My Biggest Adventure

Ciao a tutti,

The title of this blog comes from my childhood, when my grandparents would take my sister and I on adventures. One time it was Los Angeles, one time it was Niagara Falls, one time it was Hawaii. This time, I’ve made my own adventure to start the next chapter of my life. I’m writing this post as an open letter to explain the past few months of  my life, and update everyone on what is next for me. I have a million thank you’s to give, and I know that I will forget someone along the way. But first, I have to share the story of how I got to the point of where I am today.

The biggest thank you is in order for Duquesne University Alumni Association. I know that everyone from the office is probably sick of hearing me say it, but I don’t have the right words and enough thanks to express how grateful I am! I became involved with the office during my freshman year of college as an event volunteer, and they believed in me so much to make an internship position for me, and the rest has been history. Outside of the knowledge and experience that they have imparted on me, the people that they have introduced me to have been life changing. Duquesne University is lucky to have so many inspiring, generous, and engaging alumni that would do anything to help anyone within the Duquesne family. Thank you to my professors, mentors, and friends that have guided me along the way. The person I was when I first arrived at Duquesne, and who I am now, are so vastly different but greatly improved from the influence of these people. Thank you to my family, because you’ve truly dealt with it all from day one to now. Thank you thank you thank you.

I owe one giant huge amazing thank you to President Gormley and the wonderful people of Snell & Wilner for hosting the alumni event that changed my future. Everything in life truly does come full circle, and I’m thankful that his kind actions have left me with even more ways to stay involved at Duquesne, and most importantly… a job! The Office of Alumni Engagement so graciously invited me to attend an alumni networking event in Phoenix, which I was visiting during my last spring break. Although I was nervous to attend because I would be the only student, I decided to spend my 22nd birthday with Duquesne alumni in the most stunning location in downtown Phoenix. President Gormley was kind enough to say wonderful things about me as a student and young professional during his speech to the group, and as a result, a lovely woman approached me to ask for my resume, and the rest is history! I recently accepted a full-time position with Hill & Usher in East Camelback, which is basically between Phoenix and Scottsdale. I’ve found that the best experiences that I’ve had come from people and organizations that believe in me more than I believe in myself, and I’m so lucky that Hill & Usher has supported me and shown so much trust me thus far. I’ll never give them a reason to believe differently! I’ll be starting the next chapter of my life on July 2. For anybody that would like my mailing address (once I actually figure out where I’m living….), please message me on Facebook, or text me.

The past few weeks and months have been so surreal. I was struggling with extreme stress and anxiety over making a life changing decision. I had too many people tell me that I would never secure a job before graduation, that I should be prepared to live at home for a bit, and that I would be staying in Pittsburgh. As life would have it, I had to choose between two jobs in two very different places. Both choices were with wonderful companies and I truly could not have made a bad decision, but I had to sort through so many details and thoughts in my head while making the decision. Despite the fact that turning down the job in Pittsburgh was more difficult than anyone could imagine, I know that I made the best decision for myself. I’m in the business of protecting my happiness and well-being at all costs, and living a life of no regrets. The decision came down to knowing that I would wonder what could have been for the rest of my life if I didn’t go now. I’m so very excited for the challenge of living and working somewhere new, and I know that I have a great support network at work and with Duquesne alumni to help me.

This past week, my time was spent making sure that Senior Week went off without a hitch! This was one of my major projects for my Senior Initiatives internship, and I have been working towards this since January. As my mentor once said during our Architecture of Events class, “The golden rule of event planning is that something will ALWAYS go wrong”. The “behind the scenes” of most of the events was relatively smooth, but Becoming the Tradition has challenged my boss and I every step of the way, right until the event finally happened! From furiously stuffing padfolio’s, losing a moving cart, and so many other things, we nearly lost our minds. However, the group photo in this blog proves that it was worth it. It ended with a beautiful toast from President Gormley, and the class of 2018 sipping champagne together! P.S. – a huge thank you to Kyleigh for doing my graduation photos!

To me, graduation was a celebration of making it through the past few months. If you’re friends with me on Facebook and have been reading my monthly posts with my 1SecondEveryday videos, you may have noticed that I’ve repeatedly said that the months have not been easy. I’ve had to learn so many things this year that are truly a result of being single for the first time in my adult life. Although the decision to be single was not easy, I’m truly so incredibly happy. It has been the adventure and challenge of a lifetime, and I’m always learning more about myself. I’ve lost myself completely, and found myself again. There have been days that I’m not sure how I’ve made it through, but knowing that I’ve done it alone and that I can be my own biggest supporter is an invaluable trait. I won’t share it all for the internet to see, but suffice it to say that this year has beat me down to the point of losing hair and nearly developing a stomach ulcer. I’m the worst at asking for help and definitely am the person that bottles it all in, so there are maybe two people on this earth that truly know everything and understand where I’m coming from. To those few people, I owe you everything in the world.

I’m so happy to see 2018 finally looking up. Right now, I’m packing for Arizona, but also to leave for Sicily on Friday! I’ll be there for about five weeks, and there are no words to describe how excited I am. I’m excited to get my old self back, see my favorite people, and to squeeze mia amorina, Sofia. One day when she is older, I hope that I can tell Sofia (without crying) how much she means to me. On my worst days, I look at our pictures together and she reminds me that everything is OK in the world. I can’t wait for her to annoy the living crap out of me, I’ll take it all. I can’t wait to be the best, most happy version of myself again. I’m so lucky that the universe helped me find a host family that just gets me, and can be my host parents and best friends at the same time. I’m so excited to see my friends, Sofia’s little school friends, the friends of my host family, and the two little babies that have been born while I was gone! I can’t wait to be knee deep in mozzerella di buffula and eating carbs like it’s my job. Follow me on Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, and Instagram to see everything! I regret not capturing more of the seemingly small but funny moments, and I want to do more of that this time!

My next post will be tomorrow or the following day about my packing tips! I didn’t feel like I was qualified to make that post last year because it was my first time on a big trip, but I’ve got it down now. Then… the first Sicilia blog of 2018!!!

Thank you for reading to the end of this post. All I have to say is that I’m just getting started, and nothing in the world can stop me now.

Grazie mille,

Abby 🙂

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