Just picked up my diploma!!! There are several pictures of me like this: mouth gaping open, thumbs up.

Four days ago, I became the proud recipient of a Bachelor of Arts degree from Webster University. WOO! GO ME!

And what a ride it has been. I grew up in a small town which provided me with little opportunity. My parents never went to college, and I could barely build myself up within this town because I didn’t have a prominent last name.

In short, the odds were against me.

But here I am, with a full-time job (writing, no less), leaving Webster with multiple awards, a Leadership certificate, School of Communications honors, and gigantic support group of lifelong friends and colleagues. So how did I get here?

Simple: I had a goal.

I wanted out of the middle of nowhere. I sought that opportunity to really discover my true hidden talents and passions. I wanted to become independent.

My goal was to become my own person.

And I like to think that I succeeded.

So now that I’m out of college, a steady job all lined up, I don’t need to worry about anything else. No goals needed, right?


Life is all about what you make of it. We are a summation of our own experiences. If we never set goals for ourselves, how in the world will we ever survive? We aren’t destined to do the same thing for the rest of our lives…if we don’t want to. This is why, at any age, setting goals for ourselves is vital to living a happy, fulfilled life.

So with that whole college thing out of the way, I have set some new goals for myself:

  1. Improve my writing: Hey, I’m in the field now. Might as well seek to improve it.
  2. Travel: Now that I don’t have to worry about homework, finals schedules, retreats, etc., I have more freedom to explore the world. In fact, I’m leaving for New Orleans this evening, and going to Panama City, Florida, later this summer. Who knows where I’ll end up next? Ideally, I’d love to visit Ireland, Sweden, and Thailand: three places I’m adding to my bucket list.
  3. Get in Shape: I’ve never been “fat” or even close to being unhealthy. But I have had a problem with staying consistent with a exercise schedule. Now that I have a consistent work schedule, I know exactly when I can go work out. So on Monday I took my graduation money (thank you, family!) and got myself an inexpensive gym membership. After meeting with a personal trainer today, I will begin a workout regimen.
  4. Join a Professional Organization: This is one of the things pounded into my head all the time while in college, especially as a former President of PRSSA (Public Relations Student Society of America, if you didn’t know). But seriously, at the few meetings I’ve attended for PRSA, Saint Louis Attractions Association, among others, I have managed to hand out business cards and make connections with professionals in my field. If I, as a student, could make these connections, then nothing could stop me from doing it as a legitimate professional. As when I sought a whole new world of opportunity when cooped up in a small town, I can now branch out to an even bigger world with more opportunities.
  5. Stay positive: This has already been a goal of mine since I started college, which as far as I know I have accomplished fairly well. Life can get crazy and stressful and often give me writers’ block, resulting in a less than stellar piece of writing. But even if I bomb that assignment, instead of wallowing in it like it’s the death of me, I carry it in stride and call it a lesson learned. I take every moment as an opportunity to learn and grow.  I appreciate all that I have, because there isn’t a single event or person I’ve encountered in my life that hasn’t affected me in some way. It’s all a part of being a human, and all we can do is appreciate those learning moments.

    Plus, staying positive has made me the bubbly, outgoing person that I am. If you look at pictures of me from middle school and high school, then look at ones from my college years, you’ll notice one thing: I actually have a smile. I used to hate about myself that I couldn’t produce a real smile. But now I can. That right there is an indication that staying positive, even through rough times, can completely change a person.

When one chapter in your life ends, it is not time to close the book. The end of one chapter is merely a transition into the next. That next chapter should have new goals, new ambitions, new reasons to keep you on your feet and moving.

Always have a few goals in mind.
Always challenge yourself.
YOU control your own destiny. You can either mosey along from chapter to chapter, or you can animate the pages of your life with moments and experiences that you will remember forever.

The pen is in your hand. So get writing.