Savannah’s Story

“Dream big and make good decisions that will provide you the opportunities to see those dreams come true. Oh … and watch Parks and Rec and The Office.”

–Savannah

When you were in college, what did you think your life would look like after graduation?

To be honest I was not really sure of what post-graduation would look like when I first entered college. I always loved school and was simply excited to learn and make new memories. Initially I studied math to be a math teacher and switched my major to cultural anthropology. Around my junior year I decided I wanted to work in higher education as an administrator. 

I am an extrovert, so I do not mind living with people and once I knew I wanted to stay in Orange County, living alone was not an option. I also never focused on dating but thought I would at least date one guy before college ended, but that did not happen and still has not. It is not too high on my radar at this moment though. Focusing on myself and my career at the moment.

Is that what happened after college, and if not, what did happen?

I spent the summer after college traveling the U.S. on an improv/ comedy team, got an entry level job at Vanguard University, and moved into an apartment with friends. So, the dreams and career steps of the junior year Savannah who landed on higher education were coming true. But, I had a lot to learn about post-grad life — especially when it came to my health and what I actually wanted in a job/career.

What are you learning right now?

Presently, I am learning that I can do more than my mind tells me I can. I am not much of a dreamer, and although I like to push myself and continually learn, there are times when I place boxes or limits around what I can do physically and mentally.

What do you love about your life right now?

I love that I am transitioning into a new season that holds a lot of uncertainties, but even more possibilities.

Walk me through the step-by-step process that you went through to get to where you are today. What was the first thing you did? Next?

My journey feels less like a step-by-step process and more like a hike that takes you up and down and winds you through peaks, rivers, and valleys. As I mentioned previously, higher education seemed like the route I wanted to take.

So, I started a master’s program in the fall of 2016. I then went on a trip to the Holy Land and was rocked with the idea of peace and security. Not only what it means for Israel and Palestine, but what it means for my own life and the communities I am apart of.

A few months later I started having friends ask if I had ever considered a career in law enforcement and my response was no and that I wanted to finish grad school. I was also only a year into a health and fitness journey of needing to lose weight and get into good physical shape.

Law enforcement became this thing that kept popping up through connections and my own passions that seemed to align with this line of work. I continued to work full time, better my health and well-being, and finish my master’s program.

In the summer of 2018, I took law enforcement seriously after finishing my master’s degree and started the long process of applying at different agencies. I am now weeks away from starting academy as a police recruit for a city in Orange County.

What brings you joy/fills your soul? 

Sharing a good meal and playing games with my friends and family. I also love my pup named Rex and camping. Being outside and doing some type of physical activity is great not only for my body, but mind and soul. Try it sometime. Leave your phone and just go for a walk or hike. And if you are extreme enough, even sleep under the stars in a tent or hammock. It is the best sleep you will get!

If a kid walked up to you asking for your advice and you only had a few minutes to give them your best tip, what would it be?

Dream big and make good decisions that will provide you the opportunities to see those dreams come true. 

Oh … and watch Parks and Rec and The Office when you are older. They are the best TV shows out there.

What do you wish everyone knew about fitness, health, and higher education?

In the area of fitness and health, I hope that everyone learns to live in the tension of having goals, but also listening to your body and knowing what is good for you. Having goals is not bad and looking at people as models for what you want to be able to do or look like in itself is not bad, but you are unique, and one size does not fit all. This is something I learned after college, but wish my health and wellness was something I took more seriously during my undergraduate years.

Also, college is not for everyone. That may sound weird coming from someone with a master’s degree, who would not be opposed to getting a Ph.D., and worked at an institution of higher education for over 4 years, but it is a lot of money and a big commitment for an 18-year-old. There’s nothing wrong with taking some time after high school before going to college, attending a trade school, or simply joining the workforce and never looking back. Just do not waste your time and money if you do not have a clue what you want to do or experience.

How can people keep up with what you’re doing?

Feel free to look me up on Facebook or Instagram (@savycornelison). You can DM on one of those sites or email me at savannah.cornelison@yahoo.com.

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