I grew up in a small town in Wisconsin, directly between Milwaukee and Chicago, where tractors and cows were just as prevalent as cars and people, and that’s only a slight exaggeration. Don’t get me wrong, it was a great place to be from, as I was only 40 minutes away from two incredible cities, but I had bigger dreams for myself.
As long ago as I can remember, I dreamed of moving to New York City and being one of those awesome career women, like Liz Lemon. Well, I didn’t know who Liz Lemon was, but I do now, so this comparison works for me. My mother was very supportive of my dreams, and encouraged me to go to college and make it happen.
Seven years later, while I was finishing up my Master’s degree, I was selected as a graduate intern for the 2014 NACA National Convention in Boston, Massachusetts.
I flew into Boston right before a huge snowstorm, and everyone else’s flight seemed to be delayed. I roamed the Prudential Center for food, and ended up in line for pizza, of course. There was a person in line in front of me wearing a sweater of a band called Basement. I ordered my pizza, told him I liked his sweater, and sat down by myself.
He joined me at the table, and I found out that he grew up in the Boston area, which led to him giving me a tour of the city later that evening. I know, stranger danger. I didn’t listen to everything my mother told me as a child. Whatever, I’m alive. It’s okay.
I absolutely fell in love with Boston during my time there, and luckily it is pretty much the epicenter of higher education in the United States, so I was able to submit MANY applications to work there during my job search. I was having little luck, as my Wisconsin address did not bode well while submitting applications to schools in Boston and New York, but I was determined to make my dream happen.
Luckily, I had recently best-friended my partner Craig around this time, and he offered me a place in his home in Amherst, Massachusetts to help me with my “too many miles away” address issue. 973 miles, and a couple panic attacks later, I found myself in Massachusetts. Because of my anxiety, big changes are always difficult for me. Luckily, I had 100% support from everyone around me, which made everything much easier.
Within a month of moving to Massachusetts, I landed my perfect job as the Coordinator of Student Activities at Lesley University in Cambridge. I now call the city I fell in love with less than one-year prior, the beautiful city of Boston, home.
As a first-generation college student from a single mother who kicked serious butt to give her three girls everything, I never for one second hesitated in believing that I could accomplish my dream. I’m so thankful for everyone along the way who has supported and believed in me, giving me the ability to believe in myself unconditionally. This especially applies to my mother, Jodi, who modeled the confidence, persistence and resilience I needed, even in times when she didn’t have it herself. And my sister, Amanda, who modeled the intelligence, drive, and compassion that I needed, even in times when she herself was struggling.
And my partner, Craig, who gave me the opportunity to change something that I felt was holding me back. He consistently shows me that energy, curiosity, and communication can get you places you don’t even know you can go.
And one of my best friends in the world, Ashley, who expanded my capacity to look at things critically. I don’t think I would be where I am today without the things she taught me about learning, giving, and exploring during our time as roommates in St. Cloud.
Thank you to anyone who has been a part of this wonderful journey. Thank you for adding the 617 to the list of area codes I’ve called home. Thank you.