Graduation party season is here. Which means, weddings are starting to slow down and graduation parties are on the rise. This past weekend I had two graduation parties to set up. I worked with each client to really make sure that we got the unique school colors right and did all the research to find the best pricing for the activities and decor.
Graduation season is the perfect time to reflect on my life after graduation. I graduated high school in 2016. The summer after graduation, I had to have brain surgery to remove what the surgeon believed to be a tumor on my brain, but ultimately ended up being a cyst on my frontal lobe. Being 18 and having a major surgery before getting ready to move to a new town and start college with a bunch of strangers came with many challenges. I went from being an outgoing high school cheerleader, to being a shy, staying in my dorm room except for when it was time to go to class freshman. I struggled getting out there and making friends because I felt super insecure from the fact that a portion of my hair was shaved and I had a big scar across my head. It took me over a year to find my footing and get out and socialize. I had to force myself to become extroverted. Considering I chose a career that required me to talk to new people all the time, this is a good thing that I was able to get over my sever introverted-ness.
In college, I majored in Hospitality Management with a focus in events. I graduated college in 2019, one year earlier than my predicted graduation date. I have always been an over achiever, so instead of taking the minimum credits each semester, I took the max. With 19-20 credits each semester and using my summers to get my internship credits, I was able to graduate with my degree early and really start my career. While in college, I did work in event catering, bartending, and coordination. This helped me get an idea of what I really wanted to focus on post-graduation and how I wanted to run my company.
After graduation, I moved back to Lancaster and went back to the place I did my first internship, a vineyard in Monroe. I spent over a year at the vineyard working on my event skills and creating connections with vendors. During my time there, I started working on the behind the scenes tasks to get my company, Destination Us, up and running.
In January 2020, I opened Destination Us, LLC. I was ready to start my life as my own boss. I was still working at the vineyard until I could really take off with my company, but with 2020 came its own set of obstacles. In April, I learned that my position at the vineyard had been eliminated for the remainder of the pandemic and other positions at the company were few and far between for the time being.
I started pursing other career opportunities since starting in the wedding world was put to a halt. I then started a job at a trampoline park as the event manager. Most of the bigger events were eliminated, but I was tasked with finding ways to still have events in the park through private rent outs. This allowed me to use my creative brain in the midst of something our generation has never experienced before.
While at the trampoline park, since Destination Us only had two weddings on the books, I decided to pursue my MBA. I wanted to expand my knowledge on the business side to make sure all of my "I's were doted and my T's were crossed." I graduated with my MBA in 2021.
Since graduating with my MBA I have grown Destination Us in ways that I would have never thought possible if you would have asked me in May of 2020.
As of the day that I write this post, I have over 35 weddings and events on the books for 2023. I went from only 2 in 2020 to 35+ this year!!!
I say all this to remind all the graduates out there, keep pushing for your dreams. Do not give up even when the world is telling you it is over. There is always a light at the end of the tunnel.