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A few months ago I celebrated my one year anniversary at UCF, and like every female on the planet, anniversaries make me feel all smooshy inside. What a great topic for a blog! Jokes aside, this job has gone above and beyond my wildest expectations and I do have a few “grazie” to hand out. I waited to post this blog until today because it felt a bit cheesy, but after winning the Most Transformative Moment Award… You guys asked for it 🙂

Grazie #1: My students

I will try not to get too personal and bore you with the details, but I wanted to share with you that when I was little my parents divorced and I grew up without my dad (he moved to Africa… go figure!). I bring this up to make the point that subconsciously, like every innocent kid “abandoned” by a parent, I thought it was my fault; I wasn’t good enough for him and I spent my life trying to prove him wrong. It is a way too common situation children experience these days, but I wanted to share this little piece of personal history to help me get to my very first grazie. I never had a job where I get thanked and told how great of a job I am doing like being a Career Coach (and I thought I was a pretty good recruiter prior to coming here!). From emails titled “The Best Career Coach” to positive feedback sent directly to my boss, to students telling my boss “did you hire her? You did a really good job!” Every day someone is making me feel like I am good enough for them, and I am extremely thankful for that (now you know why it is hitting a soft spot). The bonuses I once received in the corporate world now come in the form of chocolates, cookies, cupcakes, Starbucks, wine and Awards! Finance and Economics students understand the importance of making an Italian happy 🙂 You are amazing students, you have made me laugh and brought me to tears (of joy), and  I love having a front row seat to watch you grow personally and professionally. This has been the most gratifying work experience I have ever had and I just cannot say grazie enough to all the Anthony Abbot, Chase Flavin, Sunny Babani, Sophia Dunson, Morgan Callea, Andres Castro, Joshua Irizarry, Puneet Grewal, Bo Godfrey and Terson Jean Louis out there! Keep making me proud!

Grazie # 2: Prof. Lonny Bucher and Dr. Lynn Becker

You might know Lonny from the GEB courses. He might have driven you crazy or you just think he is a little bit crazy. Well, he is, but he is also one of the most passionate people I know (I joke he might be Italian) and his # 1 passion is seeing his students succeed. He loves helping you more than you could ever know and he has set the tone for the Office of Professional Development to make sure that we would also make you our priority # 1. He is your fan, he is our fan, and he also happened to be one who let me know UCF was hiring, so I literally wouldn’t be here without him. Oh, and occasionally he feeds us too! Pancakes, jambalaya… and crazy American food that makes me tilt my head to the side, squint my eyes, and worry a little. 🙂

Dr. Lynn Becker told us from day one that dealing with change would be a much needed skill for this job. She wasn’t kidding and this is a job that came with many challenges. She is, however, extremely supportive and open to our ideas, she lets us explores our passions and she believes in us. She is the type of supervisor who has your back and she goes above and beyond to show her support and appreciation. I know some of you might not have lots of work experience, but that is pretty much the description of an awesome boss.

Grazie #3: My fellow Career Coaches

These six girls are some of the most amazing people I have ever had the pleasure to work with and they taught me the importance of being part of a REAL TEAM. They are awesome Human Resources professionals who are very talented, passionate and make coming to this office every day a fun and exciting experience. From Victoria’s sweetness (and I am not just talking about her love for candies), to Lindsay’s patience and kindness, to Sara’s silliness and wit, to Angela’s supportiveness, to Emily’s sincerity, to Kelly’s big heart and creativity… Every day I ask myself, “How did I get this lucky?!” You make me a better person, a better friend, and I look up to every single one of you. Grazie for being the best teammates in the whole world.

So… every job has its ups and downs and every day isn’t a day in paradise, but I am very happy to call UCF, the College of Business, and the Office of Professional Development my home. Thanks again for this wonderful year, looking forward to more laughs, tears… and cupcakes!

Laura McDonough c

Laura McDonough

Career Coach – Finance & Economics