Life After Ripon – Sophia Kaounas ’14

Chapter 2: Who Would Have Known…

[Editor’s Note: Nathan Held ’14, Sophia Kaounas ’14, and Ariana Myers ’14 are writing rotating monthly entries for the Ripon College Newsletter chronicling their post-graduation experiences. We hope you enjoy their perspectives on Life After Ripon!]

Happy Fall, Friends!

As the leaves continue to fall and the weather becomes ever more brisk, it is time to remember the days we played in the sun and to get ready for hibernation. I urge you, however, to avoid hibernating too much—there is still a lot of adventuring to do!

Things didn’t end up going as planned, as happens to many things in life. I’ll preface with what I am up to currently. I am living in Washington, D.C. and working for one of the best telecommunication law firms in the United States, Wilkinson Barker Knauer, LLP. I am an executive assistant and researcher for the managing partner of the firm.

How did all of this happen, and how did I not get on a plane to Hang Zhou, China? Your guess is as good as mine. I can say, however, that I couldn’t be happier with the choice I ultimately made. I am inspired, every day, by the men and women that I work alongside, work for and meet. This city never sleeps and is full of opportunity for those who are willing to take the leap.

I am also inspired by the group of alumni here in D.C. Always knowing that I have my Ripon family easily accessible is a beautiful comfort. Paying it forward has always been the motto for these folks, and though still new to the job world and adult lifestyle, I find myself living the mantra, too. I’ve said it time and time again, but I cannot begin to explain how amazing Ripon’s alumni are. Whether here in Washington, D.C. or board members who never hesitate to follow up and support via Facebook, our alumni family is better than I could have ever imagined, and I am proud to have graduated from Ripon College.

As I write this, I’m sitting at the Milwaukee airport, returning from a short weekend in Wisconsin. Full circle, if you will. In the midst of seeing friends and indulging in a few libations, I managed to participate in some much needed reflection. I have gathered a few thoughts that I think are significantly relevant to my graduating class, and many others.

1. I suppose we never really know where we are going to end up, but I think it is important, especially at this age, NOT to compare yourself to others. A good friend of mine told me this weekend, “You’re always going to feel like you’re behind. For the next 30 years, you will feel like everyone else is doing better than you.” To be candid, there are few individuals I know who are doing exactly what they want to be doing at this very moment in their lives. (That being said, if you’ve managed to land your dream job, be PROUD! Embrace your successes!) Remember everything changes, for better or worse. Embrace the change, and remember, you are always in control. Think positively, and find the good.

2. Find regularity. If you work yourself to the bone or even have too much free time on your hands, things are going to get pretty miserable, pretty quickly. Get this. I play in an adult kick ball league here in D.C. The league, coupled with weekly yoga classes, allow for my work life and play life to be fairly balanced.

3. Don’t forget to call your parents.

4. Don’t drop off the face of the earth. We are lucky enough to grow up with beautiful friends for four years. Now, the regularity of their presence has dissipated, but that doesn’t mean that communication does too. I challenge you, after reading this, to send a “Hey! How have you been?” text, email or Facebook message. You’d be surprised how quickly a reconnection after months, or even years, can bring a smile to one’s face.

5. Finally, if you’re keenly aware of what would make you happy, but haven’t made the leap, please trust me when I say: THE LEAP IS WORTH IT. Whether it is relocating to another state or country, quitting your job or even going back to school… take the leap.

Well, that’s all I have for you for the month of November. I hope all remains well for everyone. Keep creating happiness, folks.

Sophia Kaounas ’14

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