Prior to coming to Cleveland State, I spent close to 20 years working at Miami University in Oxford, OH. When one thinks of a quintessential college town, Oxford usually comes to mind — with ivy-covered brick Georgian architecture, streets lined with fraternity houses, and green space galore. Surrounded by cornfields, the population is a little more than 8,000 residents, and swells to 24,000 when classes are in session. Imagine seeing all 24,000 shopping at Kroger on the same day.
I lived three stop signs and one traffic light from work. In the commute, I rarely made it through one song on the radio. I miss that commute! When you live in a small town, everyone knows your name, and often the names of your kids, the names of your pets, and your preferred Starbucks drink. I remember once the UPS driver brought a package to my office. I noticed my home address on the package and asked why he delivered it to my office. He replied, “I thought you might want it sooner here.” Small town Americana.
Moving to the BIG city of Cleveland was a dramatic change. My three-minute commute became 30 minutes (without traffic). No one knew my name, the name of my pets, nor my coffee-drinking preferences. Yet, the opportunities to create and make a difference were too plentiful to go back.
In considering the move to Cleveland, I assessed my life, both personally and professionally. As I reflected, it became clearer and clearer to me that Cleveland State would be where I launched the next chapter in my life. The opportunities to grow, to create, to make a difference were too great to pass up. Although I was probably set in my ways on a number of fronts, I also viewed the move as an opportunity to start over with a new slate.
Taking that time to assess and map out the future was extremely valuable to my decision-making process and to my growth.
Moving from the cornfields to a new city on the rise may not be the best (or most convenient) option for you. A new year, however, may provide that starting point to assess the previous year as well as potential opportunities to more purposefully and meaningfully map out a professional and personal plan.
I was never much for New Year’s resolutions (they all meant committing to another diet that would eventually fail), but I do believe there are times in our lives where a little quiet reflection allows us to find that voice deep down to inspire us to take that next leap forward.
I love my job, and I love living in Cleveland. I do miss former colleagues and friends, though I don’t miss Kroger. Cleveland State has been all that I imagined and wished.
It’s never too late to stop, reflect, consider, and map out future paths. It’s amazing how clear decisions can be, and actions can follow, when you discover the clarity to move forward. Happy New Year to you, and good luck on your journeys moving forward.