First of all – hi guys! I’m back! I appreciate everyone that stuck around as I took a 3 month hiatus from SIS. I’ve had a busy end to my summer, and I’m ready to share the full story here. Spoiler alert: it’s a tale about chasing down dreams, taking chances, but most of all, trusting your gut. This post has been a long time coming, so I’ll start with 3 big things that have changed in my life as of lately:
To be fair.. the who/what/why/how of this adventure really started over a year ago, so let’s rewind.
Graduate school has always been in the back pocket of my life-plans, but it took me awhile to fully realize that the idea of going back to school and actually going are two very different things. I bought a GMAT study book, Googled a few business fashion programs, and downloaded some online brochures.
When my first test scores came back sub-par and application deadlines were fast approaching, I admitted to myself that I had no real direction in this venture. Sure, I wanted to “follow my dream,” but what did I really know about these programs and why was I pursuing them?
“A dream without a plan is just a wish.” – Katherine Paterson
By December, I had done the homework. I knew I wanted to transition from a career in buying to one in brand management. I narrowed down a list of schools with MBA programs that could get me there. My new game plan was simple – I would study to retake the GMAT over the summer, my applications would be submitted by the end of September, and I would start school the following year, September 2018.
“If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.”
I always loved the saying “If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.” He definitely had other things in store for me.
During this time, the company I worked for, Belk, had recently changed ownership. One Monday morning, our new CEO spoke, “Changes are coming. If your heart is not here anymore, we want to support you in finding your next career path, separate from Belk.”
I took it as a sign. At this point, SIS was beginning to ramp up, and I knew I could use additional time for GMAT prep. Taking on my blog full time at that point would allow me the freedom to set my own study schedule through the summer, and I could continue to work on SIS once my applications were submitted.
I had to make a few hard decisions in the process. The first.. trading my beloved Queen City for my hometown coast of Pawleys Island. I needed to be closer to my mom for SIS (she’s behind the lens of the camera for those who have always wondered). Sure, everything I knew was in Charlotte. My best friend, my boyfriend, my life. Leaving opened up a door of uncertainty, but sometimes you have to be willing to take the risk and walk on through.
In May I flew from New York to London to Paris to visit all the schools on my list. After falling in love with Columbia’s campus and vibing with current students at NYU, something felt different about ESSEC in Paris. I sat with the director of the program for over an hour, and by the end of our conversation, I knew I had to attend this program. I could feel it in my gut.
They were still accepting applications for this year, and I felt in my heart that this was one of those defining moments. I flew home. I sat for my final GMAT. I pressed ‘submit’ on my application. I leaped.
Moving to France has been a whirlwind of emotions – happy, sad, exhilarating, and exhausting. More to come on that later, but what I do know: I’m where I’m supposed to be.
I spent a lot of time planning how I pictured this year to go, and that was crucial. Make no mistake, the little things are crucial. But the most defining of moments came about when I paid attention to signs and trusted my gut. Chasing down dreams is equally about planning for the expected and embracing the unexpected.
I know this post was long-winded, and if you’ve made it this far, I applaud you! I can’t wait to share more with you guys about this next chapter in my life: an American expat in Paris!
Hi there! I’m Alley, the voice behind Styled in September. I’m an ex-buyer turned lifestyle blogger, currently getting my MBA in Paris, France. With SIS, I try to share my style, beauty, and travel stories, sprinkled with a few unfiltered musings in my digital diary. Currently on tap: some behind-the-scenes takes of an American expat in Paris. Thanks for stopping by my corner of the internet!