Why I’m Changing Careers

BIG NEWS ALERT!

If you follow me on social then you probably already know, but if not, let me update you.

I was recently accepted into University of Central Florida’s masters program for Speech Language Pathology. I still have goosebumps as I write that sentence. This is something that I’ve been keeping under wraps for the past few years and I’m so glad that I can finally shout it from the rooftops.

This was not an over night decision. No, no, no…this is something that I’ve worked SO hard for. Tears were shed, doubts were made, life crisis’ were had…but I’m finally here.

But why the change? How did I get here? Well, let’s start at the beginning.

I was a Communications major at Eckerd College and it wasn’t until my senior year that I realized I wanted to go into marketing. I got an internship in the marketing department at a local resort and I loved it. They did all of their own advertising, promotions, public relations, commercial filming, etc. I enjoyed the people I worked with and the work was creative and fun. I also loved the field of hospitality and being a part of creating a memorable experience. As graduation neared the resort hired me on full time and I was psyched to have a job right out of school at a place I loved. 

Fast forward a few years later and our resort was hosting the National Autism Association’s Conference and our resort put a plan in place to become autism friendly. As Marketing Coordinator I spear headed our autism friendly program and what it would entail. I worked with various departments to create safety kits, quiet zones, autism friendly kid’s activities, etc. In doing so I ended up learning a lot about autism and how it effected families’ every day lives. It lit something in me that I can’t really describe. I started to feel a strong passion towards the autism community and wanting to help them in any way that I could.

I have always had a passion for wanting to help people. One of my favorite things to do is volunteer. I started realizing that this was the path I wanted for my career, and not just something I did in my free time. I wanted my life to be dedicated to bettering people’s lives. And I specifically wanted to help children with autism and other developmental disabilities. 

Around this time one of my best friends was in school for speech pathology and she encouraged me to look into it. I’ve never really thought of myself as someone who would go into a health related field, but I did the research. I also met with a few speech pathologists to get insight into their day to day lives. And they all had one thing in common: passion. They truly love what they do and wouldn’t give it up for anything. This sealed the deal for me and made me realize this was the path I was meant to take.

Did this mean I no longer loved marketing? Absolutely not. I believe you can have multiple loves and passions in your life. But it’s a choice on which one you decide on making your full time job. I’ve loved all of the marketing jobs I’ve had. However, I realized I wasn’t interested in going to the next level a.k.a. becoming a Marketing Director or a VP of Marketing.  I’m a person who is always looking forward to the next step and searching for ways I can grow and learn. Not wanting to move beyond my position put me at a dead end. Stability was also a key decision factor. Unfortunately, I’ve experienced much instability in my marketing career thus far. Being in the health field meant more stability and a job for life. 

I was very lucky that I had a friend who was a few steps ahead of me and was able to help guide me on what my next steps would be.  If you want to be a Speech Language Pathologist you need a masters degree…there’s no way around it. But first you need to take a whole bunch of pre-requisite classes. Which basically means a second bachelor’s degree if you don’t already have a BS in Communication Sciences and Disorders. I did University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee’s post-baccalaureate program, which was online. I enrolled in the program part time while I worked full time and it took 2 years to finish. If you do full time you can finish in 1 year. 

Once that was done it was time for the dreaded GRE. I am in no way a good standardized test taker (but how many people really are?) I studied for the GRE on my own and took it twice before I first applied to graduate programs. 

Unfortunately, I did not get into a program the first time I applied. Speech Language Pathology programs are highly competitive. Most programs get over 500 applications, and out of those applications they only have 20-30 spots to fill. 

I was heartbroken after not getting into a program and it caused me to re-look at my life and my career. Did I really want to do this? Would I be able to do this? I went back and forth on whether or not I wanted to re-apply. Was it worth it? The answer was YES. This was something I had worked too hard towards to just give up so easily. 

I took a GRE prep course and got a private tutor. I took the GRE 2 more times and raised my scores significantly. I acquired an extra letter of recommendation. I reworked my letter of intent multiple times. And then I re-applied. And waited.

I can’t explain the feeling I got when that email from UCF popped into my inbox. It was all I could do not to burst into tears at my desk at work. I just kept thinking, “I did it, I really did it.” I was finally going to be able to do what I really wanted to do. 

Some questions I’ve gotten: Are you moving or commuting? What’s happening to the blog? 

Jon and I do not want to live in Orlando long term, so we decided it would be best if I just got a place in Orlando while I was in school. He’ll still be in St. Pete and I will be traveling home on the weekends. 

The blog will still be going strong. No matter what my day time job is, I will always be a foodie and will always love to share my foodie experiences. I hope to share some new experiences with you as I enter this new chapter of my life.

Have you ever changed careers? I want to hear your stories! 

 

What’s On My Plate – 08/10/15

Breakfast

 

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A delicious breakfast creation by Jon. He’s been really into slow scrambled eggs lately. These eggs were atop toasted baguette, avocado and tomato coulis.

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A splurge breakfast! Chocolate croissant from Piquant paired with my morning latte.

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I’ve been on an avocado toast kick lately. This was mashed avocado, lox and goat cheese. Hard boiled egg on the side for extra protein.

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More avocado toast! Thin layer of onion and chive cream cheese, sliced avocado and lox.

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A simple favorite. Toast with peanut butter and banana.

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Anddd even more avocado toast! Mashed avocado with sliced hard boiled egg and sriracha. 

Lunch

 

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Sometimes yummy eats are not pretty eats! Twice baked potato topped with turkey chili. Yum!

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After an indulgent day the next day I like to balance out with a colorful salad. Spinach, cucumber, radish, artichokes, hearts of palm and sundried tomatoes. 

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More salad! Turkey, a nice cheese that friends brought over, sundried tomatoes and spinach.

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This was a meal I whipped together when I thought “there was nothing to eat”. Tomato soup and half a grilled cheese with horseradish cheddar and turkey bacon.

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Mmm Bodega for lunch is one of my favs! Pork, rice, black beans and sweet plantains. *drool*

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Sandwiches from Pom Pom’s! Jon and I like to split. This was there tuna melt and the turkey with bacon.

 

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We tried Roux for brunch just yesterday and it was delicious! Love their bloody mary’s and this jambalaya was full of flavor and cajun spice.

Dinner

 

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Quinoa casserole with chicken and mushrooms with a side of asparagus. 

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A wonderful Jon creation. Grouper topped with a little brie and mango pineapple salsa. Wild rice and sauteed kale.

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And this is what we call leftovers in our house. Pork tenderloin topped with mango pineapple salsa, wild rice with kale and steamed green beans.

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This was a new pinterest recipe I tried and it was one of the best quinoa casseroles I’ve had to date! Chicken Chili Quinoa Casserole with chicken, black beans, corn and kale.

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I had been craving a huge cobb salad for awhile and finally made one. And it was everything I had dreamed of. Roasted chicken, hard boiled eggs, avocado, radish, cucumber, tomato, turkey bacon and creamy ranch dressing.

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I tried this new quinoa pizza crust, which was a yummy and healthy alternative to regular pizza. Find the recipe here.

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Before a yoga workshop I wanted a light dinner and sushi from Fresh Market fit the bill!

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Feta and spinach stuffed chicken from Fresh Market served with steamed green beans and roasted potatoes. 

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These are the BEST chicken wings around. Look at all those garlic bits! You can find these at Chumlee’s in Ellenton. 

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Stuffed pepper casserole with ground turkey. Another favorite, tasty and easy casserole!

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Another simple, easy and tasty dinner. Baked chicken with ajvar sauce. Served with wild rice and sauteed kale.

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Dinner at Ozona Blue in Palm Harbor. This was one of the best dinners I’ve had lately. Everything was fresh and bursting with flavor. 

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Bunless burger and fries at Del Frisco’s in Tampa! A yummy meal with a close friend! Another restaurant I’m eager to get back to. 

snacks

 

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Key lime flavored yogurt covered pretzels from Fresh Market. SO good.

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Peanut butter and honey mixed with greek yogurt and served with bananas…a yummy post workout snack!

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A favorite smoothie…almond milk, banana, peanut butter and frozen strawberries. Tastes like PB&J!

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I found a new juice place in St. Pete! Super cute shop and super good juice!

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Our new favorite dessert. Goat cheese stuffed dates topped with crushed walnuts and drizzled with honey.

What’s been on your plate lately?

Summer of Rum Festival *Giveaway*

So you all remember the Bloody Mary Festival? How about the Margarita Festival? Now…are you ready for the Summer of Rum Festival? I know I am!

Big City Events is putting on their annual Summer of Rum Festival on Saturday, August 15 from 12 p.m. – 11 p.m. It will be a day full of fun, music and of course, rum!

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The event will be held at the historic Cuban Club in Ybor City, where all three floors AND their outdoor patio area will be utilized for the festival. 

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Cuban Club Main Street will be playing live music all day while guests visit the rum shacks and rum huts for fun rum drinks. The Top Floor Island Party is where all rum lovers should go for the rum tasting. You can try 40 different kinds of rum, including high end brands! Captain Morgan’s Pirate Cove will be serving Captain Morgan drinks and they’ll be playing pirate movies throughout the event. Arrr matey! There will also be a Mojito Cabana and a Frozen Drink Zone! 

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With so much rum themed fun don’t you wish you could join? Well, you CAN! I’m giving away 2 pairs of general admission tickets for the Summer of Rum Festival. All you have to do is comment below with what your favorite rum based drink is! Two winners will be announced on Thursday, August 13 by 12 a.m. 

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General admission tickets include admission to the Summer of Rum Festival. Drinks and food are all available for purchase at the event. To check out all the fun that will be had check out their website at www.summerofrumfest.com

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Hope to see you there!

*Winners have been selected and contacted. Thank you for visiting!*

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