Sometimes I just like to hold things. I’m a nerd when it comes to social media and all things technology, but I love the tangible feeling of printed words between my fingers. And today, I held my VERY OWN PUBLISHED WORDS!
I’m extremely excited to have an article featured in Best Version Media’s January issue of S.E. Neighbors, a publication in Ocala, Florida.
Best Version Media is an incredible organization based on one principle foundation: sharing people’s stories. This month, they shared mine. And I’m deeply honored.
Best Version Media has also given the Ocala Power Plant Business Incubator the opportunity to publish a monthly magazine serving as the “hub” for all things innovation in Marion County. As the communications intern at the Ocala Power Plant, I have the privilege of serving as Innovation Ocala Magazine’s Content Coordinator and have loved learning the ins and outs of magazine publication as well as the opportunity to share countless stories with my community.
Take a peek at my article below!
Why Ocala? Why Not Ocala?
By: Emily Cummins
With college graduation looming in the horizon, I’m beginning to grow accustomed to the typical questions that keep coming my way; however, I don’t think I’ll ever get used to the shock on people’s faces after I tell them my post-graduation plans.
As a 21-year-old, soon-to-be University of Florida graduate, I’m scanning the job market, sifting my passions through available job openings. In the midst of multiple variables, the one thing I’m confident of is that I want to live in Ocala.
This is when I typically receive that shock-and-awe response. Why would a young college graduate want to come back to Ocala? Are there even any opportunities for a young person like me?
Opportunity is what you see. And I see plenty.
Ocala is more than the place I call home. It’s really where I began growing into who I wanted to be. In the middle of my junior year of high school, I moved to Ocala from South Florida. Jumping into classes and the swim team at Forest High School, I quickly began embracing the horse capitol of the world. The idea of living in a thriving community with a small town feel appealed to me, and as high school graduation approached, I didn’t want to leave. After taking a tour of the College of Central Florida (CFCC at the time), I knew I was right where I belonged. Not only was I impressed by the degree of professionalism I saw at CF, but I connected with the school in a way that I haven’t been able to do at any other institution. Memories that I will cherish for a lifetime were made there and I didn’t have to go searching around the world to find them.
Fast-forward to today. I’m standing at a crossroads that could lead in multiple directions. The majority of my friends are pursuing what many perceive to be the “it” career by applying for jobs in New York City, Atlanta, Miami, and Los Angeles. Have I seen incredible opportunities in those places? Absolutely. But my heart just keeps coming back to Marion County.
When I think about the life in front of me, I see an opportunity to make a difference and be a force of change in a place that I love. I want to be a part of something larger than myself and create a sense of culture that many only dream about.
I’m confident that as I walk across that graduation stage in a few short months, I don’t need to go searching for a community that will embrace a young generation seeking to make a difference. I’ve already found it, and I happen to call that place home.