Hey y’all, I’m back! After a writing hiatus, I am *hopefully* back on the grind.
Just over a year ago I was offered my first full-time job and the time that’s passed since has been absolutely bonkers. I have learned so much in the blink of an eye that was this year and wanted to share my biggest takeaways from my first year as a young professional.
– Personal boundaries are everything. I’m a relationship-minded individual. I love meeting new people and have always thrived on building relationships with others. I believe in vulnerability, storytelling, and honesty, so I’ve always been a pretty open book. This year was incredibly difficult for me in terms of setting personal boundaries in my new relationships. You see, this was the first time that I held a supervisory role, and in 24 years and 2 degrees, I’ve not learned how to successfully manage people. This was a new challenge for me.
Separating myself from the students that I supervised, and building professional relationships with them and my peers was something I had never thought about until I was in this position. What I came to realize this year is that I am not here to be anyone’s friend. I am a supervisor, an employee, and a colleague. If friendships develop out of these relationships, that’s great, but coming in with the mindset that I was seeking friendship with these people, set me up for personal rather than professional relationships, and yielded some struggles when it came to accountability, for me and for those around me.
My best friend, Monica calls this rational detachment. This year I learned that I cannot be everyone’s friend, nor do I want to be. I simply cannot please everyone and that is OK with me now. I must separate myself from those I supervise. I must separate myself from my students. I must separate myself from my work and my colleagues. No, this does not mean that I no longer care about them, because I truly believe that you cannot do this job if you don’t care. It simply means that I must set stricter boundaries for myself.
I’m a giver, but when I have given all I can, how am I going to continue to perform. Who is going to give to me when I’ve given all I can? As a live-in, on-call professional, boundaries have been tough for me. I can’t “leave” my work. I’m always “on” to some capacity, and that is tough to balance. So, for the upcoming year, my goal is to set some boundaries for myself, keep work at a distance when I can, and see what comes from my relationships as they grow, rather than starting out with full-force friendship mindset.
– Making friends as an adult is really weird…and difficult. As I mentioned above, I am such a relationship person. I spend so much of my time wooing people into liking me because I don’t do well by myself. I am just not a solo person.
Anyway, try as I might, I have made few friends this year. My closest friends are my coworkers and colleagues. This is great because it makes for a really easy working environment, but it isn’t always healthy to spend all your time with the same people. I’m trying to branch out and meet new people, spend more time off campus, and make friends outside of my work community, but it’s hard.
I’ve held tight to my crew from South Dakota. I’ve held tight to my dearest Monica, Emily, Ryan, Brent, and Lauren because my “Marquette family” are my forevers. But these people live hours, states away and are living their own lives. I need to build my community here in CO, because if I’m being honest, I don’t see myself leaving this great state anytime soon.
– Small town living is…something. I grew up in a small town. I’ve only ever lived in small towns. I like small towns. But, something about living in a small town as a professional is different from living in a small town as a child and a college student.
Small town living amplifies everything. Everyone knows everyone. Everyone hears about everyone else’s business. Finding outlets for fun means leaving town, because there are very few options.
I am so thankful that I no longer live in my hometown. Small town life in an unfamiliar place has brought me so much appreciation for small, rural communities, replacing the usual negative feelings that I have toward “home”. I was so ready to leave my hometown after high school, that sometimes I forget the beauty of it. I feel less stuck in this community than I did back then. I love this small town that I now call home. I love the small towns that I’ve lived in before, but this year has made me realize that I want something bigger. I want to experience city living for a while. I want to experience a larger university setting. I have an idea of what my next move is, both personally and professionally. This is the first time I’ve ever had an idea as to what my next move will be. It’s nice to finally feel like I know what I am doing.
I’m still growing and learning and making mistakes, but I am happy to be where I am and to have learned all that I have this year. It’s been quite a period of transformation.
Cheers to all that’s to come!