GovSight is a non-profit technology and news company which was formed in 2019. In our weekly GovSight Diaries series, we share the stories of our challenges and successes in hopes that others can learn from our accomplishments and struggles.

Five years ago, I would not have been able to picture myself today. One of the main reasons for that was moving around a lot as a kid, as I had lived in nine different houses by the end of high school. I would get into a rhythm and a routine of life in one place and then it would be uprooted and thrown into a new scenario. 

For example, in ninth grade, I could only imagine rowing throughout the end of high school, possibly even continuing in college. Northwestern was my dream school and had been since I was five years old attending football games at Ryan Field (Go Cats!). I was finally getting used to living on the east coast for the first time, which was an adjustment from Chicago and London. Within three years, I was living back in London again, somehow became a goalkeeper in soccer (due to an injury limiting my rowing future) and won a high school championship. I was extremely excited to start at my dream school, the University of Chicago, in the upcoming fall. At least all of those hours I spent on rowing for four years gave me an idea for my Common App essay. 

The main lesson I learned throughout this part of my life was very simple: Be adaptable and open to change. Things will change regardless of your well-thought-out five-year plans of where you’ll be. The ability to move on and figure out what works best for you in the present, not you from three years ago, is vital to dealing with constant new scenarios that you may find yourself in. 

This constant changing did not stop once I got to college either. Initially, I wanted to be a Spanish minor because in two of my favorite sports that I wanted to work in, baseball and soccer, there is a huge Central and South American influence. The ability to communicate with players in their own language seemed like it would be an amazing skill and experience. I got to the point where they added native speakers into my class, and I realized quickly that I was in over my head and dropped out. Then, all of a sudden, I thought, “I enjoyed history in high school and watching documentaries, so let’s take some history classes.” That is how I switched from a Spanish minor to a history minor in about four weeks. It was definitely the right switch for me.

However, the importance of adaptability became clear once again this year as a global pandemic ripped up some of even the most iron-clad plans that people had. Come this March, I was looking for an internship working with a sports team in its marketing or business operations department. Then the entire sports industry in the U.S. was postponed within a manner of 24 hours after Utah Jazz forward Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19. Saying it threw a wrench in my plans is a little bit of an understatement.

However, one benefit that came out of it was that I was able to live with my former freshman roommate (whom I have known since ninth grade living on the east coast) again, Joe Magliocco: political director of GovSight. He constantly was talking about this start-up that I always forgot or messed up the name of, but its message of "citizenship simplified" sounded interesting to me. As an economics student, I thought it would be useful to write some economic articles to increase the understanding of extremely important issues and how they actually affect people. This was a massive change from helping out with in-game promotions at a minor league baseball game like I did last year. (Example: we had a blow-up eyeball race, which I lost many, many times.) Although, it was an idea that I was passionate about in terms of making these complicated sounding concepts easy to understand. 

I am now working on the business side of GovSight as a strategist. It gives me the opportunity to take the important message of "citizenship simplified" and bring it to a larger audience. If you had asked me even four months ago, I would not have had any idea where I would be at this current moment. Be adaptable, be open to change, and exciting opportunities will come your way.

Contact the author at thomasgordon@govsight.com.