Hey guys! Happy New Years Eve! It’s about that time of year again where I look back at the past year and reflect on some of the greatest moments of the year. I came into 2016 pretty broken. I was in the midst of dealing with a difficult breakup, I was stuck in a job that I could no longer stand, and I was about as miserable as could be.
2016 was by no means a perfect year. I’ve been battling a terrible illness for the past couple of months and was recently diagnosed with bronchitis. My beloved cat and friend, Gizmo also passed away at the ripe old approximate age of 21.
Rest in Peace…Gizmo
But overall, despite how many people claim that 2016 was their “worst year ever”, 2016 ended up being pretty good for me. Here 6 of my best moments from 2016.
- FINALLY going to NYC…(Twice, actually).
I have been obsessed with NYC ever since I was a little kid. I swear, I must have been born a city slicker. However, up until 2016 I’ve never actually been to NYC, my loved was based solely on what I read about it o seen on TV or in movies.
I had plans in the past to go. I was supposed to go to see the Statue of Liberty for a field trip in 7th grade, but when the terrorists attacked the twin towers on 9/11/2001 when I was in 6th grade, so naturally that field trip was cancelled.
I was also going to go on September 11, 2013 for a job interview I had with the Christian Post. However, at the time I wasn’t exactly in the same place as I am today with my faith. I was on the fence about the job and unsure about it being in NYC which was pretty far from where I lived. I received another job offer to work at a local SEO agency the day before my scheduled interview, so I decided to accept that job offer instead.
Fast forward to 2.5 years later and my magical job suddenly wasn’t so magical. I was unhappy and more than ready to move on.
I applied to more than 100 jobs, some of which were in NYC. When I got a call back to interview for an Assistant Digital Producer job at Scholastic I was stoked. Working for Scholastic seemed like a dream to me. I grew up reading every scholastic book imaginable and was obsessed with the book fairs. This love and obsession carried on to me even in my adult life.
The interview was pretty much a disaster. The recruiter was super nice and that preliminary screening went well, but when I met with the person who I guess would’ve been my boss it all went down hill. I thought a digital producer was basically the same thing as a content coordinator but I quickly found out I was completely wrong.
I still don’t know what an Assistant Digital Producer does at Scholastic, but I know it’s definitely not blogging, social media, or content marketing…
But I had a great time in NYC anyway. Just being able to see the office was amazing and NYC was everything I thought it would be. I definitely still want to move there.
I loved my first trip to NYC so much that I decided to come back there to celebrate my 26th birthday. I went to eat lunch at Black Tap NYC. This restaurant was all the rage at the time thanks to their famous milkshakes. The restaurant was actually really disappointing and the staff was horrible, but the rest of the trip was great. I was really just in complete awe of the city. I enjoyed going to the M&M Factory and Bubba Gump and exploring Times Square. I can’t wait to get back there again.
2. Seeing Good Charlotte…Twice.
For those of you who don’t know, Good Charlotte is by far my favorite band. I saw them perform for the first time in 100+ degree weather outside on Father’s Day at Festival Pier in Penn’s Landing back in 2010. Since then I’ve seen them Cherry Hill, at the TLA multiple times, and most recently at the Fillmore. I’ve seen them a total of 5 or 6 times, two of which were in 2016.
Seeing them in 2016 was especially special for me because it was the first time I could REALLY hear them. They sounded just as amazing as I remembered. I liked that I could hear everything they said when they were just talking, too. Before receiving my cochlear implants in 2014 and 2015 I would miss out a lot on their talks to the crowd and teasing each other. The Madden twins have such a great sense of humor that really comes out when they play shows together. It was great to finally get to hear it in these shows.
Both of the shows were amazing. The TLA will probably always be my favorite venue, but the Fillmore was pretty awesome, too. I like the atmosphere of the TLA better and have a lot of great memories at the TLA, but I think the sound quality at the Fillmore was better. While both shows were incredible I’ll have to say the one I saw in November at the Fillmore was probably their best show ever. It was the perfect blend of old and new songs and so very nostalgic. It was like my childhood come to life in musical form.
I can’t wait to see them again. For those of you who really, really, really love me they will be performing/traveling with this amazing warped tour/emo/punk cruise ship package thing in October. If you buy it for me I promise to love you for forever…just saying…
3. Working at Becker’s School Supplies
This one probably comes as a surprise for most of you guys.. My job at Becker’s didn’t really work out. I actually didn’t get this job originally. It’s kind of a funny story. I found the open SEO Marketer position accidentally on Monster.com, a website I rarely ever used during my job search (I was pretty loyal/exclusive to LinkedIn). I applied and got an interview pretty quickly and thought I had nailed it. I couldn’t have asked for a better interview. I got along with everyone so well. Being obsessed with school supplies and wearing paperclip earrings to my interview also helped a lot haha.
Imagine my devastation when I received a phone call while at work on April Fool’s Day of all days. I couldn’t believe it.
But the story didn’t end there. I got another call from them about a week later. Apparently things didn’t work out with the first person they hired, so I was next in line. Eager to get our of the miserable job I was currently stuck in, I quickly accepted.
Becker’s wasn’t a bad job at all. It was actually almost anything you could ask for in a job. It was pretty much the complete opposite from my current job which was a plus. It was a family owned business that benefitted the education system in a positive way. I was honestly just excited to get out of the agency life. I also liked that it was a small family-owned business that was around for many years. But my favorite parts? Everyone was sooooooooo nice and professional and there was none of the typical office drama or politics.
I got along great with everyone and was well-liked. It was refreshing to see and work with various members of the Becker family each day. They owned the company and were at the top of the tier, but they never made you feel like you were below them. Everyone was all part of the same team. They valued and respected all of their employees. I’ll never forget how the first thing Kurt Becker, the company’s treasurer, asked me was what I thought about the website and what I’d fix. I was an employee at that time for less than a week and he still valued my opinion and expertise enough to want to know my ideas for change.
As great as Becker’s was though, it wasn’t right for me. I spent years working in SEO in the past, but it was much different. I learned that when it comes to SEO, I’m all about creating content such as blogs and other website content that is optimized for SEO. I’m not much for Google Analytics (although I’m learning!) or any of the data/analytical side of things which this position dealt a lot with. Also, while I loved school supplies my love for school supplies didn’t quite match up with the products the company sold. I thought this was a company that sold a bunch of notebooks and pens, but it was really all early childhood education supplies like furniture for childcare centers.
I used to love product meetings where vendors will show us their stuff and try to persuade us to purchase it, mainly because I’m a child and I love to play with fake sand and dinosaurs and legos and read picture books, but I have a hard time wrapping my head around early education. I never went to pre-school, let alone daycare as a kid. It was a whole new field for me.
When I accepted the job with Becker’s I still had a lot of other job applications out and was negotiating with Penn Medicine. I wasn’t sure what would happen with that opportunity. It sounded good, but I have also been negotiating for several months and nothing was happening and I really needed a new job. I was also looking into grad school and applying for the TEP program. My future was so unclear. Everything was a risk.
I have absolutely no regrets about Becker’s. I learned so much about my career interests, job preferences, and how to turn down a job that isn’t working for you. I left them with the best gift I had to give: I referred them to a former co-worker who I saw as an expert in SEO that I knew was interested in the position. She could do for them everything they needed and wanted in terms of SEO that I didn’t know how to do. They hired her almost immediately. The rest is history.
4.Working at Penn Medicine
While it was quite the long process, I did end up getting hired by Penn Medicine in 2016. I initially turned down the position to work at Becker’s, but they begged me to reconsider. Isn’t it funny how things work out? I applied in January and was finally hired in June.
I honestly wasn’t sure about Penn when I first applied. I previously did an internship with Slack Medical journals and really, really, really hated it. It was so boring and technical and confusing. I was afraid Penn would be the same, yet for some reason this felt really different. I almost backed out of this interview several times because of other interviews I had (first with Scholastic and then with Bernie Robbins jewelers). I am so glad that my mom and some of my friends and former colleagues pushed me to go and keep pursuing this opportunity, even when it seemed hopeless.
Working at Penn has been a blessing to me in so, so, so many ways. First off, I really love the location. Like I stated previously, I’m a city slicker. We’re located right in University City. It’s a safe part of Philly and there’s so much stuff going on! We’re within walking distance of many restaurants which makes lunch time fun, especially if we have a new member to our team. I recently tried an Indian buffet with my co-workers and in the summer we’d frequently meet up for green smoothies from the fruit lady’s food truck or frozen yogurt from Kiwi yogurt.
The content team at the #LoveFest Pep Rally
Secondly, I love my job itself. I get to do my two favorite things: write a lot and work on social media. I also get to teach my co-workers what I learn, specifically with our new social media content management system, Sprinklr. I’m never bored. I learn constantly and am always challenged. I didn’t know much about medical conditions initially, but have since learned so many incredible things. I’m in awe by Dr. Carl June’s work with immunotherapy and cancer. All of the neurological conditions constantly blow my mind (did you know there’s a procedure where they turn off and test different parts of the brain to see what if anything will be lost if they cut away part of it?). It’s fascinating stuff!
My co-workers are also the best. They are so talented, kind, and hard-working. It’s also a very professional atmosphere free of office drama and politics. While everyone is always working really hard, we also have fun together with team building exercises such as monthly full staff meetings, our pep rally, and our Christmas bowling party. We are also starting a professional development book club which should be fun.
5. Becoming an Adjunct Professor AND a Grad School Student at Rowan University
Of all of the possible things that could’ve happened this year, I never imagined I’d become a college professor, but that is exactly what happened.
I’ve been toying with the idea of going back to school to earn my MA in Writing for years. I didn’t want to get my MA originally. I was tired and burnt out after earning to BA’s and I didn’t think an MA was all that important to be honest. But after receiving bilateral cochlear implants I wrote a book and now I want so additional help to finish writing/revising it and publish it.
Still, I wasn’t sure how this would work. I didn’t know at the time that Penn has an amazing benefits package that would cover the cost of my tuition. I just knew that financial aid wasn’t an option with grad school, so I was on my own and grad school doesn’t come cheap.
When Professor Block emailed me about grad school and mentioned the TEP program which allows students to teach while earning their MA and pays for at least part of their tuition costs, I saw it as a sign that I was meant to go to grad school and apply.
I wasn’t totally sure what to expect. I knew I like teaching, but I didn’t expect to love it as much as I ultimately did. I didn’t expect to get so attached to my students. I think teaching is one of the best things to ever happen to me, honestly. I love it so much. I love feeling like I’m making a difference and seeing my students improve as writers.
Grad school’s not bad, either. Some of the writing projects for Core were fun. It’s not the most interesting year for me though. I feel like I have a lot of pre-reqs which can be a little dry to take now to get to the good stuff like writing the memoir and non-fiction writing. But still I’ve really loved just being back in school again. I love the challenge of it all. I love learning.
It hasn’t been easy. Juggling a full time job in the city, teaching three times a week, and taking 2 graduate level courses a semester is no joke. But I love the thrill of the challenge and being constantly under pressure. I feel like I am constantly working towards a goal and I feel I’ve been fairly successful so far.
6. Going to Washington DC
DC is another place I had plans to go to multiple times, but never actually went to until this year. I was first going to go on a field trip in 7th grade, but alas the terrorist attack on the Pentagon on 9/11/2001 when I was in 6th grade caused the trip to get cancelled. Then in 2014 or whenever it was I was going to meet Casey there and get back together with him, but in a really bizarre turn of events he cancelled our plans and ran off and got engaged and married to some other girl…but that’s another story…
Every year Rowan picks a book to have the University read together as a whole. This year the book was Americanah! by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. I don’t know what the book was about because I didn’t actually read it lol. Anyway though, the book inspired the University to take a free trip to DC that was open to all students and faculty and since I’ve always wanted to go to DC anyway, I jumped at the opportunity to go.
I was nervous about the trip at first since I didn’t know anyone who was going. Who would I hang out with so I wouldn’t get lost? Should I go as a student or a faculty member since I was actually both? I hung out with faculty originally until I met a faculty member’s son who was a current senior at Rowan and closest in age to me. We hung out for the rest of the trip and became fast friends and had a blast.
We went to the museum of African history, an African art museum, and one of the Smithsonians, though we didn’t have much time at the Smithsonian. It was a really cool trip. I’m a museum and art nerd so I love looking at and learning about this stuff. The only down side was that the main African history museum was realllllllllllllly crowded and you could hardly move.
We also ate at a soul food restaurant. I don’t eat soul food much, if ever, so it was a different experience for me. I had these oysters cooked in some kind of a hot sauce that were really good.
It was a really nice trip especially since it helped me to get out of my comfort zone. I am glad that I did end up befriending someone despite not knowing anyone and that I took the risk to go to a new place with no one I knew. I’d definitely do something like this again in the future and I hope that in 2017 Rowan provides me with more opportunities to do so!
7. Going to Kentucky.
My trip to Kentucky was incredible and perhaps the highlight of 2016.
My mom and I went with Gloucester County Community Church (GCCC). I’ve been following the making of the Ark from day 1 a few years back and when I heard it opened in the summer I couldn’t wait to go. We previously looked into driving down for my mom’s birthday in August, but it was too expensive. However, going with the church would save us money and we’d take a bus with everyone so transportation wouldn’t be an issue.
Our trip lasted 3 days and consisted with a few hours at the Creation Museum followed by almost a full day at the Ark.
The Creation Museum was okay. Not quite as good as I was expecting, but still pretty cool. I really loved the dinosaurs. I always liked dinosaurs ever since I was a kid. About a year ago I realized that the bible never mentions the word “dinosaur” so I started to ponder why. I turned to Answers in Genesis and they explained how dinosaurs did exist and were referred to using different words. To see and learn more about this at the museum was neat. Most of the dinosaurs weren’t as big as made out to be and the dinosaurs used to only eat plants as did all animals which the bible clearly states, but few people realize. It was very informative.
Noah’s Ark was amazing. You don’t realize how big it is until you see if for yourself. It was also incredible biblically accurate. They had all of the animals that they had back then and the cages and everything so well done. I enjoyed learning about Noah and his family and the work that they did on the Ark as well. It made me thirsty to learn more.
Overall, 2016 was an incredible year. I can’t wait to see what 2017 has in store for me!
Posted by kimerskine in books, careers, Christianity, College, creative writing, deaf/HOH, God, life, Literature, Marketing, personal, religion, SEO, Social Media, spirituality, teaching, Technology Tags: #lovefest, #rowanproud, 2016, 2017, 9/11, adam and eve, adjunct, african american history museum, african american museum of art, americanah, beer garden, black tap, blogging, bubba gump, career, cat, cats, Christian, Christianity, ci, cochlear implants, content editor, content marketing, corruption, Creation Museum, creationism, dc, Deaf, deaf and loud, deaf pride, digital marketing, digital producer, dinosaurs, festival pier, food, food trucks, foodie, gizmo, God, good charlotte, google, google headquarters, grad school, graduate school, Hearing Impaired, indian food, Job, ken ham, kentucky, kiwi frozen yogurt, learning, lucky strike, m&m, m&m factory, m&ms, ma in writing, madison square garden, maine coon cats, masters in writing, milkshake, new dehli, New Year's, New Year's Eve, new york, new york city, new york times, noah's ark, nyc, nyt, penn's landing, popup garden, professor, Religion, Rowan, Rowan University, scholastic, scholastic books, search engine optimization, SEO, sin, smithsonian, social media, soul food, spring garden, sprinklr, student, teaching, the christian post, the fillmore, the theatre of living arts, the tla, theatre of living arts, times square, tla, washington dc, williamsburg, work, Writing
Image Credits: Florida National University
It’s hard to believe that it’s already Thanksgiving! Where does the time go? It seems like just yesterday I was writing my list of the top 5 things I was thankful for last year. Not much has changed in the past year except that there’s definitely way more than 5 things that I am thankful for. I tried to narrow it down to just the top 10 here.
1. God. I definitely developed a closer relationship with God in the past year. I started going to church on a regular basis (actually I am a member of two churches now — Gloucester County Community Church and Washington Baptist Church). I’ve been reading my bible more and more and really praying. I feel a much stronger connection to God and my life has improved tenfold since I’ve learned not only how to talk to God, but how to listen to him, too. God has definitely blessed me in the past year and I am thankful to have such an amazing, awesome God in my life.
2. My Amazing Parents. My parents are two of the most amazing people that I have ever known. I really couldn’t ask for better parents. They’ve especially been great with me and my surgery. Ever since my audiologist recommended looking into the Cochlear my mom got the ball rolling with doctor’s appointments, testing, and everything I would need. If it weren’t for my mom I wouldn’t have gotten it done nearly as quickly. And after I was implanted my mom took some time off of work to take care of me and make sure someone was always watching over me. My dad forfeited sleep to watch me and make sure I was okay for the first few night and he made me special soups and food since I couldn’t eat solid food for a week. I wasn’t allowed to wash my hair for 10 days after my surgery, so my mom went out and bought dry shampoo and took wash clothes to my hair to try to clean it the best that she could. Both of my parents are always there for me to show love, support, and care 24/7 for me. They don’t just do what parents are supposed to do, they go above and beyond — all the time.
My amazing parents
3. My Amazing Boyfriend, Larry. Larry and I have only officially been dating since September 13th. He’s been really amazing. Remember when I wrote a list of everything I was looking for? Larry wasn’t EVERYTHING on the list, but he was about 95%of it which works. I mean, we did meet on OKCupid with like a 95% match anyway lol. In the 2.5 months that we’ve been together we have already grown so much. I hit him with a lot in a very short period of time especially with my cochlear implant surgery. It could definitely be confusing and overwhelming especially to someone who’s not familiar with the deaf/HOH culture. Larry has always made every attempt to understand it all and he’s followed through with his word of being with me every step of the way. There were many times when we’d just sit and talk for several hours all about the implant, what it was and what it would do. After my surgery he stopped by and brought me flowers and gifts to make me feel better. He didn’t care that I looked like a hot mess — he still said I was beautiful and I know he actually meant that. Larry is not like any of my ex boyfriends and that’s definitely a blessing. He never screams at me or loses his cool with me, he never tries to push me to do anything that I don’t want to do (we’re always on the same page with the same wants, needs, desires, and goals) or tries to change me. He accepts and loves me for me —flaws and all. We always have a great time together whether we’re at Frightland or Wheaton Village or even just at my home playing board games or Super Mario World. He’s my best friend and I love him to pieces and am so thankful that God brought us together.
Here’s a picture of Larry and I at Frightland in Delaware taken in October just before Halloween. It was very cold lol.
4. My friends. My friends have always been there for me this past year. It hasn’t always been an easy year for me, especially in the beginning of 2013. There’s been many times when I have made poor decisions and done a few things I regret —namely giving people second chances who had no right to even stay in my life at all. My friends do not always tell me what I want to hear, that’s for sure — but they tell me what I need to hear even when it means verbally kicking my butt or screaming “KIM WHAT THE HECK IS WRONG WITH YOU?”. I may not always do the best job of listening. Sometimes I need to make mistakes and have things fall apart a bit before I listen, but in the end I come around and see that they were right. One of my friends even recently messaged me to say “I hate to say I told you so…but I told you so. Aren’t you glad you didn’t get the things you thought you wanted originally? Everything now worked out the way it should’ve and is so much better for you.”
My friends have also been incredibly supportive with my cochlear implant surgery. I am floored by all of the support and encouragement they have all shown me over the past few months.I feel like I have a whole team of people cheering me on and it’s such an amazing feeling. I definitely have a really great group of friends and I’m incredibly thankful to have all of them in my life.
5. Washington Baptist Church – I technically belong to two churches now, but this is the one I connect the most with and consider my “home church”. I enjoy going to my mom’s church, Gloucester County Community Church, with her, but it wasn’t quite giving me what I needed. I enjoy the sermons and the music, but needed more of a sense of belonging and a deeper connection with the people. I wanted to feel like I had a church family. So one day I took a walk around town in search of a nearby church. I stumbled across Washington Baptist Church, took note of the outside sign, and made plans to attend service the next Sunday. Ever since I first walked through those doors everyone has been so incredibly welcoming. I met pretty much everyone in the church on that first day. I continued to attend and got to know people better and on a more personal level. The church has and continues to pray for and with me especially in regards to my cochlear implant surgery and I know those prayers have not gone unanswered. My pastor, Pastor Lex DeLong has also been incredible and always sends me a message to make sure I’m okay and always takes the time to see how I am doing. I can’t wait to be activated and healed from my surgery to get back to going to church again.
Image Credits: Washington Baptist Church
6. Dr. Wilcox and Everyone Else at Jefferson – Originally I was trying to decide between two places on where to get my cochlear implant done — Jefferson University Hospital or UPenn. However, after just the initial consultation appointment at Jefferson I made up my mind to continue with them and cancelled my appointments with UPenn. Dr. Wilcox was highly professional, confident, and able to answer all of my questions. Him and his surgical team were all great as were all of the nurses and everyone that worked on me. Before my surgery Dr. Wilcox even called to tell me he was praying for me and that the surgery would be a success. During the surgery they were precise and made very clean cuts and helped me to heal and helped me with all of the aftercare. Dr. Wilcox has even helped me to group appointments together at the last minute for convenience. Nothing has been too much for them. They are very professional and really care about their patients.
Image Credits: Jefferson University Hospitals
7. My New Audiologist, Sherry. You know how some people say everything happens for a reason? I’ve always been one of those people and I definitely believe that when it comes to my cochlear implant surgery. I usually have my hearing appointments in Cherry Hill because it’s close to where my work was located (we used to be in Mount Laurel) and it was easy to just go from work to my appointments. However, with my work in the process of moving I’ve been working from home in Washington Township for the past two months. Turnersville is much closer so my mom switched my appointments to this location. With a new location came a new audiologist…Sherry. At this stage in the game I was still working to save money towards new hearing aids. I was previously lead to believe that Miracle Ear’s new ClearVation Hearing Aids would be good for me. My mom asked Sherry for her opinion and she basically said we’d be wasting our money because it really wouldn’t help me. What would help me though was a cochlear implant. If it weren’t for Sherry I probably wouldn’t have ever seriously considered getting a cochlear implant, let alone actually went through with it and got it.
8. Gizmo. My cat is awesome. Everyone will say that about their cat but no mine really is awesome. He’s way more like a son to me than a cat and he totally thinks he’s human. After my surgery he really went into watch-kitty mode. He was by my side and making sure I was okay for several days after my surgery especially when I would wake up and no one else was out in the living room. He knew I wasn’t feeling well and that something was different. Gizmo is a really crazy, funny cat that brings a lot of joy to me and everyone in my home. I’m very thankful to have Gizmo as a pet.
Sometimes Gizmo likes to help himself to a snack…
9. My older sister, Noel. My sister and I haven’t been on the best of terms over the years. Put it this way: the last time I’ve seen here was about 2 years ago and I barely spoke to her in those 2 years. But I’m getting back to talking to her again now. We’ve been exchanging letters and working on reconnecting. And I know she’s not a perfect person. She’s made some mistakes, but that doesn’t make her a bad person. She’s just simply gotten mixed with the wrong groups of people and in the wrong situations. She’s still managed to teach me a lot since I’ve been writing to her though. Some of the most important lessons she’s taught me are how to be more forgiving and accepting of others. Forgiveness is something I’ve always struggled with but she has been helping me with it a lot. I’m thankful to have her back in my life and I can’t wait to see her again whenever that may be and to really be sisters again.
I don’t have many pictures with my sister and I.Between her bright red hair and my yellow hair, this picture is pretty ridiculous but I love how happy she looks here.
10. My job, WebiMax. I really really really love my job as a social media marketer/inbound marketer/freelance writer at WebiMax. Anyone who knows me knows that. I hate taking time off. I frequently voluntarily work from 7:30am-6pm. It’s fun and challenging and rewarding. I work with a great team of people too. I am thankful for the support my co-workers and boss and everyone has shown me with my surgery. They’ve certainly helped to work with me and all of my appointments and time off. I’m especially thankful for my social media co-workers who have really stepped in and helped me during the time that I was out to ensure my work still got done. I love that my job allows me to be creative and try new things. I’m thankful to work for such an amazing company and I’m excited to see what the next year has in store for us all especially as we move to our final Camden destination.
This picture was taken after my last day in the old WebiMax Mount Laurel office.
As you can see this past year has certainly been filled with many blessings and things to be thankful for! I hope that everyone reading this has a very Happy Thanksgiving!
Posted by kimerskine in careers, Christianity, deaf/HOH, God, life, Marketing, personal, relationships, religion, SEO, Social Media, spirituality Tags: career, cats, Christianity, church, ci, cochlear implant, cochlear implant surgery, dating, Deaf, dr. wilcox, family, gizmo, gloucester county community church, jefferson university, larry taylor, love, maine coon cats, marketing, personal, relationships, SEO, social media, thankful, thanksgiving, washington baptist church, webimax