When you find what you love, chase it.

“Use CMU to find out what you’re good at. Whittle it down. Whatever comes from your classes, use it, and when you find what you love, chase it. Chase it for the rest of your life. Then you’ll be doing something you want to do.” – Jeff Daniels

Who would have thought that Jeff Daniels would have given me the best career advice out of everyone in this world? A man that doesn’t know me, who called me once, gave me excellent advice to give to students around the school.

But it really felt like he was talking to me, too.

I’ve spent the last six years at Central Michigan University. I’ve spent countless hours on campus, in classes, participating in extracurriculars, going to football games and taking pride in being a Chippewa.

I’ve cried more times in classrooms and in the library than I want to admit. I’ve laughed with so many friends in the dining halls, and I’ve met some really radical people who helped shape me into who I am today.

Central Michigan University was my home before I was a student here. I grew up on its campus. I broke my arm in fourth grade in Anspach Hall. I met my first mentor in Moore Hall. This place helped me grow into my own, and it pushed me to be a better me.

It’s been six years. I can’t believe that in that time I’ve gotten so many useful life skills. I know how to network. I know how to create stories worth reading. I can take a photo and make it look damn good.

It’s been six years of searching for my passion, and Central helped me find it. I love sharing people’s stories. I love being able to connect them with the community that surrounds them. I love that I have the power to do that through my words, and I love that people trust me to share their stories.

I’ve found what I love, and in 10 days, I get to start chasing it.

Fire Up Forever.

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Change

“It is change, continuing change, inevitable change, that is the dominant factor in society today. No sensible decision can be made any longer without taking into account not only the world as it is, but the world as it will be. ” – Isaac Asimov

It’s difficult thinking about the future and what it can hold. One part of me is certain that it’s full of endless possibilities, that I can go anywhere, work from anywhere and do anything. A journalism degree does not limit me to just covering the news. I could freelance, edit, write for a paper or magazine. I could enter communications or marketing or advertising. Yet, another part of me feels stuck in a rut, set with the conservative, traditional ten year plan that 18-year-old me wanted.

One of the best things that has happened to me is dating a man that has such clear goals in mind about where he wants to go, what he wants to do and what he wants to be. I admire his tenacity in reaching those goals, too, not letting anything hold him back, including me. I appreciate his open communication since the beginning of our relationship about these goals and his determination to achieve them. I support his dreams and anything that he has to do to get there, even if it means his leaving the country and me behind with it.

Like Asimov said, “It is change, continuing change, inevitable change, that is the dominant factor in society today.” Without change, there is no spark, nothing to look forward to, nothing to push for. I’m watching the industry I adore change rapidly, from the MLive internship program getting cut to reporters leaving almost weekly for other jobs. It’s terrifying to watch those jobs left vacant. However, that’s a change the company has made and it’s a reflection of how society feels about journalism.

Yes, change is scary. I’m entering my final semester of college on Monday. I have 18 credits, 115 days and six finals that stand in the way of me and my degree. After five and a half years, it’s time to move on. I won’t let anything stop me. There will be lots of changes along with it, an abundance of new ideas and opportunities ahead of me during the semester and especially after. Embracing change is the only way to go about life, though.

You shouldn’t get stuck in some rut because it’s where you feel you should be. You shouldn’t rest on your laurels because it’s what is comfortable. You should be constantly pushing forward, trying for better and making yourself better in turn.

I think John F. Kennedy put it best when he said, “Change is the law of life, and those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.”

My relationship preferences are no less valid than the next person’s

I went on vacation to relax. I went on vacation to interview with a prospective job. I went on vacation to spend time with one of my best friends.

And what have I gotten from it?

A good prospect for the job, but in turn, I’ve been ridiculed for my relationship choices by my so-called best friend.

It hurts. He’s mocked my relationship. He said, “you guys have been dating a month and he was out in California for part of it? And now you’re down here? What kind of a relationship is that?” Umm… An adult one where we still have separate lives and want to be together?

I chose a relationship that is long distance for a reason. I have a sense of independence with it. I know that I can keep being myself while still having someone there for me. We can see each other when we make time, and we still have our own selves intact. I’ve had issues with relationships consuming my life, losing myself to the other person and putting their opinions and values ahead of my own. That isn’t an issue with long distance relationships for me. It helps me maintain who I am.

He ridiculed my choice to have an LDR because I wouldn’t be able to be with the other person all the time. I wouldn’t be able to touch them. However, in the last six months, I’ve come to realize that being comfortable in my own skin means allowing others to touch me on my terms. I don’t want to always have someone coming up to me and touching me whenever. That’s NOT OK. Human contact is nice, but again, it has to be on MY terms, not someone else’s. That’s part of why consent is such a huge deal. If I don’t want you touching me, don’t touch me.

There is no excuse for him to say that my opinions and preferences for a relationship are any less valid than his. Everyone is different, and if I’ve found someone that gets that, then that’s great. He can find his own thing with someone that gets his preferences.

I’m OK with being alone. I’m OK with being surrounded by people. I’m OK with just being me. I’m glad I’ve taken this trip because it’s helping me re-evaluate the relationships in my life and those that may be poisonous to me and my future. It’s just the start, but I think it could really propel me in the right direction.

Early summer thoughts

It’s the little things I’m going to miss about Michigan. The way the soft, thin blades of grass feel on the the bottom of my feet in the summer. The smell of petrichor while I’m sitting on the porch of my parents’ house sipping a hot cup of coffee waiting for a storm to blow in. The cool summer nights spent laying in a field in the middle of nowhere, staring at the stars as the world slowly drifts by them.

I’m one step closer to getting my degree. One step closer to moving away from the state that I’ve called home for 23 years. One step closer to becoming an adult in the world. It’s terrifying, but it’s also thrilling.

I’m hoping to move to Austin in six months. It seems like a long time from now, but that’s the same time period that I was with the Jackson Citizen Patriot. It’s a semester and some.

I’ve pushed and pushed to get to where I am now. I’ve been so focused on getting out of college and getting my degree that I haven’t fully appreciated what’s surrounding me for the last few months.

Yes, Michigan is a wonderful place. The natural beauty of it is incredible. I’m grateful to have grown up surrounded by four seasons.

However, my immediate future is not in that state. I’m not 100 percent certain of what the future may hold, but I know that I’m meant for bigger things.

Until I leave, I’m going to appreciate the little things. The summer nights spent eating Doozies with friends. The sand between my toes while I walk along the beach at Lake Michigan. The evenings with my family, no matter how strange they are.