2014: A look back at the year that was

(Clockwise, from top left) San Jose State University, Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge in Omaha, Neb., Denver Union Station and Downtown San Jose, Calif.

(Clockwise, from top left) San Jose State University, Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge in Omaha, Denver Union Station and Downtown San Jose

It’s time to say goodbye to another year.

Just like the last two, I hope this is the final terrible year I can bid farewell to for a while. 2014 saw the continuation of a personal and professional slump that began in early 2012. I hoped that this would be the year when it finally came to an end and I would begin to recover. Now, the slump is about to enter its third year. I sure hope 2015 will be the year when recovery finally becomes a reality, ushering in better times ahead.

As with most less-than-stellar years, there are always a few bright spots that are worthy of recognition. That being said, let’s look back at the year that was.

2014

The videoconference room at the Caltrans District 7 office in Downtown L.A. where I attended my first three classes.

The videoconference room at the Caltrans District 7 office in Downtown L.A. where I attended my first three classes.

Graduate school – In January, I began my first semester of graduate school at San Jose State University.

At the time, I started off as a student for the Certificate in Transportation Management program. Beginning in the fall semester in August, I was formally admitted to the Master of Science in Transportation Management program. Both are administered by the Mineta Transportation Institute at SJSU.

As a distance-learning program, I attended classes at the videoconference room of the Caltrans District 7 office in Downtown Los Angeles during the spring semester and the first half of the fall semester. Starting with the second half of the fall semester, I began attending through the flagship site near the SJSU campus shortly after moving to the Bay Area in October.

Upon graduating with my master’s degree in 2016, I hope to take on a role in transportation as a public information officer or a community relations director among other public information-related roles. This is consistent with my interest and professional background of working in transportation and public affairs, bringing together the public and experts to move forward on transportation projects and services that benefit everyone.

(Clockwise, from top left) Kelsie Buckley, Jemalyn Griffin and Josh Chavez and the Denver skyline from Coors Field

(Clockwise, from top left) Kelsie Buckley in Omaha, Jemalyn Griffin and Josh Chavez in Lincoln and the Denver skyline from Coors Field

Nebraska and Colorado – In June, I visited the cities of Omaha and Lincoln in the great state of Nebraska along with Denver, Colorado.

This was my first trip deeper into the Midwest and the Rockies. I visited friends in the two Nebraska cities while exploring Denver on my own as I know no one in that city. I enjoyed the Nebraska portion of my trip more as I had friends to visit there and was struck by the natural beauty of the state and notably polite nature of the folks in the Cornhusker State.

As for Denver, I found it to be pretty underwhelming. Along with Baltimore and Albuquerque, it is one of the few most dullest cities in the country I have visited. Although I went to a Colorado Rockies game — they lost that day to the Atlanta Braves — visited the Colorado state capitol building and purchased a new iPhone at an Apple Store in the city, there wasn’t much else I could find to do there. At least on the night before I left, I spotted someone walking a corgi as I was waiting in line for ice cream. Both the corgi sighting and the fantastic Mexican chocolate ice cream made that part of the trip a bit better.

Downtown San Jose upon touchdown at Mineta San Jose International AIrport and the welcome sign at upon arrival at the airport.

Downtown San Jose upon touchdown at Mineta San Jose International Airport and the welcome sign at the airport.

Moving to the Bay Area – After nearly a year living in my native Los Angeles after moving back from Philadelphia in November 2013, I finally made the gutsy decision to move to the Bay Area on Oct. 11. I say gutsy because I made the move without a job lined up, no housing arrangements secured and little money to work with.

It was all for a purpose. I had been planning to move to the Bay Area for a while as my career prospects always fared better there than in Southern California. Admittedly, I was too slow to do something about it sooner. It also allows me to be closer to the physical resources and administrators of the graduate degree program I am still enrolled in at SJSU.

So far, I feel better after moving to the Bay Area even though I wish I could have relocated sooner and under more ideal circumstances. I managed to quickly secure housing a day after I flew in to San Jose by renting out a room in a house in Campbell. I’ve taken up temporary work with the help of a staffing agency while I continue to look for more permanent and relevant opportunities. I moved up here largely to pursue a position at a transportation agency involving public communications, which I still remain under consideration for. I hope to find out where things will go with that particular opportunity within the next few months.

Here’s to hoping 2015 will bring forth what the last three years did not — recovery, stability and happiness. Happy New Year, America! See you on the other side.

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2 thoughts on “2014: A look back at the year that was

  1. Here’s hoping for an amazing 2015, Simon! Positive attitude 🙂 You are going to rock the year ahead.

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