This past year brought immense progress to my professional and academic journey. The first quarter of the year was crazy. Working at an accounting firm during tax season was not fun whatsoever. However, it made me realize where I truly wanted to be. As I was filing taxes six days a week for dozens of clients, I caught myself longing for escape, whether that was to a battlefield or to my own office just to read and research. Stacked on top of other stressors, we made the decision that life as a paraprofessional was not going to work out.
A few months unemployed allowed me to up my historian game, writing, reading, traveling, and volunteering with the University of West Florida Historic Trust. It was the best decision I could have made at the time. I went from being a volunteer to a part-time employee with the UWF Historic Trust in their archives and collections departments. I had the time to find another job that fit my bookkeeping experience, while also allowing the flexibility I need for school and historian work. I’ve been able to maintain a 4.0 GPA with American Public University. And – best of all – I was brought on as a new member for Emerging Civil War, a blog that I’ve been following for years. You can explore and read some of my recent posts HERE. I love the work they do with giving voices to new historians and they took a chance on little ol’ me. I’m eternally grateful for them, because it’s opened doors in so many other ways, mainly in publications. Some I can’t announce just yet, but followers may have read about my first contribution to Civil War Times earlier this fall where I gave a short “review” of When The Devil Came Down To Dixie.
I’ve also partnered with the Central Louisiana Civil War Roundtable, shooting short Facebook Live videos for them from various historic sites and battlefields since July, which has really honed my presenting skills. Most recently, I was able to interview Dr. Damian Shiels about his work on the Irish at Andersonville project for the group. You can see it and my other videos HERE. Equally as exciting and terrifying is that January of 2022 will bring my FIRST Civil War Roundtable presentation. I’ll be speaking about the Clotilda, the last slave ship to land on US soil, for the Pensacola Civil War Roundtable on January 11th at 7pm. I always talked about wanting to speak at a roundtable, and this it’s become a reality, thanks to the progress I’ve made throughout 2021.
It’s been a wild and rewarding ride and I look forward to what 2022 has to offer. I have another full year of school, and then just a few months into 2023, I should have my degree completed. Beyond that, I still have a lot of places to visit, articles to write, and books to read. I can say that I endeavor to be more active on the Facebook side of Belle on the Battlefield. So far, I’ve only shared blog posts on that page, but I’d like to start posting photos from my many travels as well.
I’d love to hear about how your 2021 in the comments below! Did you read anything interesting? Did you visit some amazing historic sites? What plans do you have for the coming year?
In closing, I wish you the best 2022 and hope to see you on the battlefield!