2011 Year In Review: March – December


So I’ve been in Ohio for the holidays and a much deserved break. What I didn’t realize when I started my Year In Review series was that my access to the internet and writing time here would be spotty at best. I’ve decided to put the rest of the months into one post so that I could complete this challenge for myself (and you the reader). Let’s get started;

March

My job hunt really began to pick up and I applied to 3 jobs this month alone; one at Rocketship Education, one at the Level Playing Field Institute, and of course, one at City Year. I spent a lot of time refining my resumé, brushing up on interviewing tips, and constantly perusing CraigsList for a job. It encouraged me to write this post about using the internet to search for jobs. Overall, March was pretty uneventful.

April

Woohoo! Birthday month. Here goes. I took the plunge, jumped off the Blackberry ship, and claimed my spot in the iPhone universe. It has been one of the best technological decisions I’ve ever made. Stupid things that would happen before (slow OS, crappy internet browser, etc.) stopped almost instantly and not to mention it just looked better than my Storm II. I’m still not even sure why I decided having a Storm II would be a good idea. Good riddance.

In other news, I celebrated my birthday by taking a trip with Krista to Ft. Lauderdale, FL to visit her family in their new house. We had a FANTASTIC time. We went to the Hard Rock Casino, spent time at home, and quite a bit of time on the beach. I think the thing I liked the most about Florida was how warm the water was at the beach. Oh yeah, and winning money at the casino.

May

My Obama takes your Osama. Checkmate. Technically he’s not my Obama because I can’t legally vote but if I could…yeah. Anyway he helped orchestrate the takedown of the guy who took responsibility for the 9/11 attacks on the United States. I first found out on Twitter, then on Facebook, and finally on the television. It was amazing to me how instant the news of Osama’s death was on social media networks everywhere. We saw this again with the deaths of Gaddafi and Kim Jong Il and really I should be used to this by now but I digress…

Other May highlights:

  • Alex and Katie came to visit
  • Krista and I started apartment hunting
  • Job hunt continued
  • Saw a lot of Roller Derby

June

Easily one of the most exciting months of 2011 for me. Greg, Krista, and I decided on a new apartment only a block away from our old one with a huge patio area in our back yard. I was beside myself with excitement because finding a new apartment was a relatively daunting process for me (I just don’t think I was in the mental space for it without a job and all) and the fact that we agreed on one that was the right price and location was amazing.

June was also the month that I was offered a position as a Program Manager at City Year. The interview process was strenuous with multiple rounds of interviews plus ‘homework’ exercises. It was all worth it for me though because I knew that City Year was where I wanted to be. On a related note, I also graduated from my second corps year at City Year which was a bittersweet time. Although I knew that I would be coming back, the group of people I’d surrounded myself with for the past two years would be gone in just a few short months. That was hard.

In late June the New York Senate voted to legalize same-sex marriage in the state. It was the first time I’d sat through Senate arguments over a bill in its entirety and it was boring interesting to hear arguments on both sides of the floor. When the vote occurred and the result came up on the screen I was ecstatic. Thinking about it now gives me the chills. Wow.

To close out June I found this great video that taught me about being alone. I noticed that I spent a lot of my time with people and whenever I was alone I’d feel uncomfortable. I came across this video on a friend’s Facebook that helped put this into perspective for me.

July (aka All About Academy)

I went to Boston for City Year’s annual Summer Academy training conference. It would be my third academy but by no means was it ‘run of the mill’. This year’s academy was the best one I’d been to mostly because they’d created ‘tracked’ learning opportunities which basically means that ‘one size’ doesn’t fit all. As a first-year Program Manager I had the opportunity to go to very specific trainings to help me in my specific capacity. Genius. One of my favorite things about Summer Academy is the camaraderie that exists every year. Whether you’re a City Year veteran or it’s your first day with the organization there’s an understanding that we’re doing this amazingly groundbreaking work together. This picture, taken by Elliot Haney, explains this camaraderie better than I ever can.

Spirit Break at Summer Academy

August

This was when work really started for me. I helped recruit 300+ students for our Summer Leadership Academy. This academy served two purposes – to help students get in gear for the new school year and to train the incoming Corps Members for their year of service. The experience at Summer Leadership Academy was great especially since I’d seen this program when it was on a small scale (100 students for 3 hours) to the size it was this year (250+ students for 6 hours).

In unrelated news I went to the annual Football preseason Battle of the Bay between the Oakland Raiders and San Francisco 49ers. Worst decision ever. There were fights among fans every few minutes and it was all very scary. This news article pretty much explains why I’ll never go to a Battle of the Bay again.

September

  • Christine and Jake came to visit
  • Quit drinking soda for the month
  • Started (and stopped) going to the gym
  • Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was repealed

October

This was probably a great month for me professionally. I helped design and execute a Collaborative Learning Center at my school site. One of the biggest complaints I’ve heard from teachers over the past few years is that they don’t have enough time to collaborate with each other to help accelerate student achievement and I spent a lot of time thinking about how we could help them in that realm. To shorten a long story, we’ve started giving most grade levels 1.5 hours of collaboration time every day to help them better meet the needs of students. This isn’t something that’s done in many other places – I’m excited to see where it goes.

Krista and I celebrated our two year anniversary in October as well (we think?). We’re not extremely clear on the exact date but we guessed that it was sometime in early to mid October and settled on the 12th. Facebook seems to agree. The past two years with Krista has been amazing and I’ve grown so much personally. I’ve begun to change from a person who was solely professionally on track to personally on track as well. Simply put, I couldn’t do this without her. Here’s to the rest of our lives.

  • #OccupyWallStreet movement began picking up steam
  • Steve Jobs died
  • Halloween-themed bar crawl in San Francisco

November

My friend Megan helped create a video for City Year as part of the Trevor Project’s “It Gets Better” campaign. LGBT equality is an issue that’s near and dear to my heart and although I wasn’t subject to a whole lot of bullying during my school years I know that I was lucky. Sometimes I think that I have to choose what issue I want to give my skill and attention to but then I realize that this a false choice. I can affect change in any organization to further causes that I believe are worth it. This is exactly what Megan did. I’ve never gotten a chance to thank her personally – I hope this mention counts. Here’s the video:

December

If October was the best professional month for me then December has got to be the best personal month for me.

I’ve been a smoker for 10 years. I remember the first time I picked up a cigarette and smoked it to try to impress some new friends. I continued to smoke and told myself that it’d be just a passing habit. 10 years later I was smoking heavily – and I realized that I was becoming increasingly unhappy with my body. So I did two things, I joined a new gym (that I love) and quit smoking. The choice to quit smoking came out of nowhere and three weeks since my quit date (December 8th) I feel fantastic. I’m happy to have kicked the habit once and for all and even though I know it’s a journey – it feels good to be at this point.

Looking Forward

2012 will bring a lot of good things for me and I’m looking forward to it. My only resolution for this new year is to write a monthly recap so that I can keep better track of what’s happening throughout my year. I’m lucky that the new Facebook timeline exists now because I wouldn’t have gotten through this post without it.

Thanks for reading! See you in the new year.

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