winona bound, post graduation round 2!

It’s that time of the year! I’m heading back to my Alma Mater and I could not be more excited. Last year, I was asked to reflect on my post-graduation woes and write an article for the University paper, and that is exactly what I did. Take a peek below. Next stop, Winona! See you soon, Minnesota.

visiting the alma mater

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

For the past 18 years August meant, school supplies, a class list, new books and new clothes and being reunited with friends, but not this time. The excitement of August wasn’t the same this time around. For the first time, August, to me, didn’t mean back to school. With the uncertainty and the sudden change of August I felt a void. Now being in the “real world” and having grown into a “real person”.

For the first time, I am truly out on my own, a time zone and a 14-hour car drive from my family who cannot drop everything and come save me when I’m having a subpar day.

December changed everything – that’s when I walked across that stage and became a graduate.As you are aware already everyone has the expectations that once you graduate, you’ll immediately have it all figured out and you have to stick to your plan.

Wrong.

Since graduation, things have stayed the same for me; my love for politics and the fact that I’m pursuing my dreams in Washington, DC. I don’t have a clear path of how I will tackle my dreams, but each night I can rest, knowing I’m on the right path.

Since January there have been many kinks in my plan.

Things haven’t gone exactly as expected. Through these times I have learned with each unexpected change, it will be what you make of it, but most of all it is an opportunity and you must seize it.

It is simple: life is unpredictable.

Just because you are set in your ways and think you have figured out a so-called life plan does not mean someone isn’t going to come throw a wrench into your plans, chances are they will.  For better or worse the only constant is change. Get used to it. Become accustom to it and things will only get easier. You never know where life will take you or where your true passions lie.

Take chances, make the time to connect with new people and your life will unfold beautifully right in front of you, and better yet in your hands.

Know this, before I knew it, August turned into September and September will soon be October.October means my first visit as an Alumnus to Winona. One thing that will never change is that  I cannot wait to see the great things Winona has in store for me. Don’t forgot you do not need to wait to be an Alumni for this incredible journey to start. The sooner your journey starts, the better it will be and the better you will feel.

Whether your journey is in political science like mine, journalism or biology, make sure that you enjoy what you do because you’ll be doing it for many years to come.

The more I reflect back on my time at Winona State, the more I miss it. I love being in Washington, DC, but at the same time I miss the bluffs and I miss the friends I made who are still in school. Washington, DC has taught me to remember not to take the little things for granted; a phone call from a loved one or  a smile from someone as I pass them by on the street. As the time approaches when I make my way back to Winona, I look forward to coming back as an Alumni.

I can’t wait to rehash some of my past memories with students and staff alike. Being in Washington, DC is sometimes hard, but when all is said and done, I’m really happy that I decided to start my career here.

I’m ready for Winona, but the question that remains is this: Is Winona ready for me?

rants & raves of a job

Almost two years ago my life changed; I met Patrick! (Dramatic entrance, I know.) I met Pat through a friend, and I knew we were going to hit it off. After a few months gap in our friendship, due to him being at grad school–he made his way back to DC. Needless to say, I was beyond tickled! Pat got a job a IBM and was joining the real world as a consultant. Now, I couldn’t be more happy for him–what an awesome job opportunity post education, but the one thing that get’s get down is his lack of availability, but that’s not going to deter me from being his friend, heck that makes our friendship stronger! Once you read this post, you will understand exactly what I mean. So, here’s to Pat and his #LifeOfAConsultant, him writing this blog, and well just to our friendship!  Sit, back, relax and enjoy the blog!

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

#LifeOfAConsultant

guest blog presented by: Patrick Kotary
You can find Pat on Twitter: @Kotary; insta: patrickkotary, make sure you follow him!

In March 2013 after three colleges, two degrees, and one small bank account, I started my professional career with IBM Global Business Services. After just 7 months though I can honestly say this job is never what I had expected my first big grown up job to be growing. Until the ripe age of six I wanted to work at the mall so I could eat lunch at Sicilian Delight everyday – a pizza place at Sangertown Square Mall; my immature palate thought it was the best food ever, but I digress. Needless to say my aspirations only went up from there. I had the classic dreams – teacher, astronaut, news anchor, race car driver, the next Ward Cleaver, and POTUS were just a few (the last two are still on my list). Until about a year ago I never considered being a consultant for one of the world’s largest technology companies.

My friend Lizzie told me IBM was recruiting for consultants at our school, Clarkson University. I hadn’t given that career choice much thought, but after her persuasion and hearing that if you were hired you were sent to Orlando for a few days to celebrate, I said let’s do it! So I gave it a shot and was hired! I was one of the few extremely fortunate people who were recruited and hired during my last semester of graduate school. While I watched others hunt for jobs, I spent my last two months before the real world soaking in rays by the Gulf, baking, and watching the Barefoot Contessa. As Ina would say, “how easy is that?” All that time though I kept thinking, “I don’t know really what I’m going to be doing come March.” You see, consultants bounce from project to project in different roles – one day you could be on a project as technical resource and the next you could be running financial reports on another. You’re in a constant state of motion, meeting new challenges regularly – something I love doing. Whenever I was asked what I was going to do at IBM I would say, “I’ll be consulting. Companies hire us to come in and solve problems for them.” Now is that broad or what?

Despite that uncertainty I started my first day as a consultant on March 4th, 2013. I had a busy first two weeks in training – one in Herndon, VA and one in Baltimore, MD. Week three was when things got most interesting because I was staffed; I started my first project assignment as the Project Management Assistant at a company in Spokane, Washington. 2,080 aeronautical miles from my home in Northern VA. For about 7 months I travelled back and forth between the Washingtons – out on Mondays and home on Fridays. That’s about 5,000 miles a week (there isn’t a direct flight) – about 135,000 miles total. Like everything this unique lifestyle has its pros and cons.

The Pros:

Status.

Hi, my name is Patrick and I’m addicted to travel status. I am a Delta Platinum Medallion, a Hilton Diamond Member, United Elite Silver, and Starbucks Gold for many years to come. Status is a beautiful thing. First class is the only way to fly.

Seeing new sights.

Instead of going back to NOVA every weekend, I sometimes took alternate weekend travel. New Orleans, Los Angeles, upstate New York, and Florida to name a few.

Try new things.

As previously mentioned I like new challenges, so knowing that week to week my job changes is very exciting.

Foodie’s heaven.

Being in new cities is a dream for foodies like me. In 7 months of working I can count on one hand the times I’ve eaten at a chain restaurant. I love trying new foods.

 

The Cons:

Tired.

I was constantly changing time zones and had some difficulty putting my body on a hybrid system. Thanks to Kendal Ann et al though, I was able to stay on PST time on the weekends back east #DCNightlife

Travel numbness.

Air travel has lost its glamour for me. There was a time when I loved flying and thought it was the best experience ever. I now feel like I’m getting on a big dirty bus with smelly people. Also, hotels no longer stand for vacation. All I can think now is, “How many people have slept (and done other things) in this bed before me?”

Long workdays.

Because of travel, my office time is limited. To make up for this, I spend about 11 hours a day M-T at the office. Lunch is usually at my desk.

Relationships – lack thereof.

This job is not great for relationships. Even though I am extremely handsome and debonair, many don’t want to be with someone if he’s only around 3 of 7 days. I can respect that. I’d rather someone NOT like that than ENJOY having me gone all week.

The #LifeOfAConsultant continues. In a few hours I’m boarding a plane home to Dulles from my new project city… San Francisco, California. It’s an exciting life I lead working for IBM and I love it. I’m young, single, and free, so why not? For now, I’m not the next Ward Cleaver and I’m fine with that.

I urge you all to get out and see what this beautiful country and world has to offer.