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Just Jillian… | A New Chapter

It’s been over six months since my last post and a whirlwind of emotions combined with fun have categorized this period of my life. So much has happen in my world as well as this amazing world around me that I don’t even know where to begin other than to say, “Here, here…to a new and exciting chapter!”

I think it has taken the perfect storm of ruminating and checking off the major life changing events in my life (e.g. news of being laid off in March; my little sister graduating from high school in May; having a commitment ceremony with my partner of 8 years, which brought together our families for the first time in July; an EPIC 3-week European adventure; and leaving NWP as a staff member; and searching for my next job to maintain my current career path) that has left me bursting at the seems to share my reflections and thoughts. Plus, there’s nothing like a family road trip to provide perspective. Although this is truly just the tip of the iceberg, here’s a recap of my “Lesson Learned” during my blogging hiatus:

  • It’s possible to learn as much (or even more) on the job than in a classroom. In other words, there’s a lot to be said for life experiences. That’s one of the many things I can thank NWP for giving me!
  • Celebrating the small things as well as the big. Raising a glass because it’s Wednesday can be just as festive as inching towards 30 :)
  • The world is quite small and accessible. I understand this statement takes a privileged stance, yet that’s how I felt throughout our tour of Europe. If I can get my directional bearings in Paris, and then later in the week give directions to a fellow American tourist; I’m the only barrier to accomplishing anything I desire.
  • Our world is filled with beauty, grace, and history. I have always enjoyed traveling, yet now I can’t deny the international travel [lightening] bug that’s now glowing inside of me.
  • Sport does unite. As was the case on two occasions, once in Amsterdam and another time in Paris. With the later being the U.S. Women’s thrilling win over France. What made the experience even more enjoyable was doing so with two fellow Americans, which allowed us to share our country pride without being the stereotype of the obnoxious American tourist. Which is why I think this article hit so close to home when I read it upon my arrival back in the States: Open Mikes: Should world coverage serve U.S. viewers first?
  • Friendship is priceless. No matter how large your circle, there are those few (probably less than what you can count on your hands) that you would “Do Anything” for no matter what. [Thanks Kelly Cutrone’s book Normal Gets You Nowhere for confirming the need for this select group of people!] I’m truly grateful to my partner for showing me the value of friendship as this gift has not only changed me for the better but also how I relate to others.
  • Build a strong community around you that provides love and support. And, if you get the opportunity to bring them together, then enjoy every moment of them all being in the same city!
  • Regardless of how we present ourselves to the world, we are each experiencing it differently for various factors and reasons. That said, I’m learning to assume the best intentions from everyone while recognizing all I can do is control my behavior and how I react, which I acknowledge is easier said than done.
  • Assumptions are stories we tell ourselves when we don’t know all the facts/data.
  • Call it karma or the golden rule, I’m not really particular, yet one thing I know for sure is that what seems like bad luck or a misfortune (e.g. totaled car, stolen bikes, or a lost money belt with at least €50 in it) can bring a surprising gift or something you never expected when you’re kind to others and send out good energy and a positive spirit.

I have no doubt the insights will continue, yet before I go I must send my best wishes to Pat Head Summitt, who has been a silent mentor through her presence and books. It’s with deep sadness that she was recently diagnosed with the Alzheimer’s disease, which the Washington Post wrote a great article about. Check it out here: Summitt faces her greatest foe yet... In her honor, I recently made my annual Walk to End Alzheimer’s donation in her name. Since I felt completely helpless when hearing this news and I know she would want her supports to take a fighting stance, this seems the best way to stand in solidarity.

Regardless of the fate ahead for her or any of us for that matter, I’m reminded of my latest mantra and Dutch saying that goes as follows:

Dance, dance, dance

with me

full passion and joy

as it is

the last day of life.

~One Love~


Jillian Ross

Jillian Ross is a researcher, writer and learner determined to make a difference in the world. Her work has focused on Title IX and gender equity; the intersections of identity (e.g. race, gender, sexual orientation, class, etc.), especially that of Black queer female student-athletes; creating safe schools and spaces for students and teachers; and more recently, educational and teacher leadership with a focus on school leadership for social justice. Although she no longer participates in competitive sports, Ross still considers herself an athlete. Her love of sport began with basketball and track, and has expanded to her current love of hiking in Tilden, working out at the YMCA, and biking around the Bay Area. Ross works and resides in Berkeley, CA with her partner of 7 years.

Ross writes a women-focused blog addressing the just & unjust in the world at