Reflections on 2013

2013 was a crazy year for me. It marked a lot of important events in my life and was the culmination of years of hard work.

In February I was hired as a student worker on campus. This meant I didn’t have to work in fast food places anymore and I was making a decent wage doing something I actually enjoyed. I almost didn’t think this would ever be possible because I worked some not so motivating jobs over the last 8 – 9 years. At my new gig, I worked with a senior web developer and made some really cool things for the campus website. That marked the moment where I knew what I wanted to do. I always knew I wanted to do something that was working with the web, but specifically working at a university sounded best of all. I really enjoy campus life, so working on a campus seemed like it would be pretty cool after graduation. That felt like the perfect next step for me to take.

On April 19 I was awarded the Outstanding Senior in Information Science award at SUNY Oswego. The announcement took me by surprise because I still felt like I had no clue what I was doing, but the award was much appreciated and boosted my confidence.

In May, I graduated magna cum laude from SUNY Oswego with a major in Information Science and a minor in Computer Science. My time at SUNY was so meaningful. I went in knowing I wanted to better myself. The environment in the computer science department really helped foster change in me. My CS teachers were phenomenal, and even my non-CS teachers (philosophy and native american history) were very good at what they do. Excellent faculty, challenging courses, and motivated peers made for a great learning experience.

Also in May, I applied for my first “real” job at a University for a web developer position. My qualifications were pretty good for the job minus a few things but I figured I’d give it a shot. The worst that could happen was they would say No and I’d be in the same spot as when I started. I knew I must be doing good when I was called back for a second interview less than a week after my first interview.

In June I was officially hired as an Associate Web Developer at Binghamton University. It was a good place to work and it fit in really well with my wanting to work at a University. The campus was beautiful and my co-workers were hard working. I was working on campus when Barack Obama visited Binghamton. It was all a lot of fun, but it was weird leaving Oswego. My wife and I both missed the lake as well as our friends and family. Also, living in Vestal (just outside Binghamton) was pretty expensive and it was hard to get a foothold financially.

In August, I noticed an opening at SUNY Oswego for the same position title I currently had in Binghamton. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go back to Oswego at first but I felt like I would regret it if I didn’t at least try and see what happens. I applied, interviewed, and was hired in late September, early October. It was a good feeling that we were coming back but we laughed that we didn’t even get to experience one winter away from Oswego. Oh well 🙂

My last day at Binghamton University was October 17 and it was bittersweet. Leaving our life in Binghamton was hard, but luckily we weren’t too rooted there yet. Months after leaving, I still think about our experiences down there and the people I worked with. We really got to like the Nature Preserve on campus and I was building some neat things at work. I’m really thankful for the opportunity and experiences I had at there.

On November 4 I began working at SUNY Oswego. It felt good to be back where I worked as a student. I immediately hit the ground running with some neat projects (hopefully will be launched before Spring, but we’ll see) and had the opportunity to completely redo my workflow. I integrated some incredibly valuable tools into my arsenal and have become a lot more efficient because of it.

So in 2013, I’ve received an award, got a job that made me realize what I really wanted to do, graduated college, got my first real job, moved to Binghamton, got my second real job back in Oswego, moved back to Oswego and re-imagined how I work. When I think of where I was at just a year ago, I feel really good about where I’m at right now. It’s all because of a decision to be better and then staying focused on the path.

As this year winds down, it’s time to start thinking about how to make 2014 even better than 2013.