As I wrap up my first year as a graduate student at the University of Minnesota (and my first year as a blogger for the Women’s Center!), I’ve started to reflect on some of the things I’ve learned this year. I moved to Minnesota last August from the East Coast without knowing a single person here. I knew that I was passionate about Youth Development and a desire for newness and that two things had led me to Minneapolis.
1. I have an incredible support system
Minneapolis is my fourth city in four years. I moved around a lot after I graduated college, mainly because of a combination of wanderlust and inability to stay in one place for long. However, I have been extremely lucky to have met some fantastic people along the way. I’m grateful for my family, the people I grew up with in New Jersey, the friends I’ve met in Atlanta, DC, and France-and the community I’ve found in Minneapolis.
2. It’s okay to ask for help
As an oldest child and East Coaster, it’s difficult for me to ask for help. It’s not something I’m comfortable with and it’s a skill that I’m learning. There’s a certain amount of vulnerability that comes with asking for help and I am trying to be more comfortable with that. I’m thankful for the people who have encouraged me to ask for help, who have let me lean on them when I needed it, and who provided me with much needed advice and care.
3. Things change
I started my program thinking that I wanted to focus on youth and non-profit management. I fell in love with the outdoors and camping again and have an interest in public policy. I’ve grown a little bit of a soft spot for the Midwest. I’ve even fallen in love with running. Interests change. People change, locations change, I change. Sometimes the transition is a bit rocky and tough. Sometimes I’m incredibly thankful for the change and sometimes it takes me a bit longer to appreciate the change.
4. Take time for myself
I’m a graduate student and full time AmeriCorps member. I also write for a few publications and play soccer on the weekends. Self-care is essential. I can physically and emotionally feel when my body is telling me to slow down. Whether it’s going for a run and doing some vegan baking, self-care has become something that has gotten me through my days.
5. “I am the one that I want”
Yes, it’s from the name of one of Margaret Cho’s stand-up. I am the one that I want. I am the one that I have been fighting for, I am the one that I have been dreaming about, I am the one that I want. Even if I didn’t know it, I have always been gravitating towards myself. And it feels pretty great.