4 years ago today, I was President of the Student Government Association of UMBC, and I was preparing to give a speech to the incoming students that year. The speech sought to inform, inspire, and ease the minds of the students who were about to embark on their collegiate journey. It was the beginning of a school year in which I would learn how to advocate for an entire University of students, build and leverage impactful relationships, and challenge others to think more holistically and critically. It was a year where I would connect dozens (if not hundreds) of people to resources and individuals which would end up improving their campus experience, and the campus as a whole. I would learn how to manage a team of incredibly driven students who believed in the University and our Association enough to empower other students to “be the change they wanted to see in the world”. I would also go on to hone in on my craft as a musician through enlightening conducting experiences that I still hold dear to my heart. The future was bright.
3 years years ago today, I was beginning my journey across the country as a Leadership Consultant for hundreds of college men at over 20 Universities. It was in this role that I learned how to help students dive deeper into issues within their organization in order to find the true source of their challenges. I learned how to inspire men to hold themselves accountable and to create unique and sustainable systems to do so. It was through them that I learned that determination should never fail even when all else seems to have failed. The future was even brighter.
2 years ago today, I found myself in a similar place continuing my consulting work, but this time leading a team of my own who would help students align their operations to our organization’s strategic plan. The responsibility of managing and developing my coworkers was a challenging and rewarding experience I am grateful to have had. The future was getting more and more bright.
1 year ago today, I found myself as a graduate student and graduate assistant, continuing my work of developing young student leaders. This time I had the added challenge of balancing my own academic development with the development of my students, and saw a deeper meaning behind True Grit and determination. It was a year that I found myself struggling between becoming a future music educator or higher education professional, along with various other professions that put me in a position to help inspire students to be the best versions of themselves. I seized incredible opportunities that broadened my network in both fields, both nationally AND internationally, and felt that I was getting closer to seeing the start of my path to making the world a better place. The future was the brightest it’s ever been!
Today. I find myself frustrated. I find myself sad at times. I find myself worried about the state of a nation that does not tend to place situations in my favor. I find myself with a new degree, but with no official venue to use the refined knowledge that came with it. I find myself angry with prospective jobs not responding with decision letters, or simply casting away my resume of hard work and dedication that I’ve grinded to build. The future does not seem as bright as it once was, but throughout all that I’ve learned and preached throughout the years, I know that I must keep digging through this tunnel to get to the bright future that I assumed was much closer. I know that I am not alone in this time of uncertainty and that due time will bring us all to where we are meant to be. But right now, I need to use all the tools I can to dig out of this tunnel.
I’m reaching out, spreading a wide net, and doing what I’ve told many: “‘Nothing in life is more important than relationships.’ Use them and never be afraid to ask for help.”
And to everyone else out there in a similar position, we’ve got to hang in there. This time in our lives does not and will not define us.