Nothing bad ever happened to me, that was until I was twenty-four years old. Only then, two weeks before Christmas, did my life forever change. On a cold, rainy December day my father was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease, a terminal illness with no real known cause or cure. I drove my dad and my mom to the appointment that day and when my mom asked if we could stop at the store, my dad said he was too tired to go inside. So, we sat together under a neon grocery store sign waiting. It was dark, and I only hoped he couldn’t see me holding back my choked back tears.
If I am anything, I am my father’s daughter. When I started kindergarten, my dad started graduate school. He had a successful career in the Army, serving twenty-two years and retired as a First Sergeant, but only after an entire career ended, did he find his real passion, teaching at a maximum-security prison, where now, a college program, that he founded, is named after him. He taught me too. He taught me that a job worth doing is worth doing well, to measure twice, and to cut once, and that education is the most powerful thing you can have.
In the past year, I’ve been faced with figuring out what I’m passionate about. I graduated with an English degree almost four years ago. I went to school for something I loved, to write, and I thought I’d become a writer, or a publisher, or an editor, or a copywriter but something else got in the way. I put myself through college working full-time at Best Buy, a job where I continued to get promoted, and where I continued to do well, a job I still have now. I supervise a team of ten incredible employees, I run a multi-million-dollar department, and I fell in love with something I didn’t go to school for, running a business, but the thing is, is that someday I want to run my own business, not someone else’s.
I wish I could tell you that I wanted to be the CEO of Google, or an executive for Apple, or Facebook, but all I want is to make my father proud and to be something that I can be proud of too; I want to have employees who I inspire, a business I believe in, and to continue to be a leader I am proud of. I want to become a graduate student to give myself the tools to find my passion and make it a career and there’s nowhere better to do that than where it all started for me, at New Paltz.