Not Goodbye, Simply See You Later

It’s hard to imagine what life will be like when something you’ve been striving towards for six years is over. But here it is, staring me in the face: free time.

My term as a Collegiate DECA Executive Officer came to a rousing close last month in Orlando, with a 20 (yes, 20) day trip to Florida that had it’s highlights, it’s low points and memories I hope I’ll never forget.

2014-2015 Collegiate DECA Executive Officer Team | "Not Goodbye, Simply See You Later"| An Executive Officer Farewell | A Darling Disaster

My Boys! From left: Matt, me, Daryll, Johnnie, Jared

While I did get a few days of vacation in before the conference madness started, the trip was basically three straight weeks of late nights, early mornings and lots of hard work, but it was SO worth it in the end. Serving as an Executive Officer has opened so many doors for me, some of which happened while I was in Florida, and I couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunity.

First Ever Collegiate DECA MDA Fun Walk | "Not Goodbye, Simply See You Later" | An Executive Officer Farewell | A Darling Disaster

First EVER Collegiate DECA MDA Fun Walk!

Our ICDC had lots of firsts – first MDA fun walk, pictured above, first partnership with Disney at the Collegiate Division, first time more than the US anthem has been played at opening session (WOOHOO, Canada and China!). But it was also full of the DECA tradition, the family, the camaraderie, the love that I’ve come to appreciate from this amazing organization.

It was with LOTS of tears that we said goodbye that Tuesday night, but as Johnnie said in his speech, it’s not goodbye, but simply a see you later!

2014-2015 Collegiate DECA Executive Officer Team | Not Goodbye, Simply See You Later | An Executive Officer Farewell | A Darling Disaster

Yes. That is an Olaf balloon. It’s a long story.

Every year, it’s a big deal when the outgoing officers become what’s part of the HBO’s, or “Has Been Officers.” It sounds like a snide comment but for us, it’s a group of friends who come together at conferences and reminisce over a shared experience – one only we really understand.

HBO Picture at the 2015 Collegiate DECA ICDC | Not Goodbye, Simply See You Later | An Executive Officer Farewell | A Darling Disaster

This year’s HBO group.

My mentor from when I first began my leadership journey was amongst this group, and it was a great experience finally joining the ranks. And of course, we’ve got the newbs to wrangle in. This year, we added four new fantastic leaders to the Executive Council, and I’m really excited to see what they do this year.

Collegiate DECA Teams 54 & 55 | "Not Goodbye, Simply See You Later" | An Executive Officer Farewell | A Darling Disaster

From left: Daryll, Matt, Jared, Me, Johnnie, Jaimie (new President), Aura, Savannah, Matt (yes, ANOTHER one!).

Collegiate DECA Teams 54 & 55 | "Not Goodbye, Simply See You Later" | An Executive Officer Farewell | A Darling Disaster

These ones.

So what’s next? Well, if you know me, you know that I’ll never be completely done with DECA. It runs in my veins, it’s made me who I am, and just because my time as a student leader is over, I will NEVER turn my back on this organization that’s given me so much. But there are avenues I can take, roads I’ve not yet looked down that will allow me to not only give back, but also help the next generation of leaders, like my mentors did for me.

So not goodbye, simply see you later. And that’s how it should be.

"Not Goodbye, Simply See You Later" | An Executive Officer Farewell | A Darling Disaster

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