It’s New Years Eve 2009 and I’m breaking my longest hiatus from blogging since starting again in South America this summer. At the end of the year I have fantastic news to share – I’m done with Georgetown!!!! Finished! All papers submitted! Comprehensive exams passed (with flying colors!)! Only the last of grades to come in, a diploma in the mail, and it’s set in stone! I’m a Master of Latin American Studies!!!! It feels so good to write that I can hardly convey the smile on my face, the skip of my heart, the sense of accomplishment, and the surrealness of it all.
Not to downplay the accomplishment of finishing a semester early (I do love finishing in December, harking back to my undergrad days of Dec ’07 in Boulder, CO), but unfortunately the end was anticlimactic. Since I finished a semester early, the graduation ceremony will be in May, where the reception is customarily at a Latin American embassy in Washington. After finishing my last paper, the blizzard of DC cancelled my flight for two days, nearly all my friends had left town, and I was left with my thoughts… No matter–I still managed to catch a couple Smithsonians with a friend, do plenty of decompressing, and prep for what is sure to be a great and utterly relaxing vacation at home in Colorado. I purchased a one-way ticket, and will likely head back to DC in mid to late-January, when a graduation party will definitely be in order.
That said, finishing school feels surreal. I am still waking up on occasion in the middle of the night fretting about details to make my final papers A quality. But everything is set! No more homework! I’m done with school! Unless I decide to be a professor later in life and go back for a PhD (highly unlikely), I am done with school! Wow! Just to cope with change, I’m 200 pages into Madeleine Albright’s 650 page autobiography, Madam Secretary.
All of my hard work has been validated by accepting a job offer to work at Booz Allen Hamilton. Booz Allen is *the* leading consulting firm in DC, has been rated a Top 100 place to work several years in a row, and focuses exclusively on government consulting and contract work (perfect for my interests). Beginning in June, I will be a Consultant working on Economic and Business Analysis, based out of an office in northern Virginia near Dulles Airport. This job offer is seriously sweet, and I am downright excited! In particular, I am very relieved that I will be able to repay my graduate student loans. As an added bonus, my standard workweek is 40 hours and any time above and beyond is paid as time and a half–virtually unheard of in the hectic world of consulting, and a guarantor of a more balanced life. I Googled my future supervisor, and was stunned to learn that he earned his PhD in Political Science from CU in the 90’s. I couldn’t believe it–of all the places to run into a very-rare CU alum in the DC area. God continues to astound me as my life unfolds.
I can wholeheartedly say that attending Georgetown is one of the best decisions of my entire life. I still remember the moment when I opened my email in April of 2008 and saw the acceptance message that I knew would open doors to change my life. Major life changes were underway–moving careers from IT to my original track of International Affairs/Latin American Studies, parting with a serious girlfriend, moving across the country to a house full of international students. As with all things, I’ve experienced many highs and lows since coming to DC (to be shared in more detail on future posts, or you can just call me). But I’m certainly feeling on top! I’m learning more to take things one step at a time, and increasingly realize how events are unpredictable. Looking back to when I started my Masters, I would be surprised–but nevertheless proud–to learn that I’ll be working at Booz Allen. Without attending Georgetown, it would be nearly impossible to get in the door at Booz Allen, even more so considering the abysmal job market. Likewise, I wouldn’t have known that I’d find myself with six months in between graduation and starting work. Six months will go quickly, everyone keeps telling me, and in the meantime I’m looking for temporary work as a Spanish translator, web designer, paid intern, or really anything to fill five months and leave room for a month of traveling (Europe? Latin America? Road trip across America?).
Enough about me…. I want to wish you an awesome 2010!!! Look back at your 2009–I hope it was filled with fun, happiness, and personal growth. May your 2010 be even better! Cheers! Mike