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.

What do you think?