As one who is wildly averse to change, I found 2015 to be refreshing and positive overall... and it was chock full of change!
So as I sit here, I wanted to take a moment to review what's happened and what is ahead.
The winter of 2015 saw a very stressed Meg. It was the final stretch of my dissertation before defending on April 2nd. At the same time I started house hunting and job hunting. There were many sleepless nights of writing, looking on Zillow and Higher Ed Jobs.com and crying over the uncertainty. I did over 30 interviews and filled out over 100 applications.
But it paid off. I successfully defended before the deadline for Spring.
The girls in the office at GMU had a surprise celebration for me after the defense. I didn't want ANYONE to come to the defense itself, for fear of looking foolish. But I welcomed the well wishes (and chocolate cake) after. :) And then there was the job hunting still looming over me...
May 16th, I officially became Dr. Megan Tucker. BOOM! I got hooded by my advisor, Dr. Todd Rose, in front of my Dad, Mom, Rob and Val, and my best friend, Kristen. I cried. It was a whole thing. But I made it to my goal, which was to have my PhD before my 30th birthday. There was no other motivation behind that date, then to push me to not wait or take too long to finish. It worked.
June 1st, I started my new job at the National Communication Association in Washington, D.C. I am the project manager for the Learning Outcomes in Communication research until September, 2016. It's a bummer that it's only a temporary position, but my God, what an opportunity!!! Plus I get to work with LaKesha. We share an office, so the hilarity ensues. ;) I couldn't say no to it. I still teach part-time at GMU and NVCC, because Lord knows I can't go a semester without teaching! That would be ridiculous.
And I got to see my two favorite bands on tour again: Breaking Benjamin and Shinedown. And it was magical :)
August 2nd, Joe moved!! It happened my friends. It took 5 years, but the stars finally aligned and Joe moved in with us. Being crammed in the apartment with three grown people was a rough way to start it all off, but he took it well and the growing pains subsided pretty quickly. Plus we were about to upgrade...
August 24th, I turned 30. Yup. It happened. I'm old now. All my joints ache all the time. But, it was a wonderful day and SO many friends came to celebrate!!!
August 28th, I closed on a house. I KNOW, RIGHT!? I bought a house! Well... dad helped me a LOT. In fact, most of the down payment was early inheritance from him, so without him I'd still be in an apartment. But nonetheless, I am now a homeowner of a 2,000sq/ft townhouse in Centreville. It's not perfect, but it is wonderful, and a good project for me as a first time homeowner. I am quickly learning all of the intricacies of owning over renting, and what responsibilities come with it. But every evening after work, when I pull into my parking spot, I am still shocked that it's mine. I want to keep it looking nice, so I've also started throwing things away (a big deal for a pack rat), and trying to "adultify" my furnishings. It's a slow process, but I'm getting there.
September 1st, was my last day as an advisor at GMU. This was one of the bleak spots of the year. I truly miss advising. Hell, I miss spending all day at Mason with the girls. -_- Don't get me wrong, I love my new job and the pay that comes with it, but it definitely was a big change. If I could be an advisor again I would jump at the chance. It was so fulfilling! I miss you Cathy, Maria, Lisa, Britt and work studies!!!!
November was a big travel month because of the convention for NCA in Vegas. So I got to finally spend some time there and see Sin City from more than just an airplane window. But better than that was that LaKesha, Kris and I rented a car and drove to Arizona to see the Grand Canyon and Hoover Dam! Two bucket list items checked off! And it was breathtaking... and breathtakingly cold. But super worth it. Also, I got to host my first Thanksgiving at my house a week later! Mom flew up from Florida, and Care, Jamey and Vicki drove down from Pennsylvania. :)
December 2015, I not only saw Kristen get hooded for her PhD, but I also got to spend a lot of time with family. I was lucky enough to see Mom, Dad, Joe and Care over the holiday, where usually I'd have to choose who to see and who to apologize to.
To cap off the year I got to spend New Year's Eve with Joe, Mom, Cathy and John. We played games until the ball dropped and set off firecrackers after midnight. And I FINALLY got a New Year's kiss. <3 nbsp="" p="">
So what's next? I want to spend this year improving myself. Specifically my financial health and my physical health. I need to save more and pay off debts. I want to be strict with my budget and keep improving the house. Also with any resolution, I want to lose some of this weight and start living healthier. I've always had the PhD as a crutch for not taking care of myself, and now there is no excuse. I need to get back to being energetic and proud of the way I look. Not perfect, but enough that I don't scoff at myself in the mirror every day. And of course, since my contract at NCA ends in September, I'm already back on the job market. So the hunt is on again... but this time I feel more confident.
Cheers to 2016 my loves. And thank you for all the help along the way!