The beginning of something great

I’m not big on New Year’s celebrations. I’ve never been into big parties or resolutions. But 2009 warrants a post because it contained the end of an era and the beginning of another.

In the eulogy I gave at my mother’s funeral, I said that she taught me to always find opportunities, even when they come in the form of disappointments. Included in this is the belief that when one door closes, another opens. 2009 is the perfect example of that.

It began with my last semester as a grad student at Georgetown. I never thought I would do a thesis (to be honest I didn’t think I could do it well), but the spring 2009 semester was filled with research, theses, reading and writing. I was taking other classes, too, but by far my time was taken up by my thesis.

Oh, I also began a full-time internship at DAG. This was the first unpaid internship I took in D.C., and, interestingly enough, the first at a for-profit company.

From January-May, I went to class, went to my internship, read books about media bias, did statistical calculations, drove to Virginia Beach to visit David who was finishing up his second year at law school, and writing my thesis in pieces. The culmination of the semester was my thesis defense in April. For some reason I made it open, meaning that other students could come watch. I guess I didn’t think anyone would care about my thesis considering it was about media bias in the 2008 Republican primary, and all of my classmates were on the opposite side of the political spectrum. But a few people came — enough to make the small conference room full. It was raining that day & I didn’t have an umbrella, but I drove in and got there early enough to dry off, set up and mentally prepare myself for the presentation. Did I mention I’m not a fan of public speaking?

I talked about the inspiration for my paper, reviewed examples of compensatory journalism in past elections, explained the statistical calculations that supported my hypothesis and answered questions from my thesis advisors (Dr. Diana Owen of CCT was my primary advisor and Dr. Stephen Farnsworth of GMU was my second reader) and fellow students. After the presentation was over, Dr. Owen & Dr. Farnsworth went into a separate to discuss my fate grade, and I waited… When they came back, they told me that I received distinction (the highest honor) and that my thesis was rare in that it was concise and to the point (many students tend to be wordy because of the high minimum word count), and that I should consider applying for a PhD program. Needless to say, I was ecstatic.

After that, all I had to do was wait for graduation. Soon after graduation, I received an offer to become a full-time employee at the company I had been interning with while many of my other classmates continued to look for some sort of work, whether it be full-time or an internship opportunity. Needless to say, I thought my life was going along smoothly — what did I have to worry about? I had a job in D.C. that one of my friends described as a “dream job” and was making it on my own.

Then one day I got the phone call. The one that forever changed my life. When I thought I would be adjusting to life as a career woman, I had to adjust to life without my mom. I had to plan a funeral; write and give my mother’s eulogy; go through important documents and sort out the estate; hire a probate attorney, sign court papers and deal with creditors; deal with family members — all the while trying to just keep my head above water.

Over the next few months, I was just trying to make it through and get everything done — work assignments and estate obligations — while adjusting to life on my own. I had to grow up, and fast.

When Christmas time began approaching, I was dreading it. Christmas is my favorite time of year, but it was also my mom’s favorite time of year — and her birthday is Dec. 2. Needless to say, I wasn’t looking forward to the season. But little did I know, that Christmas would be the best Christmas ever.

David proposed on Christmas Day 2009, and we began wedding preparations almost immediately. As one chapter of my life closed, another one began.

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. – Psalm 34:18

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