but I can now say I’m incredibly thankful I decided to be part of the festivities. I got to spend time with both of my parents, I got to watch the entire ceremony from the front row, and I got to cheer for and be cheered on by my wonderful, amazing students (to the point that the president of the university commented “you have quite a fan club” as he was handing me my diploma 🙂 )

I’m deeply thankful to everyone who has come along on this journey the past two and a half years: my friends and family for encouraging me and yes, listening to me whine a lot. My co-workers for helping me out when I had a hard time balancing being an employee and a student. And Capital University for an experience that will follow me the rest of my life.

What are you grateful for this week??

Gratituesdays: Graduate School.

As of about an hour ago, I have exactly 14 classes left until I finish my MBA. That’s right, of course we have a countdown.

The 2 1/2 year journey to earn this degree has been quite a process. And I admit, I’ve spent my fair share of time stressed out or complaining about the time commitment. But it’s a benefit I will never take for granted. The opportunity for education and development is not something to be taken lightly; I consider it a privilege.

I’ve met some amazing friends through this program, as well as learned some important lessons about the business world and myself. I look forward to the next phase of my life, when school is finished and I can take the experience and apply it to my own life. (Ok, I’m also looking forward to some more free time!)

May 5 will be an exciting day, when I accept my diploma at the same graduation ceremony as many of my students. I can’t wait to stand next to them and my classmates to celebrate all of our accomplishments!

My Favorite Admission Question #1.

Parents often ask me, “What is the best school for X major?” or “What is your school known for?” And I could give answers based on statistics or my personal opinion for these, but my common answer is similar to this…

Yes, some universities are known for specific programs. But each student is unique and has a school that is the right fit for him or her. So what if a certain college is ranked #1 in a degree program? If the school doesn’t fit your student’s personality, it isn’t the #1 program for him or her. It must be a personal decision. It’s about the student experience and learning environment. If you are a student who thrives on personal attention, getting to know your classmates and professors, and getting one-on-one help anytime you need it, a large, research-based school where you’ll be in a lecture hall of hundreds of students may not be the best fit for you, regardless of how acclaimed the program is. And at the same time, that school I just described might sound perfect to another student. It’s different for everyone.

All schools have their pros and cons. So explore your options. Visit. Ask LOTS of questions. Get a good feel for a school and find “home”…which will look different for every student. And that’s ok.

Gratituesdays: My Students.

Without a doubt, my favorite part of my job. They remind me of what all the hard work is about. They teach me new things constantly. They make me proud. They challenge me to be a better mentor and a better leader. And without question, they make me laugh and make me smile.

I work in higher education because I believe college is the most important four years of your life. It’s your chance to discover life, to change, to make mistakes, to gain a vast amount of knowledge through experience, and to grow up in ways you never thought you would.

I love living life with “my kids” as I sometimes call them. Cheering with them about good news, and crying with them over devastation.  They keep me on my toes to be a strong role model, a position I gladly accept, because not too long ago, I was in their shoes.