Happy New Year, America!
With 2014 now in full swing, I can finally look forward to what this year has to offer. Although I had a rough going for the last two years, I feel confident that this is a year where my luck will finally turn around once again.
Only a month into this new year, I’m slowly making some demonstrable progress on several fronts. Now, it is a matter of maintaining that momentum in pursuit of my next great comeback.
Let’s look back on the month that was and look ahead to what I can expect in February.
Mineta program – On Jan. 8, I showed up for my first night of class for the certificate in transportation management program through the Mineta Transportation Institute at San Jose State University.
As a distance-learning program where classes are conducted via videoconference, my classroom is located inside a conference room at Caltrans District 7 building in Downtown L.A. I’m joined by several other students and my professor at other sites throughout the state, whom I can easily interact with using the technology available to us.
The class I’m currently taking through mid-March deals with emergency management for transportation professionals. It examines past incidents and disasters that impacted transportation and how transportation professionals can handle such situations in their careers.
Each student has been assigned to work on a semester project that centers around a real-life accident or disaster and prepare a presentation and report surrounding the subject. Mine will focus on the ValuJet Flight 592 crash in the Everglades in 1996. Weird thing about that is I remember seeing a NatGeo show a few years ago that reenacted this very accident so I’m already somewhat familiar with this subject matter.
[UPDATE: Jan. 30, 8 p.m. PT] I received a perfect score on my first graded assignment for this class. I’m already getting off to a good start.
PRSA New Pros – This is my first month as the diversity liaison for the PRSA New Professionals executive committee.
I am still learning more about what I will be doing in my new role although I already have a good idea as to what the work entails. I continue to study up on PRSA’s diversity initiatives and develop ways to incorporate such initiatives for the benefit of new professionals in the public relations field.
The work is pretty important and I look forward to making a meaningful impact in my new role.
Jeopardy! online test – I took an online test Jan. 7 in hopes of becoming a contestant on Jeopardy! Although it is a long shot, it was free and I had nothing to lose simply by registering for and taking the test.
The online test consisted of 50 clues where I had only about 15 seconds each to respond. Given that the test involves typing instead of speaking, I was allowed to answer the clues without having to put them in the form of a question nor did I have to necessarily spell them correctly if I wasn’t sure how. Overall, I believed I answered about half of those clues right.
If by some sheer miracle that the contestant department contacts me, I will let you know.
Ed Begley, Jr. – In all the years I have been living in L.A., I have had my share of celebrity sightings. Although rare, my reaction is usually the same — I let them be by not being starstruck and bothering them.
My latest celebrity sighting took place on the night of Jan. 22, right after my class ended in Downtown L.A. As I boarded the Metro Red Line subway train from Civic Center station, I noticed someone who boarded with me from the station that looked very familiar. Although we did not make eye contact with each other nor talk, I later found him on Twitter and asked him if he was the person I thought I saw on that same train that night. The accompanying image confirms it.
Given that Ed Begley, Jr. is a notable advocate for the environment and public transportation — the latter of which I greatly admire — it came as no surprise to me that he would be riding the Metro here in L.A. I would like to see more celebrities like him take transit here in L.A. It’s a lot better than most people think although we are still getting there.
Also, he was great in Arrested Development, Recount and The Simpsons. Those are the roles that I remember him from.
- Job hunt – As much as I wish it would have ended in 2013, it continues on this year and there are already signs of progress emerging. As always, I remain optimistic and hopeful that it all comes to an end very soon.
- John Oliver – I’m gonna go see him perform at the Wiltern Theatre in L.A. Saturday night. He was wonderful on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart and I look forward to seeing how this live performance goes.
- Semester project – As I mentioned earlier, this is pretty huge and important. I’m pretty excited to work on this project…and I don’t remember ever being this excited over a major academic assignment.
How is your new year starting off? What are your expectations as you go along in 2014? Share your thoughts below. I’d love to hear from you.