Journey of the Dreamer

Journey of the Dreamer

All black, yet still he sees.
Images flashing through his mind, a smile upon his lips.
All around, there is a buzzing but he hears it not.
Music plays in his ears.

Haze lifts, transforms into white and gray cotton-ball looking
Clouds.
Clouds rise up, blue skies appear
Pure.
Pure blue into the horizon where the sun brightly
Shines.

As the world moves by, thoughts move
forward.
The future.

Ideas pervasive.
Opportunities endless.

Shaking slightly, sometimes more.
May be present but maybe distracted.
Happily perpetual motion.
Brightly. In the eyes.
Lines distorted, forward.
On the journey.

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Over the Past Year…

Wow, how fast a year goes! I have now been a college graduate (with two degrees: BA & MBA) for just over a year! How crazy. I can’t believe it has been a year. I miss college a great deal, but I think I have done a good job transitioning out of the DU mode, which as some of you know, I was quite worried about after having been so involved.

I moved back to St. Louis after graduation and spent a lot of time applying for jobs, interviewing, catching up with friends, and worrying about my future. The summer went by very quickly and I enjoyed my time off while looking forward to what was next. Then very quickly I ended up with three job offers around the same time. All were great opportunities – and it was a very difficult decision.

I ended up taking a position as a Contract Negotiator with Centene Corporation, a Fortune 500 managed care company in St. Louis. I am part of the New Business Contracting & Network Development team. When Centene is exploring/wins a contract for a new health plan, we develop the outreach strategy and develop our network of health care providers. We negotiate contracts and provide training. As the plan goes live, the local health plan hires staff to do what we do and then the corporate team gets deployed to a new market. I am always learning new things and enjoy the challenges that come with working in healthcare and Medicaid, specifically. I have great coworkers and enjoy the support of my supervisors.

My position requires me to travel 4-5 days a week so I’ve become a frequent traveler and while that can be tiring and difficult at times, I really like it. I’ve been working in Louisiana since I’ve started and have explored the whole state, while getting to know Baton Rouge and New Orleans pretty well. Soon, I expect to be moving to a new state and I’m excited to apply what I’ve learned to a new market and observe the similarities and differences that come with the territory.

Because of my frequent traveling, I have been able to take advantage of the perks and have been to Denver several times, Las Vegas, Albuquerque, Tampa/St. Petersburg, San Diego, and Los Angeles. I have a trip planned to Chicago and have plenty of other ideas.

Otherwise, I have enjoyed staying in touch with Denver friends, reconnecting with old friends, spending time with family, and meeting new people. I struggled with meeting new people for a little while as I was trying to figure out if I’d be staying in St. Louis and as I was starting the new job, but I’ve gained traction and have met some great new people. I’ve also been trying to figure out what all St. Louis actually has to offer and have been pleasantly surprised.

So, life is good. It’s been quite the year and I’m looking forward to the next one.

This Town, This Night, This Crowd

I’m writing this on a plane again. This time I’m flying from Denver to New Orleans. I spent this past weekend in Denver catching up with friends and generally having a good time. No real reason for this particular weekend, though I was asked that a lot, but I wanted to see some great people. As seems to always happen with these trips, I started reminiscing about my time at DU/in Denver and that got me thinking about life, as I know it.

I am incredibly fortunate to be in the position in which I find myself. I have a good job (that I enjoy) with a growing company in an expanding industry. I have a loving and caring family who I enjoy spending time with. I have the best friends for which one could ask. And I have had some amazing experiences and a great education. I am appreciative of everyone who is a part of all of these pieces of my life.

Every time I go back to Denver I have a great time. With luck, that will continue to happen. I saw such great people and had a lot of fun. We are able to take advantage of what the city has to offer and I really do miss Denver. That said, this visit was the first time when I did not feel like I should be on campus. By that I mean that I did not have that bugging feeling about being in Denver, but not being a student. I guess that means I am moving on (it has been almost a year since graduation!).

Things are always changing. People are leaving Denver and I have found some who are returning. I realize that it is no longer the same, but Denver will always have a special place in my heart. I think I made the right decision to leave, to go back home, and to move beyond college (though I can still act like I’m in college if the situation is right). That said, I would like to end up back in Denver at some point. It is filled with potential. And I do want to keep learning and growing, while surrounded by fantastic people.

Pre-Work Update (with Denver Trip)

I start working full-time on Monday!  What a crazy idea… I’m excited, nervous, anxious, hopeful, scared – just about everything.  I am confident that my job with Centene Corporation is going to be a great next step in this life journey.  I’ve had a few weeks since accepting the job offer from Centene to get back in touch with people and begin the process of re-establishing myself in St. Louis.  It seems like it will be a long process, but I am looking forward to rekindling friendships and building new ones.  Things sure have changed here in the past five years.

I had planned on making a trip to Denver (if I wasn’t going to be working there) before beginning work and it worked out for me to spend about a week in Denver recently.  It was great spending time with friends and seeing the University of Denver again before I begin my professional life.  I was also able to spend time with people who I had hoped to see before leaving Denver but timing with finals and graduation prevented it.  I’m glad that happened.

I had a “mental checklist” for my time in Denver.  Everything I had hoped would happen happened and then some.  It was a great time!  I spent time with my “adopted” Denver family, the Cohen’s.  I went camping off of Guanella Pass with some friends where we also went hiking and met some really great people (including some from England and Ireland).  Camping there was really fun though.  I was at Chabad for Mendel’s 10th birthday.  I went out downtown with friends around LoDo.  Several of us went up to Loveland to visit another friend.  We went swimming and bought a slip ‘n’ slide at Wal-Mart.  We felt grown up (haha), but it was a lot of fun!  I hung out with a friend around Capital Hill.  I went camping with my cousins at Chatfield Reservoir. I spent a day and a half around DU seeing more friends and people I used to work with.

I was able to spend time with some great people during my time in Denver.  I hope that we are all able to stay in touch and continue to be a part of each others’ lives as we all begin this next stage of life.

This weekend will be quite busy as I spend time with old friends and begin the process of making new ones.  After an amazing week in Denver, I am hopeful that this next step in St. Louis will continue my trend of fortunate and blessed experiences.  I am excited for what the future holds.  Thank you to everyone who has, continues to, and will be a part of my life!

The Circle Game

I was going through old files with my Grandma today and came across the lyrics to one of my favorite camp songs: The Circle Game.  I always enjoyed this song and now that I have rediscovered it, I find it to be relevant again, just at a different part of the circle.

Yesterday, a child came out to wander
Caught a dragonfly inside a jar
Fearful when the sky was full of thunder
And tearful at the falling of a star

And the seasons they go ’round and ’round
And the painted ponies go up and down
We’re captive on the carousel of time
We can’t return we can only look behind
From where we came
And go round and round and round
In the circle game

Then, the child moved ten times ’round the seasons
Skated over ten clear frozen streams
Words like, “When you’re older”, must appease him
And promises of someday make his dreams

Sixteen springs and sixteen summers gone now
Cartwheels turn to car wheels through the town
And they tell him, “Take your time. It won’t be long now.
‘Til you drag your feet to slow the circles down”

And the seasons they go ’round and ’round
And the painted ponies go up and down
We’re captive on the carousel of time
We can’t return we can only look behind
From where we came
And go round and round and round
In the circle game

So the years spin by and now the boy is twenty
Though his dreams have lost some grandeur coming true
There’ll be new dreams, maybe better dreams and plenty
Before the last revolving year is through.

And the seasons they go ’round and ’round
And the painted ponies go up and down
We’re captive on the carousel of time
We can’t return, we can only look behind
From where we came
And go round and ’round and ’round
In the circle game
And go ’round and ’round and ’round in the circle game.

Life Update From The Past Month +

It has been quite some time since I’ve written a regular blog post on here.  May and the beginning of June just flew by!  The end of college came and went – way too quickly!  I am hoping to start doing a better job of blogging again now.  In the meantime, I figured I would give some updates on what I have been up to during the past month and half or so (In no particular order).  I don’t know if anyone will read this, but just in case…

  • I graduated.
  • I co-chaired the University of Denver’s 10th Annual Diversity Summit on Inclusive Excellence.
  • Earlier (end of April) I competed in the University of Denver’s Inclusive Excellence Case Competition. Life got really busy though and I never wrote about that experience, but my team developed a comprehensive diversity and inclusion strategy for MolsonCoors, focusing on its international business units.
  • I have gotten to know some amazing people.  This includes quite a good number of the international (specifically Chinese) students at the Daniels College of Business.  I am so happy for the opportunity to become friends with so many great people.
  • I went to a protocol dinner.  I have never had sorbet between courses or three wine pairings at one meal.  I don’t even know if I have ever even had a wine pairing… 🙂
  • I attended part of TEDxDU.  There were some pretty awesome speakers.
  • I completed group papers that involved meetings with and research into Vail Resorts (on human resource strategy) and Love Grown Foods (on business sustainability).
  • I saw the University of Denver’s lacrosse team play in the NCAA final four game… on TV.
  • A friend and I created a Wiki with extensive research and best practices about onboarding and orientation programs.
  • I met up with several friends who came back to visit Denver.
  • I went by the Native Student Alliance’s Pow Wow at the University of Denver.  It was awesome and I wish I could have stayed longer.
  • I went to a Cardinals vs. Rockies game at Coors Field.
  • I went bowling and played laser tag with my cousins in Littleton.
  • I had funnel cake. 🙂
  • A friend and I wanted to go camping, but unfortunately that did not happen.  Apparently finals meant there would be a lot of work to do…
  • I worked with a team as part of my MBA capstone class on a feasibility study/business plan for the creation of a Neurology Clinical Pharmacy Specialist (PharmD) position at Denver Health.  We presented to the Associate COOs and several other executives at Denver Health.  The formal ask will be made soon.
  • I have subscribed to Fortune, Fast Company, The Economist, and several other magazines.  I need to stay current and engaged to be competitive and innovative in the marketplace and to engage in intelligent conversation.
  • I went to a lot of goodbye dinners.  Some on the same night.
  • I went to a pool party.
  • I smiled.
  • I cried a little.
  • I laughed a lot.
  • I left my position at the Center for Multicultural Excellence.
  • I moved back to St. Louis.
  • I have been catching up with friends at home.
  • I have been debating going to Las Vegas with some friends but plane tickets are really expensive.
  • I am trying to figure out my future – weighing options, balancing priorities, etc.
  • I have been applying for a lot of jobs and have had several interviews lately.  I am hoping that some positive progress might happen in regards to my future very soon.

That’s a lot.  And there is a lot more.  Hopefully, I will have time to post updates on life, what I am thinking, and interesting things I come across online.

Life Philosophy/Goals

My current life philosophy/long-term goal can be summed up as:

“Do Good By Doing Well”

‘Til The Morning We Dream So Long

I have a new song stuck in my head.  And I like it a lot – but, more on that later.  I’m about to begin week four (of ten) of Spring Quarter.  I knew this quarter was going to fly by, but wow!  I have no idea where the time is going!  I feel like it should be week one still – my classes still seem to be starting up and wham!  The work hits.  I am researching for several projects right now, doing a case competition, planning an awesome Diversity Summit, looking/interviewing for jobs, and trying to make the most of my time here with my Denver friends.

Yesterday was interesting.  I had conversation throughout the day that made me want to go back home post-graduation to rejoin friends and family there.  Then I attended Shabbat 200, the University of Denver’s largest Jewish event.  Chabad plans it every year and we had a great turnout.  I spent time with great people (Jewish and not Jewish) at the event and afterward that caused me to reexamine my convictions from earlier in the day.  I know these major decisions should not be based on chance encounters or single events, but I have been extremely fortunate to be surrounded by amazing people wherever I have lived.

No decisions yet.  Hopefully, I’ll have the opportunity to make some decisions on my post-graduation future very soon.  I am ready to end the uncertainty.  Regardless of what happens, I know that I will have to work hard to maintain relationships.  But they are relationships worth maintaining and that really is the point.

Lupe Fiasco has an incredibly catchy song right now: “The Show Goes On.”  It’s a great song and actually has a pretty good message.  It is also rather relevant in that it causes one to evaluate the reasons why we act the way we do.  It is definitely worth checking out (note that the language in the video and lyrics below is explicit):

LA-SER

Alright, already the show goes on
Alright, till the morning we dream so long
Anybody ever wonder, when they would see the sun up
Just remember when you come up
The show goes on!
Alright, already the show goes on
Alright, till the morning we dream so long
Anybody ever wonder, when they would see the sun up
Just remember when you come up
The show goes on!

[Lupe Fiasco Verse 1]
Have you ever had the feeling that you was being had
Don’t that sh-t make you mad
They treat you like a slave, with chains all on your soul,
And put whips up on your back,
They be lying through they teeth
Hope you slip up off your path
I don’t switch up I just laugh
Put my kicks up on they desk
Unaffected by they threats than get busy on they ass
See that’s how that Chi-Town made me
That’s how my daddy raised me
That glittering may not be gold, don’t let no body play me
If you are my homeboy, you never have to pay me
Go on and put your hands up, when times are hard you stand up
L-U-P the man, cause a brand that the fans trust
So even if they ban us they’ll never slow my plans up!

Alright, already the show goes on
Alright, till the morning we dream so long
Anybody ever wonder, when they would see the sun up
Just remember when you come up
The show goes on!
Alright, already the show goes on
Alright, till the morning we dream so long
Anybody ever wonder, when they would see the sun up
Just remember when you come up
The show goes on!

[Lupe Fiasco Verse 2]
One in the air for the people that ain’t here
Two in the air for the father that’s there
Three in the air for the kids in the ghetto
Four for the kids who don’t wanna be there

None for the n-ggas trying to hold them back
Five in the air for the teacher not scared to tell those kids thats living in the ghetto that the n-ggas holdin back that the World is theirs!
Yeah yeah, the World is yours, I was once that little boy
Terrified of the World
Now I’m on a World tour
I will give up everything, even start a world war
For these ghettos girls and boys im rapping round’ the World for!
Africa to New York, Haiti then I detour, Oakland out to Auckland
Gaza Strip to Detroit, say hip-hop only destroy
Tell em’ look at me, boy!
I hope your son don’t have a gun and that would be a D-boy

Alright, already the show goes on
Alright, till the morning we dream so long
Anybody ever wonder, when they would see the sun up
Just remember when you come up
The show goes on!
Alright, already the show goes on
Alright, till the morning we dream so long
Anybody ever wonder, when they would see the sun up
Just remember when you come up
The show goes on!

[Lupe Fiasco Verse 3]
So no matter what you been through
No matter what you into
No matter what you see when you look outside your window
Brown grass or green grass
Picket fence or barbed wire
Never ever put them down
You just lift your arms higher
Raise em till’ your arms tired
Let em’ know you’re their
That you struggling and survivin’ that you gonna persevere
Yeah, ain’t no body leavin, no body goin’ home
Even if they turn the lights out the show is goin’ on!

Alright, already the show goes on
Alright, till the morning we dream so long
Anybody ever wonder, when they would see the sun up
Just remember when you come up
The show goes on!
Alright, already the show goes on
Alright, till the morning we dream so long
Anybody ever wonder, when they would see the sun up
Just remember when you come up
The show goes on!

Looking to the Future as I Finish Winter Quarter

I am currently in the middle of my final exams for Winter Quarter.  As finals end and I head home to St. Louis this weekend, I am going to be spending time with my family – the most important people in my life – and positioning myself to make some big decisions for the future.  I thought this would be an appropriate time to share one of my favorite pictures that has been taken of me.

This picture is of me hiking the mountains above Eilat in Southern Israel.  It really embodies who I am in terms of the future opportunities the picture represents and even what I am wearing – a shirt from Boy Scout camp, a water bottle from the University of Denver, etc.

Quote #23 – Decision Making

While taking a break from writing a paper on a law case (U.S. vs. Hansen), I looked at my Facebook news feed. I saw this quote as someone’s status and thought it appropriate for where I am right now as I consider my options over the next few weeks:

“Are my decisions determining my future or is my future determining my decisions?”

Interesting.  Thought provoking.

I couldn’t tell you about the person whose status it was though.  I’m not sure how I know that person and as deep as the quote is, I have unfriended that person (Gasp!).  I like to know who my “friends” are.  At least that is one decision I have made.