The Year in Rewind

It’s been a while since I’ve written a blog post. In a way that’s a good thing—I’ve been living in the present—but also it might be a bad thing; have I forgotten to take a moment every now and then to reflect on life, where I’m going, what I’m doing, etc.? Here’s a quick recap of the past year, and where life has led me since graduation.

Senior year of undergrad was quite an experience. While many students opt for an easy year, with simple classes, and not much course work, I soon came to realize that I had chosen quite the opposite. By the end of December I was forced to leave my job at a local store in order to be able to concentrate on my responsibilities in classes and on campus. It was a hard decision, but my boss was very understanding, and the weight that was lifted off my shoulders made for much less stress throughout the months that followed.

This past year I participated in a new program that Siena started. It’s called NEXT, and is a nonprofit consulting firm comprised of students and business school faculty to provide free services for nonprofit organizations in the Capital Region and hands-on experience for students. There were times that I found myself frustrated, overwhelmed, and ready to throw in the towel and walk away from NEXT. But I realized the experience that I was fortunate to have in the program, and how it would help well beyond Siena College. The Spring Semester saw the program nearly double in size, and projects taken-on that some of the most experienced consulting firms would hesitate to work on. By the end of May, I left the NEXT program with a sense of satisfaction and gratefulness. I had seen a brand new program grow, and I had had a hand in that growth. The professional experiences that I found myself in while working on NEXT projects is something that few college students ever have a chance to be exposed to.

Perhaps one of the most bittersweet moments was to have to leave the Sr. Thea Bowman Center for Women. The Center has long been a source of clarity and open expression for my fellow staff members and me. We are able to work on projects and issues that are important for our generation, and others around the United States and world need to be conscious of. The school year saw a concern for sustainability within staff, and a need to recruit underclassmen in order to ensure the rebel stoke, and awareness raising would continue for long after my fellow seniors and I left. We ended up taking on a number of people, and I have no doubt that they will go on to do work that they are proud of and will carryout the mission of the Center.

Though I had been sending out my resume and applications since the Fall, I stilled walked across the stage at graduation without a job on the horizon. By the end of the Spring Semester, I had come to terms that I would probably graduate without having a job in place for after graduation, and would instead enjoy the last couple of months of college and take the time after graduation to pursue job opportunities.

With a long desire to head west, I quickly decided that I would move to my parents’ house in Sedona, Arizona, and either find a job in Sedona, or apply to jobs throughout the west within the start-up industry, outdoor industry, and international higher education (study abroad). Soon after my arrival in Sedona, though, I quickly came to learn that jobs were pretty hard to come by in Sedona. The economy is unique, and largely relies on the tourist industry in the area. Aside from that, the retirees make up the rest. The local high school students pretty quickly take the few jobs that do exist, on summer vacation, or the college students who are home for the summer. I found myself watching quite a bit of Netflix, and either running, hiking, or biking each day.

 

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Sunset from the backyard in Sedona.

I now find myself writing this blog post from Cuernavaca, Mexico. I am here on an internship as the International Resident Assistant, but also have a number of other roles within the Center for Global Education’s Mexico program. I had accepted a different position, but forced myself to take a step back, analyze my passions and interests, and determine which position fell most in line with my career goals. While the other position was great, this is much more fitting: higher education in an international setting with a social justice focus, and a pedagogy that has a strong basis in out-of-classroom experiences and reflection.

I know this may have seemed like a laundry list, but I hope that it will serve as a bridge between my last post, and those to come in the future weeks and months.

 

Saludos,

Dustin

 

 

Photos from Cuernavaca, Mexico

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La comida in the morning light.

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The Cathedral talking to the moon.

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Every alleyway has its own surprises.

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The ravine from the Puente 2000.

DSC_0367Pink is the way to go.

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