Day 51: I’m Coming Home

Kristin Kawecki 2017

Before anyone ever cared where I would intern, I was a kid from Northeast Ohio. It’s where I walked. It’s where I ran. It’s where I cried. It’s where I bled. It holds a special place in my heart. People there have seen me grow up. I sometimes feel like I’m their daughter. Their passion can be overwhelming. But it drives me. I want to give them hope when I can. I want to inspire them when I can. I didn’t realize that eight weeks ago. I do now.

Remember when I was standing in the Baker Center, pacing back and forth waiting for the decision from Lorne and Bailey that would change my life? I was thinking, This is really tough. I could feel it. I was leaving my city to pursue a completely new venture. If I had to do it all over again, I’d obviously do things differently, but I’d still have left. MSBA, for me, has been almost like summer camp (which I have learned a lot about through my friend and summer camp enthusiast, Brett Kornfeld). These past eight weeks transformed me into who I am today. I became a better student and a better woman. I learned from MSBA how to chase my dreams. I will always think of MSBA as my second home. Without the experiences I had there, I wouldn’t be able to do what I’m going to do in the future.

I went to MSBA because of opportunity and growth. We made sacrifices to push through those long nights after work. I believed we could do something magical if we came together. And that’s exactly what we did! The hardest thing to leave is what we built together this summer. Nothing will ever change what we accomplished. We are a family for life.  I also want to thank Kiley Burns and Kaitlin Gascoyne for giving me an amazing eight weeks.

I’m doing this essay because I want an opportunity to explain myself uninterrupted. I don’t want anyone thinking: I frolicked in NYC for 8 weeksit was all play with no workI’m leaving completely unchanged. That’s absolutely not true.

I’m not having a press conference or a party. After this, it’s time to get to work.

When I left Cleveland, I was on a mission. I was seeking experience and exponential growth, and I got both. But the MSBA alumni already knew that feeling; it’s what this program is. My goal is still to maintain the connections I made, no question. But what’s most important for me is bringing this to Northeast Ohio.

I always believed that I’d return to Ohio University and finish my academic career there. I just didn’t know I’d be returning to campus for my sophomore year coming off of one of the greatest summers of my life. The more time passed in NYC, the more I felt the itch to return to Cleveland and share my experience.

I’m not promising I’ll be perfect. I know how hard that is to deliver. I still have a long way to go. Of course, I want to start my career next year, but I’m realistic. It will be a long process. My patience will get tested. I will be an alumna of this program. But I get a thrill out of bringing a group together and helping them reach a place they didn’t know they could go. I see myself as still learning, but also as a leader, and I’m excited to lead some of these talented people into MSBA’s seventh summer.

In Northeast Ohio, nothing is given. Everything is earned. You work for what you have.

I’m ready to accept the challenge. I’m coming home.