Business Owner to Back-to-School

Since I’ve been back in school, I feel like a lot of my hobbies and interests that were at one time everything to me, quickly vanish to the bottom of the (very high) pile of life. Sadly but realistically so, they’ve taken a far back seat. Luckily, my years as an entrepreneur have taught me valuable lessons that I’ve been fortunate enough to shift into my new life as a Creative Communications student.

By no means am I happy to realize I havn’t been very successful in juggling my horde of interests, and it isn’t something I’ve taken to easily. Lately, I feel like a shell of a person who forgets what it feels like to enjoy this outside world that I hear so much about. I feel like I’ve almost been a form of a “person in training,” someone who has jumped into a new life, head first and completely soaked with everything they signed up for. Playing with new makeup looks and practicing my latest yoga arm balance challenge obsession seems like an ancient thing of the past, and what’s “runner’s high,” again?

I walk by Fort Street on the way to the bus, and through the grey shadows of dusk, I see the old, familiar Yoga Public sign. Every time I see the stoic yet modern black and white typography almost taunting to me on the way to bus stop, I can’t help but feel pangs of what must be heart ache. Oh, that gorgeous place. I fix my gaze at it and just for a second I feel nostalgia, remembering what it was like to have a life outside of school. The put-together girl I once resembled is now looking at it through the window of the bus, or maybe it’s the eye of a tornado, looking like she had combed her hair with a pillow.

By no means am I sitting here yearning for sympathy, nor am I attempting to fit the mold of a drama queen. School here is two years, and if it’s anything like my weeks here at Cre Comm, it’s going to fly by, and wickedly fast at that. I may have shifted my priorities, but I have anything but lost my passion. In fact, that passion has been ignited. Ignited with challenges in the form of cameras, key commands, sentence diagrams, and self-awareness. Figuratively speaking, I may be a shell of a person without well-rounded balance I once prided myself on, but as I’ve been quickly forced to do, I’m anything but hiding inside one.

Never one to shy away from a challenge, I’m being pushed, nut tugged gently, to the brink of my potential. Just as I had been in my “former life” as a small business owner, I have quickly learned to control my life, and not let it control me. As a personal trainer and makeup artist, which I will always consider valuable assets to my identity, I can’t help but notice a connection to these seemingly different positions.

As an entrepreneur, there is no boss. Nobody sets your rules, goals, or leers over your shoulder watching for deadlines being met. School is far from different, and procrastination is still not an option. Having tested waters as both a workingwoman and a student, I’ve come to understand two very fundamental facts for long-term success: intrinsic motivation is the hub of all triumph, and self-sufficiency cannot run dry.

As an entrepreneur, you better know how to network. Without knowing the right people, your brand may not have visibility it needs, and seeking the clients and business contacts will be tough. You need to know who to learn from, who to do business with, and who to bounce ideas off. School, and this program in particular, is a networking smorgasbord and I am thankful for the daily networking opportunities I have. The people directly across and beside my desk, people I’m contacting with every day, are undoubtedly people that I will find myself intertwined with moving forward in my next professional chapter. I love that we’re all learning and growing together. What you know is always important, but it’s still who you know.

Highs and lows are a product of anything worthwhile. They come with the territory of owning a small business, and they come with the role that’s assumed as a student. Accepting criticism in stride is part of the package and thick skin is obligatory. Be it bad test scores or frustrated clients, nothing else is as important as falling, picking yourself up, and cruising forward.

I may have twisted my life into a rollercoaster of new lows and higher highs, but I’m still the hardworking dreamer I once was, only more resilient, and a little more disheveled.

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