Chasing a life that fairly balances family, work, travel and play is what keeps me active as a 2017 graduate of Loyola University Maryland.  I am a small-town kid from upstate New York and the oldest of four in a tightly-knit family.

During the summer leading up to my departure for a semester abroad in Madrid, Spain, I worked tirelessly over a four-month span hoping to fully fund my travels. Between running my co-owned business, Pat & Bob’s Lawn Care, board operating for 104.5 The Team ESPN Radio and working as a server for Mazzone Hospitality, I made just under $11,000 and successfully funded my semester.

Prior to my time spent in Madrid, ultimately becoming a network broadcast anchor was the be-all, end-all in my mind. However, at some point during the semester, I realized that this aspiration is too narrow-minded. After visiting 11 different countries, my mind was racing with thoughts and ideas that stimulated more curiosity about other potential career paths. To learn more about how my semester abroad altered my way of thinking, take a look at my blog detailing my travels.

In my free time, you can find me staying physically fit at Loyola’s renowned Fitness & Aquatic Center on N. Charles St. In Baltimore. I cherish this time because it plays an important role in re-energizing my mind, body and spirit.

Up to this point, two skills I have under my belt have and continue to serve me well. The art of negotiation is something I developed an understanding for during the early years of running Pat & Bob’s Lawn Care. Often, my partner Pat and I weren’t taken seriously because of our age in a business primarily dominated by middle-aged men. It took patience, hard work and a bit of grit to develop an attitude and a confidence that led to seven successful summers of business for “P&B’s.”

The other skill under my belt is my versatility with the Spanish language. As a Madrid exchange student, I was given three options for housing: Host family, university housing or independent living. I opted to pursue independent living, which meant I would have to negotiate rent with my all-Spanish landlord and share a flat with Spaniards. It’s the best decision I could have made. I remember the late August day clearly. I could barely understand my landlord as he took me around the flat and detailed pricing. Clinging to my translator, I was completely overwhelmed. Four months later, when my landlord Antonio stopped by to return my security deposit, I am proud to say I delivered and participated in an effortless conversation in Spanish for nearly 15 minutes. This is my benchmark.

Without question, the best decision I have ever made in my young career was to pursue a runner position with NBC’s TODAY Show at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. Just six months removed from Spain, I boarded a Brazil-bound flight for what would become the most eventful six weeks of my life. I was responsible for prepping guests and Olympians in the green room before their televised interviews from our set on Copacabana beach. Having the chance to team up with a group of talented individuals from the States, the U.K., Australia and Brazil is something I will forever cherish. Personally, I underwent true professional growth and received invaluable career advice from greats such as Matt Lauer and Mike Tirico. Their words are ingrained in my mind as I make my first plunge into post-grad life.

Hearing from new people about their own experiences and ideas invigorates me. I’d love to hear from you.