This has been a really wonderful, long, stressful, rewarding, exhausting year.
A lot of amazing things happened – I got my diploma, I landed my dream internship and I spent quality time with friends and family.
But, like any other year and any other human being, some not-so-great things happened, too. But, I wouldn’t trade any of these learning opportunities for anything. So, let’s dive in.
I’m grateful for… the companies that didn’t hire me. I applied for a lot of jobs. I interviewed for a handful, and got offers for even fewer. I was denied from a few really cool opportunities and ignored by some fabulous companies. I was exhausted, embarrassed and angry.
But, guess what happened. I landed a really amazing summer internship, where I learned a ton. I solidified some fundamental skills and learned from super talented people. Those skills led me to my current internship. I’m working at my dream company. I know, I know, SO cheesy. But, it is my ninth week here and I still get goosebumps when I walk into the lobby and see the name of the company. The honeymoon phase will never end. I still have moments when I think, I get to work here. Maybe this internship won’t lead to a full-time job offer, but I’m confident that it will lead to something great.
I’m grateful for… my first student loan bill. When I received the email, I did panic a bit. (Okay, a lot.) I opened a calculator to determine just how long I’d be paying for my education. I thought about what a scary, daunting task this would be and how much I’m dreading these monthly payments.
My experience at the University of Illinois was incredible. I learned in the classroom, and I learned even more outside. I made lifelong friends from all facets of life – my dorm, classes, service fraternity, sorority, the Illini Media Company and a whole lot more. I became fluent in a foreign language and learned all about journalism. I learned how to learn. I joined a huge family: 425,000+ living alumni of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, one of the largest U.S. alumni organizations. I’ll be paying for my education for a long time, but I won’t regret a single penny.
I’m grateful for… friends who have faded away. I have friends and acquaintances from high school, college and lots of jobs. Some live close, some live very far. With everyone following their own paths, in their own corners of the world, it becomes nearly impossible to stay in touch with everyone. Sadly, I find myself going weeks or even months without talking to someone who I used to see daily.
This experience has taught me to identify the important people in my life, and to hold onto them with everything that I have. It is too easy to lose touch, even with the amazing connected world that we’re now living in. I bought a pack of stationary and made a point to send letters to a few close friends and family members. I’m trying to keep everyone in my life, and although there is a steep learning curve, I hope to keep improving.
So, what are you grateful for this year?