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[01] Starting Over

When I woke up this morning, everything felt right in the world. After staying up until 4am to write a paper on Major League Baseball’s social media policy, I got out of bed around 10am with a sense of relief that the assignment was done. However, writing 8 pages in 4 hours the night before the paper was due was, believe it or not, the lesser of my day’s accomplishments. I actually put what my heart has been telling me into action. That’s right – I followed my heart.

The past few months have been nothing but a blur. Back in October, I thought I was a junior Sport Management major with two semesters to go. I met with my academic adviser who informed me that it was actually possible to graduate over Summer 2012. We explored the option and planned out each class that would’ve had me done with a 4-year degree by August, 2 semesters ahead of my class. Needless to say, that news changed my life as I knew it, and instead of searching for another summer internship, my focus shifted to getting all my credits done and start applying for jobs in the real world.

November rolled around, and my friend, Jed Weisberger, at the Trenton Titans and I created “The Inside Sorce” blog. There, I write about the off-ice atmosphere of a hockey game, as I am highly intuitive when it comes to the environment surrounding sports. One night in the press box, he said to me, “Start applying for jobs online. It’s never too early.” I was still adjusting to the fact that I was going to be headed out into the real world way sooner than expected, and I thought he was crazy for telling me to start applying so early. However, when I got home that night, his words were swirling around in my head, so I looked on Teamwork Online to see if any jobs in upstate New York were available. The first thing listed – an inside sales internship with the Binghamton Senators.

I applied, interviewed, and got offered the internship on the spot. I knew sales experience was the last thing lacking from my resume, but I still didn’t know why I accepted the offer. Something was drawing me to that internship, and I had no idea what it was that my heart was trying to tell me.

When I started in January, things in my life started to make more sense, yet things were in no way slowing down. I started feeling as if I was on the wrong path, and I was regretting my decision to shave an entire year off my college career. When I started receiving phone calls for interviews from professional major league sports teams, the initial excitement of standing out to a hiring manager began to give way to a feeling that I was not doing what I am meant to be doing. It was all starting to become so overwhelming, and my current 18-credit work load, plus managing a hockey team, wasn’t exactly helping to relieve my stress, either.

In mid-February, the Ithaca College Men’s Ice Hockey team, which I have managed since my freshman year, won their first playoff game in 7 years. I knew it was my last weekend with the team, and when Cornell beat us in Round 2, I couldn’t come to grips with the fact that my job with the team was over. Tug, one of the junior defensemen, skated over to me as I was packing up the water bottles for the last time. He said, “Thanks for everything you’ve done, Ma. We’re really gonna miss ya.” I was already teary-eyed before he said that, and I could barely muster out the words, “I’m gonna miss you guys, too,” before the waterworks started.

Life was hectic and emotional from the end of the playoffs up until the week following my 21st birthday. On Monday, March 12, 2012, Ithaca, New York had a high of a frigid 25 degrees, but that didn’t stop me from skipping my 3-hour seminar to get away from it all. I decided to go for a hike at Buttermilk Falls State Park and took the trail up to Lake Treman. I usually find answers to all my problems when I visit the falls, and I was hoping this time would not disappoint.

As I walked through the snowy trails, I began to realize that I had been neglecting what my heart has been telling me to do, and instead of slowing down and living in the moment, I had been rushing around to please others. I was afraid to change my mind about graduating so early, because my elders saw that as an incredible accomplishment. I didn’t want to disappoint anybody, but in reality, I was disappointing myself.

I came to a clearing where Lake Treman rested. Everytime I hike up there, I think to myself, “Is this place real?” The lake was mostly frozen, except for a patch a little farther up the trail. Something told me to keep going a little farther on the trail, and when I came to my resting spot, this is what I saw:

The one patch of the lake that was unfrozen was in the shape of a heart. When I left Buttermilk Falls that night, I decided to put on the brakes. And today, I signed a lease for an apartment on Cayuga Lake that I’ll have in my possession until August 2013. There’s so much in Ithaca that I have never had the chance to do – and I intend on living each moment to the fullest from now until that lease is up. Hence the creation of this blog – enjoy.

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