So, How Was Your Day?
Cup of cold water. Tea. Cheerios.
Turkey sandwich with multigrain bread, lettuce, onion, provolone, and honey mustard. Water. Banana. Second cup of tea.
Tilapia, avocado, onion, and lime tacos. Lots of salsa. More water.
I snooze the alarm for another five minutes before crawling out from under the warm covers. Hot shower, blazer and dress, and out the door. As I bus into the city, I WhatsApp my friend in Hong Kong, read a few inspirational verses from my Bible app, and scroll through my workberry for the morning Financial Times headlines. Caribou Coffee is the first stop for my Pomegranate Oolong tea (extra large cup please!) before I get to my desk. I organize my notepad scribbles from last week’s meetings in California and remind myself to send thank you notes. I munch through a bowl (or was it two?) of cereal while working on slides for a client presentation later this week.
Stomach is growling, so an early lunch today. A phone call and a few emails later, and I’m in a meeting room with some colleagues. We have the great opportunity to be interviewed and featured in an industry magazine, so it’s an afternoon of prep and brainstorming with the communications team.
I never know where the time goes in my day, because I look up from my desk and it’s already a quarter after five. I’m at Brooks Brothers 15 minutes later for the annual “Suited for Success” event hosted by One Million Degrees, a nonprofit organization focused on helping community college students. I stand in the back of the echoing atrium in a crowd of mentors, board members, and supporters, and watch in awe as a group of 20 scholars descend down the marble staircases dressed as sharp as any CEO. The whole time, I couldn’t help but wonder where my mentee, a young mother and aspiring pharmacist, will end up next year. Words of wisdom (dress for the job you want) and advice (socks should match pants not shoes) are shared before the shopping begins (clothes for a good cause? finally putting my hobby to good use!). After chasing down a few hor d’oeuvres and cookies, it’s time to call it a night. Delicious home-cooked meal from the husband, a quick DIY facial, and then the long awaited sleep, finally in my own bed.
Three Last Things…
1. What’s up with you looking so young? Are you a child prodigy or something?
Child prodigy – I wish! I’ll take that as a compliment. I do try and add a few years to myself by dressing up more often or being in a suit at work (though I still get comments that I look fresh out of high school). I can thank years of great skincare (my mom has been giving me tricks since middle school) and my parents for their genes. My mom and dad both live healthy lifestyles – they could pass for being a decade younger than their true ages!
2. How did you become a mentor with One Million Degrees?
I first heard of One Million Degrees (OMD) through a colleague I used to work with. At the time, I was looking to get more involved in the city. Over coffee one afternoon, she suggested that I give mentoring at OMD a try. Many organizations throughout the city are dedicated to children, high school students, or adults. But the ‘limbo’ and lack of resources that many community college students might find themselves in is rarely addressed. The name of the organization is interesting too – a million degrees has no bounds, and that’s what we’re going for. My experience has been really amazing so far. My mentee, a very driven young lady, was actually just accepted into her top pharmacy school – an amazing feat for someone who also needs to juggle a family life with kids! We meet once a month and catch up on life and talk about classes or any career-related issues. We actually spent the last two meetings prepping for her interviews. I’ve come to realize how blessed I have been to have certain resources and relationships, whether through friends or family, and being able to share some of this knowledge with my mentee and helping her grow to achieve her dreams has just been an amazing experience so far.
3. Wait, hold up, what is this DIY facial?
Here’s what a standard facial at home looks like: I start by cleansing my makeup, and then I exfoliate. Professional exfoliants are great, but the best scrub is found right in the kitchen – olive oil and sea salt (courtesy of my aunt actually – I’m telling you, skincare runs in the family). Olive oil is one of the best and most affordable oils for the skin. Contrary to what many think, adding olive oil to the skin doesn’t make you break out – it can help soothe and hydrate deep into the pores. The salt, on the other hand, actually combats a lot of the impurities and acne that might be deep in the skin. Just mix a little in your palm and scrub in circular motions! Rinse with warm water, and your face feels amazing. Leaving some olive oil alone on the face for about 5 minutes can act as a great mask. Face gels or cooling lotions are great too – anything water based is great for the skin to soak up for a few minutes. And of course, I finish with a rich moisturizer – a must in a city like Chicago!
Jessica lives in downtown Chicago with her husband. She is a Hedge Fund Associate at Northern Trust and a mentor for One Million Degrees, a nonprofit focused on helping community college students succeed. onemilliondegrees.org