Keeping My Head Above Water

Not that anyone but me is keeping track, but it has officially been two weeks and six days since my last post. This past month has been a whirlwind – I moved, started my new job, and went to the kick off for my masters program (I’m doing the Master of Nonprofit Administration program at University of San Francisco). I have been stressed out to say the least! I’ve been working my butt off to impress my new colleagues and boss, continuing to unpack our apartment, and mentally preparing to start school. I’m not going to lie, the last few weeks have been really hard… but I’m happy to say that I’m finally starting to feel positive about things. Here are a few mantras that have helped me keep my head above water.

  • At the end of the day, I’m helping people. Being dedicated to the nonprofit field means that the work I do day in and day out changes the world. Even if I don’t get everything crossed off my to do list, or if I feel like I’m not making a good impression on my colleagues, I’m still helping people. And, isn’t that the most important thing in life?
  • I know what I’m doing. My skills and knowledge about development and the nonprofit sector have been verified in both my new job and in meeting my cohort for the masters program. Listening to the types of decisions that are being made and the thought process behind them has been enlightening – not necessarily because they are new to me, but because I agree and had the same thoughts. In regards to my masters cohort, I was surprised to learn that there are quite a few people who have not had as much exposure to the sector as I have. My confidence has definitely been boosted.
  • One day at a time. In times like this, when things are in chaos (and I hate chaos), each day can look a little bit different than the next. It helps me to remember that no matter how bad today is, tomorrow is a new day, and tomorrow could be great! Every day is a fresh start, which can help when I feel like I continually need one!

I don’t get stressed out easily, which is why I’ve been so surprised that this last month has been so hard on me. But I feel confident that things are turning around and I’m now in the right frame of mind. Just in time for classes to start on Tuesday!! Wish me luck!


What I Learned from My Move Across California

I moved from San Diego to the bay area this weekend. I grew up here, so it’s like coming back home… but not really, because I’m coming with a new perspective, new life, and new attitude (and a boyfriend!). As you can imagine, making such a huge move was not an easy process, but in the end, a success! Here are a few tips I learned along the way.

  • I get by with a little help from my friends. Wow. Absolutely, by far, the biggest thing that made an impression on me was the generosity of people around me. I cannot count the number of times I felt intense gratitude that so many people stepped up to help me. I will never forget those who pitched in – and I hope to pay it forward!
  • I underestimated everything. And I mean everything. I reserved a 10 foot truck when we really needed a 14 footer. I thought two days would be plenty of time to get my life in order between my last day at work and packing/loading day. I had no idea I’d have to spend Friday morning packing instead of loading. Whatever it was, I underestimated it. I think the lesson learned here is to be flexible – because no matter how off I was on something, we identified the problem (this truck is too small), brainstormed a solution (calling other moving truck companies), and took action (returned the truck and got something new).
  • Moving is a great time for a fresh start. I’m already starting to create new habits that I hope will catch on in this next chapter of my life. I truly will be starting a new routine – working full time and going to grad school – so I’ll need to learn to balance everything. It’s easier to create change when other things are already changing… so away we go!

I’m anxious and excited to see what happens next. Wish me luck as I embark on new challenges, with a new job, in a new masters program, in a new place!


I Need Help Asking for Help

I hate asking for help. I despise it. It makes my skin crawl. It makes me nervous. If you’re friends with me on Facebook you saw my recent post asking for help with loading our moving truck next week… well, that post almost didn’t happen, many times. I seriously thought about it for a week. Should I post a message asking for help? Should I sound desperate? Should it be funny? What is everyone going to say? Are people going to be mad that I am asking for help?

That’s where I stopped myself. Why the heck would people be mad at me for putting it out there that I need help? I have this feeling that people will think less of me if I ask for favors, like they will resent me or something, the girl who always wants a handout. But really, we all need help sometimes. I can’t count the number of times I’ve done favors for friends, and of course, they have done them for me. That’s what friendship is all about. So, I asked myself one question.

What’s the worst that will happen?

It’s not like someone’s going to comment back, “Wow, Chapin, you’re pathetic for needing help, and I’m really mad at you for posting this status. I’m not going to be your friend anymore.” And even if that did happen – do I really want to be friends with someone like that anyway??

Really – the worst that would happen would be that no one would volunteer to help. And, that’s kind of what happened – no one volunteered to help on Friday, but I did get more help for Sunday! That wouldn’t have happened if I didn’t post that question – if I didn’t ask for help.

It took me so long to decide whether to post it. But when I had decided I was going to, that was it. I posted it this morning before work – I never do anything that early in the morning!! I nervously checked to see what comments I got back all day. When the internet was down when I got to work, I felt anxious. What if someone posted a response??

It made me nervous putting myself out there like that. I will always be the strong woman who has everything going for her. It’s hard to admit that sometimes I can’t figure it all out on my own. I need help.

And that’s nothing to be ashamed of.