June 1, 2018 was a very big day for me. As of that date, I am debt free.
I was a foolish teenager when I first enrolled in college. I enrolled in a for-profit school and took out private student loans to pay my tuition. Because I didn't have pre-existing credit, my interest rates were extremely high. Like many college students, I took out more student loans than I needed. The feeling of getting a refund check felt like free money.
I left the for-profit school after I received my Associates Degree in 2005 and I eventually transferred to Penn State University, where I graduated with my Bachelors Degree in 2008. After that, however, I spent seven years deferring payments... while my debt continued to grow.
I lived paycheck to paycheck for most of my twenties while working in the airline industry. I'd lay in bed at night overcome with anxiety thinking about my debt. It felt like a burden that I'd be lugging around with me for the rest of my life. It's not an overstatement to say that it weighed heavily on me.
The Short Box is Jacksonville's weekly comic book and pop culture podcast. Badr, one of the podcast's co-creators and hosts, invited me to be a guest on this week's episode. We discussed Big Picture: Creative Discourse Through Film and Literature, the Cultural Council's role in the community, and the importance of diversity, inclusion, and representation in the arts. Listen to episode 189 HERE.
Writer Hurley Winkler conducted an interview with me in December. This interview was used to write an article for EU Jacksonville. It is featured in January's issue and online. Click HERE to learn more about me and the work I do at the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville.
Crystal Floyd has started a business called Lazy Jay's Tour Company, through which she shares with others the places and activities that make Northeast Florida uniquely special. Tour packages vary based on an individual's interests and abilities, but patrons can expect to visit natural springs, lesser known beaches, and both the state and national parks that are sprinkled throughout this region.
I made a short video using a GoPro from a recent excursion with Lazy Jay's Tour Company to several springs about an hour and a half outside of Jacksonville.
Song: "No Particular Night or Morning"
Album: "We Can Create Our Own World"
Earlier in the year I received a book published by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) titled "How To Do Creative Placemaking." I'm currently working with a small team to develop a five-year strategic plan for the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville and cracking into this book has all the gears turning in my mind.
I turn 32 on April 11, 2017. I chose to celebrate by skydiving. With a steep discount acquired by use of a Groupon, my roommate Darius and I went skydiving on April 9, 2017 in Fernandina Beach, Florida. A big thank you to Skydive the Beach Jacksonville for a wonderful first experience.