By Paula Silverman ’16
‘As you read, you’ll notice how this post is written with a personal tone, as if it were a journal entry into my private thoughts. That’s because it is – this is adapted from weeks and months of personal thoughts as I begin my journey south – to a new job, a new home – my new life.’
1 – 2 – 3. Three days is the time that I have left in Columbus, where I’ve spent the last two years earning a Master’s degree in Healthcare Administration. Two years is the time that I’ve taken to reinvent myself, to take on a new role for the second time. (The first time was after my mother passed away when I was 21 and had to take on a whole new role and life.) So that leaves me at 1 – 2… 3.
Why reinvent myself for a new role when I could just change? I specifically use this word because I don’t want to just adapt to the world around me – I want to be the best version of myself, which requires a reinventing. So as I pack up my life and reflect on the amazing past two years (and truly 26 years), so many questions are running through my head.
What possessions do I need to take, and which can be left behind? What will it take to stay connected with the ones who’ve meant so much to me over these last two years while balancing new relationships? How do I reinvent myself into the woman I see distantly in the future, just a grasp away from where I feel I want to be, as I teeter back and forth? What does my career hold for me in the next year? What goals do I need to set in order to make that happen?
Even though I can’t answer any of these questions now, or even many in the near future – it’s important that I have these ideas in the back of my head as I prepare to make the nearly 1,200 mile trek from Columbus to Houston. Instead of answering the questions I’ve decided to set goals for myself in order to help me prepare. The goals are divided up into professional, personal, and “miscellaneous” because no good list is complete without a miscellaneous pile – just like that pile of clothes on my floor that isn’t quite workout clothes, but I probably shouldn’t go to Ruth’s Chris in them either.
- Attend ACHE 2017 in Chicago: This is going to be a great opportunity for me to not only learn from the leader sessions but also to reconnect with my friends from the program and continue to network with others in the field.
- Enroll in MD Anderson’s Clinical Safety and Effectiveness course and Quality Texas Training Course: Both of these courses are offered to me through MD Anderson. I still don’t know what job I see myself settling in after my fellowship, but I have a passion for patient quality and safety, driven deeper by personal experiences with my mother’s illness and a class I took during my graduate program.
- Network, network, and network: This really should be a blog post on its own – although many articles and posts are already written about this topic – it’s a true talent to be able to be comfortable talking to new people and truly engaging with them. It is something I constantly work on and struggle with even as a seemingly outgoing person.
- Join a Cross Fit gym: I’ve always enjoyed strength training. This is going to be an opportunity for me to push myself harder than I ever have, make new friends, and continue to focus on my mental toughness along with my physical health.
- Visit Friends: I pride myself on my ability to keep in touch with those who matter most to me. I truly enjoy calling up my friends to check in and see how they’re doing on a two-hour phone call. However, I have missed multiple opportunities to go and physically visit. I am lucky to have friends not only scattered around the US but also abroad. I aim to make those trips and take time to keep in touch.
- Explore Texas: I am a homebody. I like sitting at home and binging on the latest Bloodline series (or the new Gilmore Girls season that is coming out), but in my last week in Columbus I started to explore – I tried new restaurants, went hiking in Hocking Hills, and rode my motorcycle to places I’d never been. But what else have I missed out on? What more could I have seen if I had been ready to explore and be more adventurous? I will not sit back and watch the weeks and months pass before I explore Texas.
- Join a Synagogue: I am a religious woman but have put it on the back burner for the last two years. I have a wonderful Jewish community here in Columbus but I was able to experience it with my cousins and friends. Joining a community in a whole new city while knowing no one there at first, will be a growing experience and one I hope to begin the day I get to Houston.
So how is this going to change me into a new person? As people continue their lives especially through education or a new job, many don’t realize that sometimes they take a back seat and just allow things to “happen” or run their course. Until I assumed the role of President of our student organization I was definitely “sitting on the bench” more than I should have been. As I start my transition into a career and out of school mode, I need to push myself to continue making opportunities. It would be just as easy to sit back through my fellowship year, but with these goals I hope to continue to push myself further and faster.
I encourage those in similar situations to push themselves; sit on committees, be involved, make new connections, help those around you achieve their goals, and so on – set your own goals. As I reinvent myself into a southern girl, career-focused, and driven to make positive changes in the world, I hope to use the “checklist” above to keep me on track. Until I truly have a career “end goal” in mind these are the steps that I have chosen to take in order to ensure that I am setting myself up for success. Whatever your passion, next big step, goal, or dream is, make sure to set yourself up to be able to reinvent yourself in order to make it a complete success.