I rarely succeed with New Years Resolutions, and I try to not make too many specific ones due to knowing my tendency to not follow through with them. There is one resolution though that I did manage to hold on to this whole year and it’s the most important one I could have kept.
“Take care of myself.”
Mental health and self-care should always be priorities, but with the way life feels most of the time, they tend to get the back burner. I know I’ve been guilty of it, when I create a to do list, I don’t include checking in to make sure I’m doing alright. But this was a year of self-transformation and taking care of myself and I’m so happy to be able to say that this is the best I have ever been. I have a habit of starting my “years” with my academic calendar, and with everything that went on this fall, it’s hard to believe that it was only a few months. But for me, fall 2014 was a rebirth and a new beginning, as if it was the start of a new year. And it was in a sense because it was a new me.
The biggest change: I made the decision to no longer play college golf. Instead, I chose to focus on my academics and give myself the opportunity to fully throw myself into developing my career path.
I suddenly went from the athlete, the golfer, an identity I had maintained for years, to just a student. I was terrified of an identity crisis, but excited about the chance to see what else I could bring to the table. And much to my relief, it turns out I can bring a lot.
I went into the semester as a new team member of Live Oak Communications, Elon’s on-campus communications agency (make sure to check out our website, we just redid it and it looks phenomenal), with the role of Creative Content Producer. This was my first time focusing on graphic design, specifically in an agency setting with real clients. I fell in love with the work and spent hours in the office working on different client projects. I found myself creating a variety of things and learning even more about Adobe InDesign and Illustrator. After a month of working there, I was honored with the promotion to Graphics Production Manager. This was a first, especially for someone who was only a bit into their first semester working. I continued to push myself, tackling huge projects that left me working multiple 7pm-3am nights in the office (purely voluntary and a good indication that I enjoy this type of work). We pushed ourselves as a creative team and produced amazing content. I found a group of students that I could bond with over new things, and I’m so happy to be a part of the Live Oak family. I couldn’t have asked for a better semester. But then I received an even bigger honor than I ever could have imagined. Moving into the spring semester, I will be Live Oak’s brand new Assistant Creative Director. Even typing it out I have a hard time believing it’s happening. Discovering this new passion was more than I could have ever dreamed of, and it helped validate my decision to no longer be a collegiate athlete. It has helped open entirely new doors in my future and I can’t wait to see where it takes me.
But in regards to the title of this blog post, that’s where some of the more internal changes begin.
For those who know me from home, you all know that I’ve always simply been Kathryn. Nothing else, no real nicknames. Not out of dislike for them, but I’ve always just stuck with my full first name. Well fast forward to this fall and things changed unexpectedly. Through class and Live Oak, I made a new friend who within roughly a day of knowing me, asked if he could call me Kat. Not really thinking anything about it, I said it was fine with me.
It seems funny that a nickname would have an impact on your personal life. As Shakespeare’s Juliet so profoundly asks, “What’s in a name?” Well, surprisingly a lot, at least in my case.
Thanks to the aforementioned friend, I found myself quickly meeting what felt like almost the entire School of Communications, and I was introduced as Kat to everyone. These people all started out as brief acquaintances, introductions made in the hallway, at parties, and on the sidewalk on campus, but then quickly evolved into amazing friendships. And they all knew me by this new name. As my involvement grew within the Communications department, I found myself answering to the nickname, though it wasn’t until I started signing emails as Kat and answered the phone with “Hey it’s Kat!” that I realized how much it had taken over. But it was more than just a nickname. This new me, Kat, was the version of myself that I had been aspiring to be for my whole life. Kat was confident, both in herself and her work. She was involved, volunteering to help out with other projects and spending hours helping film, edit, record audio, and design. She was someone that people said, “I’ve heard a lot of great things about you.”
And the craziest part was that she was me.
It also sounds a little silly I’m sure, a little too out there. I mean it’s just a nickname right? Maybe. But also at the same time, I know that I’ve changed this semester and it really traces back to the simple question, “Can I call you Kat?” I’m so thankful to have been able to make so many new friends this semester, people I can’t believe I’ve gone this long without knowing but people I know that will remain a part of my life long past graduation. I’ve been exposed to so many new opportunities this year and I wouldn’t trade them for anything. And it all came about in thanks to me going with my gut and making a decision that was best for me.
While it was hard having the fall semester come to a close, mainly just because it meant it was over, I am so excited for the new year.
I will be spending my January term studying abroad in Europe, hitting up England, Germany, and the Czech Republic. After that I’ll be coming back to amazing friends, great classes, some huge projects, and even more great opportunities. So far the plan for summer 2015 is to work in Los Angeles (I’m avoiding emailing about internships while I write this post), and experience life in Southern California. And then I’ll be a senior. Okay that part I’m not too excited about, life outside of college is too intimidating to think about right now. But until then, I’m embracing all of 2015.
Are there things I want to work on in the upcoming year? Of course. But I don’t think I’m going to worry too much about them right now. For now, I think the process of taking care of myself has done more than any other resolution I can make.
Here’s to 2015, may the adventures continue.