January 27, 2013

Goals

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Suddenly, January is almost over, and as usual, I'm behind the times and haven't written one of those "new year's goals/resolutions/etc/etc" posts. Not because I don't like to have goals, but because I've been thinking really hard about what I want my goals and wishes and plans and dreams to be. 2013 will be a year of many changes, and I want to make sure I'm moving my life in the right direction. (Also, I overanalyze everything, and looking at my life in the big picture and thinking about the life I live and the life I want to live... holy-cow-that-overwhelms-me! And so I procrastinate. But whatever. Back to writing this post...)
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The last really BIG life goal/decision I made was to go to graduate school. I don't remember how I first heard about my program. It might have been a flyer or a billboard somewhere, but I remember it was three years ago when I was just a fresh-faced intern in awe of all that Washington, DC had to offer (I'm still in awe, btw. And I'm in awe now that I've been here for 3 years this month! Who knew I'd still be here?? Oh, wait. Heavenly Father did.)

So, yes, I heard about GSPM somehow, and I knew that if I ever went to grad school, it would be at the top of my list. I "happened" to find out that a colleague from one of our clients was an alumna of the program, and I sat down with her to ask her about the program; she raved and raved, and I scribbled all over my notebook, trying to catch everything she said.

But it wasn't the time for me to be thinking about graduate school. I asked the Lord a few times, and it kept not being the right time; and then all of a sudden, it was. (Which was mind-blowing, btw. It was all so quick!)

The application deadline for fall semester (June 15th, 2011 I remember) was just a few months away! Which meant the last day for me to take the GRE was... March! Which meant I had to study! And write a personal statement! And get letters of recommendation! And... and... I was hyper-ventilating! But miraculously, everything got done. Letters and personal statements were written, transcripts were ordered, GRE's were conquered, and I GOT IN.

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I'm STILL in. I'll finish up my classes in August, and I'll walk in May. (And my graduation is on the National Mall! The Mall!! I'm telling you, the DC magic has not worn off. I don't think it ever will.) It's so weird to be so close to the finish line (and yet so far away...). This is the part in a race where you'd start sprinting, because you're almost to the end. And it coincides with the beginning of a new year, a new semester, and a new perspective.

Last summer semester was really hard for me. I scaled back my load in the fall, and things were better but still rough. Being at home for three weeks over the holidays was just the thing I needed to feel energized and refreshed, and now that I have my first two weeks of classes under my belt, I feel ready to organize, to plan, and to make goals.

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Right now, I'm still in "research mode." See, I like to gather information about all of my options. Then I like to weigh each of them, stew over them, fret, make pro/con lists, consult the starts, read the tea leaves, etc. etc. before I make a decision. Then I pray. And if I get an OK, I move forward. I'm not finished figuring out everything, and there will definitely be sub-goals or short-term goals to reach the bigger goals, but these (plus a few unlisted personal items) are some of the things I want to accomplish in 2013.

  • GRADUATE! (Yay!!)

  • Read the entire Book of Mormon... in German. I have a minor in German, but I can't speak it fluently. I'm quickly losing most of what I learned in college, but I feel that reading the Book of Mormon in German will help me keep up at least a little of mein Deutsch. I've already broken down week by week which chapters I have to read to achieve this, and I'm doing pretty well so far. :) 

  • Find a job I love that moves me in the right direction in my profession (My long-term goal is to have my own political consulting firm. I envision a one-stop shop where candidates can come and have us run their entire campaign (fundraising, comm/press, social media, you name it!). I know that's a very long, LONG-term dream (and it'll involve finding the right people down the line), but hey, I've gotta take my baby steps now, right? Like... figuring out something BRILLIANT to say to Jon Huntsman when I see him again at our Utah Alumni event in < 2 weeks that will convince him to hire me for his 2016 campaign!)

  • Keep up with my back exercises. (Starting with committing to yoga three times a week in January.) I've slacked for various reasons, but in the end, la que va a pagar el precio soy yo. I know I need to be grateful for my body, and part of doing that is taking care of it by feeding it good things, exercising it, nursing it when it's sick, and (the hardest one for me) letting it sleep enough. So... I guess the real goal is to show the Lord gratitude for my body by taking care of it; to do what I have to do to take care of my health, but the small, manageable portion is doing my daily back exercises. :)

  • Spend more time connecting with friends in person (or on the phone, for long-distance friends). I feel like I've become more withdrawn over the past two semesters, and I don't like it. I'm the type of person who needs other people in her life. Right now, I seem to keep up with many of my friends mostly via FB/Instagram/blogs/etc., but I really want to make an effort to have more meaningful real life friendships.

  • Focus on developing Christlike Attributes. One of the things that's so scary about the fact that I'm going to graduate in a few months is the thought of having NOTHING to work towards... Tonight, we had a group chat with a few girlfriends (in real life!) about how difficult it was to transition from missionary life to real life, and for me, the very most difficult thing was feeling like I had no purpose; nothing towards which I was working. But regardless of what's happening in my life, working on developing Christlike attributes (when I use this term, I mean things like... faith, charity, patience, diligence, virtue, etc.) is something I ALWAYS need to be doing.

  • Expand (and maintain) my professional network. Along with developing personal relationships, I want to focus on professional relationships (many of whom are also  personal relationships). I want to do this by making time each week for (at least) one coffee meeting, lunch get-together, or networking event. I feel like this is something important, even when you're not job-searching. It's definitely important to maintain relationships and to let others know that you truly value them all the time, and not just when you need a "favor." And the benefit of new networking is that it pushes me out of my comfort zone and helps me to stay on my toes in Washington.

  • Learn to be present and give my all in everything I do. This one is going to be very hard for me. I have a really short attention span, and I find it hard to slow down mentally (even when I slow down physically). I get distracted easily, and I'm constantly fretting over everything I've yet to accomplish in any given time period. I think working on being present will help me deliver more at work and at school and help me to be more personally productive, as well. This one is definitely going to take a lot of sub-goals to work on... But I really want to feel like I'm on top with managing my time and the things I'm doing.

  • Reinstitute weekly planning! The first planner I ever owned (when I was 11!) said on the cover that "if you fail to plan, you plan to fail," and I firmly believe those words to be true. Plus, life goes so much more smoothly when you plan ahead, and it really is worth the time each week to plan for the week to come.

  • Keep an open mind. With regard to jobs, with regards to dating... and with anything else I do.

  • Save enough $$ to travel around the world. This is something I would LOVE to do after I graduate in August, but realistically, I may not be able to afford that this year. BUT! If I can't do it this year, I want to save enough money to be able to do it by the time I'm 30! (ie- Nov. 29, 2014). Let me know if you'd like to join me! :)

I'm grateful for a new year and a fresh start. Here's to making 2013 my best (and most exciting!) year yet! :)

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