homage

paying a little respect

you can find me at: @K_AnnM | Insta | LinkedIn

In the summer of 2010, I made my way to DC for the first time. I landed an internship through an internship program. As a joke, the internship program was always referred to as “The Program”, which is how people still refer to it. I’ve realized that through it all, I don’t know if I would be in DC now without participating in this internship opportunity in 2010. So here’s a little shout out to The Program and everyone who made it possible. One year later in 2011, I wrote an email to the CEO. This is what I had to say, and I couldn’t have said it better myself a second time around.

It’s been one week, six days, 9 hours and some odd minutes since I finally had the opportunity to meet you and hear your story in DC on June 8th. As I sit in front of my computer, I realize a lot has changed. I cannot seem to articulate my thoughts into the right words to express my sincere thanks, but nevertheless, I will try. The cursor is continually blinking in a rapid motion to my John Butler Trio Pandora station while the thoughts in my mind are bouncing off the walls, much like an intense game of squash. These thoughts of my dreams, the future, goals and the past are rampant.

It is most cliché to say: thank you, but there are no other words I can say to truly express my appreciation and gratitude. Eric, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Last summer, I had the opportunity to participate in The Program in D.C. This program sincerely changed me as a person. Daily, I was being asked to step out of my comfort zone and to push past my boundaries.

Generally, I would have hesitated, but since last summer, I no longer say no. I take each opportunity that presents itself, because who knows what will come of it; love it or hate it the chance was taken. Think. The worst thing that will happen is I hate whatever I did and I know not to do it again, but the best thing is you will have one hell of a story and experience afterwards.

Meeting you nearly 8 months after I completed the program put even more perspective into my life as a dreamer. I genuinely, know nothing is impossible and no dream is ever too big. Last year, I heard parts of your story, but it never impacted me as much as it did on the 8th.

Enrolling into The Program was one of the biggest chances and leaps of faith that I took. It was incredible. I never wanted last summer to end. The Program gave me both confidence and reassurance. The Program made me realize it was okay to let the huge walls I erected come down. I know there are times I find myself frightened enough to rebuild these walls, though the kindness and gentleness you’ve shown though last summer and your dreams have helped me to resist the urge to wall myself off from humanity. When I left in August, I was terrified and sad because I thought the reinvention of myself might slide back into my old self, but fear, not it only became more noticeable. My friends, parents and even professors commented on the way I was carrying myself, talking and articulating my choices.

I believe many people come into our lives for a reason.  We start certain things for a reason. Those reasons are not apparent when we start or when we meet that person, but there are often other reasons that become apparent at a later time. Each day I am learning this to be true.

Coming back to DC this summer I had high expectations. I made a list of things I wanted to accomplish – a Summer Bucket List- if you will, and each week at least one thing has been checked off. Without last summer, I would not be the reinvented person that I am today.

college decisions

& how everything could have been different

you can find me at: @K_AnnM | Insta | LinkedIn

Do you ever wish you attended your undergrad somewhere different? When it comes to football and basketball seasons, I do. Don’t get me wrong, I loved attending Winona State University, and now being complete with my undergraduate degree I wouldn’t have changed a thing.  Winona was the perfect place for me. Because of Winona the best education, contacts, friends, and experience. Everything I wanted from a college experience, I got.

Without Winona, how would I know if I would be going to Germany on Saturday? Who’s to say I would be in DC or working in government? It is possible I would have done internships in Washington every summer of college? Is it possible I would have rushed and joined the awesome organization of Delta Phi Epsilon? Without Winona would I have still majored in Political Science?

There are a lot of questions to ask, and there are even more variables. Sure all things are possible, but I am a believer that if you take a different path, things will be different. By me choosing to attend Winona State University, I was saying yes to a great unknown and as the unknown unraveled it kept getting better and better. Sure there were times I wanted to transfer and had all of my paperwork ready to be filed, but I never went through with the process. There was such a strong pull for me to stay at WSU, and I couldn’t be more happy that I did. Winona helped me find me discover me. Winona blessed me with incredible friends, awesome professors, a stellar family away from home, a gorgeous view outside my bedroom window and don’t forget an unbelievable education.

It’s strange to think how some decisions impact your life, for example, where you attended undergrad. A lot of things would change, photoheck, I might not even be in DC right now, if it wasn’t for WSU. One big thing in my life, I know wouldn’t be the same is my best friend.  Folks, let me tell you a little bit about my best friend, Paul. Paul is the most down-to-eath, friendly, sassy, genuine witty, ball of fire you could ever have the pleasure of meeting.  Paul and I have known each other for the upwards of ten years. Thanks to Winona we became best friends. I will forever be in the debt (literally–thanks, student loans) of Winona for this awesome gift.

Paul and I went to middle school and high school together. He started life guarding at the YMCA and I was there on his first shift, we were in rotation next to each other, and chatted– we knew each other from a few mutual friend circles, but were never friends ourselves. He made an announcement that he was attending WSU in the fall and leaving the Y. Like I said, a short-lived friendship, right? Life went on, and next fall came around. My mom and I were going on a world-wind tour of colleges on a long weekend, as Winona was on my list I reached out to Paul and asked if he’d show me around in addition to the campus tour. Though, I am sure he thought I was being weird (when am I not weird) he accepted. That trip to Winona changed everything. When I returned home, there were three acceptance letters from colleges waiting for me, one being from Winona– and that’s when I decided I needed to attend.

Let’s be honest, Paul is the coolest dude around. He is the cat’s pajamas. This year we are doing big things. As a celebration of our best-friendship of ten years, and with his 25 birthday right around the corner– we are celebrating and we are celebrating big. In five short days, I will be meeting my best friend in Reykjavik, Iceland and we will be well on our way to Munich, Germany! I couldn’t imagine a better way to to kick off our celebration. Here’s to ten years, and here’s to the multiples of tens to come, Bo!

Maybe decisions don’t mean something to you now, but one day they will. Your life is shaped by the decisions you make daily. Stop and think about the decisions you are making every so often, rather than only making a decision based on giving your Magic 8-Ball a shake.

It’s been said something as small as the flutter of a butterfly’s wing can ultimately cause a typhoon halfway around the world- Chaos Theory