With the new year I always enjoy thinking about places I want to go and things I want to do in the upcoming months. However, I have never been one for looking back and reflecting on the past year. I hate those Facebook generated year-in-review movies and overcompensated vague, upbeat posts from people that say "2014 has been so good to me, can't wait to see what 2015 brings!" I don't enjoy reflecting on the past because I always think I could have done more and want to focus on moving forward. This is a personal quality that gives me anxiety in my daily life but as my therapist points out, is a quality that has made me a driven individual. After reading all the posts on social media looking back on 2014, I thought to myself, "What did I even do this past year?!"
I forced myself to think about it. In 2014 . . . .
- I finished and defended my dissertation earning me the title of Dr. Allison Poss.
- I started Axle Rev, LLC and took my new startup through the pregitious Venture School program where I interviewed 100 people for feedback on my idea so I could write a killer business plan.
- I volunteered an average of 10-15 hours a week for HOBY and Gamma Phi Beta and traveled to Houston, Chicago, Seattle, and Dallas for those organizations.
- I vacationed in Punta Cana, Nashville, and D.C. (twice).
- I hosted theme parties where I dressed up in pajamas, a $5 prom dress, Coachella attire, a gym teacher wind suit , and hosted many dinner parties that always featured a signature drink.
- I saw friends get married and met many new friends over cups of coffee.
- I attended conferences, talks, concerts, seminars, and conventions and filled five notebooks will ideas and thoughts from those events.
- I survived another year as a resident's wife, whatever that means.
Reflecting on 2014 made me surprisingly happy. I get so wrapped up in the day-to-day details that stepping back made me realize how ordinary daily moments can add up to an extraordinary year. So I decided to go for it and do a year-in-a-review post. You can use the search bar on the right side of my blog to search for these events for further details and photos if you are so inclined. Here are the big highlights of my 2014, may they rest in peace.
First photo of 2014 - I had high hopes.
Dr. Allison Poss
The best thing that happened in 2014 was that I graduated from my doctoral program earning my fourth college degree. I finished my dissertation on how leaders influence creativity and defended my work to my professors, family, and colleagues. Now, my dissertation, is a hardcover book that is sitting on my bookshelf. ::whoa:: I had an amazing graduation weekend that involved family, making a bobble head of my program director, and celebrating with my classmates that became some of my best friends along the way. Honestly, this celebration also felt like a loss for me in many ways. I had worked for this goal for YEARS. I never took a break from school, I have always been in school. It was difficult for me to figure out how to move on without studying, writing papers, reading articles, and researching being part of my daily life. But I adjusted and enjoyed seeing Dr. Allison written on my mail.
I loved my dissertation research. I loved my research so much that I decided to make a business out of it. I teamed up with my dad and together we founded Axle Rev, LLC. Axle Rev is a boutique organizational development firm that is focused on helping organizations unlock the creative potential of their employees and cultivate a culture of innovation. Axle represents the part of a wheel that moves it forward because we want to help move organizations forward. Rev stands for the innovation revolution we want to start.
We have spent the year developing our idea much with the help of the Venture School program. Exciting things are on the horizon. The last two months of 2014 I would go to work every day then start my work with Axle Rev after I got off meeting up with people, networking, creating content, and collaborating. Things are going well and keep going which is the key to a startup. Check out our website which I am currently working on -
Bennett gets three weeks off during the year. It sounds normal but he works nearly everyday so really he roughly gets 21 days off in the 365 day calendar year. He has to put in the days he wants off far in advance. While some spread out those days, Bennett decided to take them in week periods and we managed to travel each of those weeks so he could live up his time away from the hospital.
After being a few months into his residency, Bennett said that all he wanted to do was go to a beach and drink all day. One of my unhealthy late night habits is looking up Groupon getaways and Punta Cana always has all-inclusive deals. So we booked it for Spring Break and enjoyed every second of it. We did a lot of sitting on the beach but my adventurous soul also made us go on a tour of a coffee plantation and cigar store, go parasailing, and ride horses.
In June we roadtripped to Nashville where we used Airbnb for the first time and stayed with folk musicians. We played the Escape Game and won, listened to great music, ate the best ice cream of my life at Jenis, saw amazing art including an Andy Warhol exhibit, caught up with a high school friend, and ate a lot of good food.
I have always loved D.C. and go there often. Two of my closest friends live there now which meant we could hit people up for a free place to stay. After finding ridiculously cheap plane tickets for September, Bennett and I booked a trip so I could show him my love of D.C. on a budget. We had SO much fun. We did many of the tours I have always skipped including the Supreme Court and Library of Congress. We rode bikes to tour the monuments, went floating, did the trendy Whiskey bar thing, ate at Top Chef's restaurants, and spent at day at the Newseum where we made videos of us pretending to forecast the weather. D.C. is always inspiring; planning when I can go again.
I volunteered for Iowa HOBY this year as a senior facilitator. I had a group of 12 high school sophomores that I mentored and led through this leadership experience. I also was in charge of merch and designed some really sweet bro tanks.
This year I am in charge of recruitment and programming for the Iowa HOBY seminar and will be taking over as chair for 2016 seminar. So Iowa HOBY is here to stay in my life, which is a good thing because I love it. I got to go to a Training Institute of HOBY in Houston this year to prepare for these positions and caught up with some HOBY friends from across the country. I also managed to fit in some line dancing.
The World Leadership Congress (HOBY)
The WLC HOBY conference is always is my favorite two weeks of the year. I volunteered in Chicago this year to be the senior facilitator for a group of 12 students from around the world. I had students from all over the U.S., Israel, China, Taiwan in my group. We did an amazing race across Chicago, debated world issues, bonded over our similarities, completed community service, danced - a lot, laughed and had the best time. I also got to reunite with the other volunteers who are some of my closest friends. If I had to summarize WLC it would be that I got to spend time lots of time with people who bring out the best in me while working towards a mission I believe in so much - teaching students how (not what) to think.
Gamma Phi Beta
This year I became the volunteer Chapter Advisor for the Gamma Phi Beta sorority at the University of Iowa. I am in charge of coordinating the other volunteers and advise the executive committee of women in the chapter. I took over this summer and spend a few hours each week and good part of every Sunday at their sorority house helping out. This year I traveled to Dallas for a leadership training with the chapter president and also traveled Seattle with the whole executive team for the big Gamma Phi Beta convention. We had a ton of fun exploring the Space Needle at midnight, dressing up, meeting other Gamma Phi Beta members, talking about how to move the chapter forward and make change. In Seattle, I also got to spend time with my cousins which was a blast.
One of the ways I coped with not being in school anymore was attending a lot of conferences to continue my path of learning and research. My favorite conference I attended in 2014 was the National Association of School Psychologist's conference in D.C. I got to reunite with my school psychologist friends and toured the monuments at night, something I have always wanted to do in D.C. Cheers to learning.
My role model is Lena Dunham the creator of the TV show Girls. She came out with a new book and did a book talk in Iowa City! I got to see and hear her in person. Even better the new season that starts next week takes place in Iowa City (although they had to recreate Iowa City because the University wouldn't let them film here).
My love of theme parties continued strong in 2014.
PJs & Pillow Fights
A 90s themed sleepover party complete with Dunkaroos, MASH, a fort, snap bracelets, dancing, and a pillow fight.
A prom where everyone had to find a dress under 5 bucks to wear.
A day where we played all of the games you played at elementary school field day. I dressed up like an 80s gym teacher and handed out trophies.
This Coachella themed party involved friendship bracelet making, hula hooping, and bubble blowing. It was my favorite party of the year.
I'll say it. I am excited to see what my 2015 Highlights blog post will include.