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You @ 25: Appreciating the Small Things

ROI Solutions | You @ 25 Jarod Potocki

“Where do you see yourself five years from now?”

I hate this question. It implies that I know what will happen in the next five years. Ask this question to an 18-year-old me, and he would say that he is working in finance at some large firm and making as much money as possible. Ask 13-year-old me, and he would’ve said being in the NFL. Ask 8-year-old me, and he would’ve said police officer. I am 23, and I only want to have people in my life that make life worth living. I have no clue where I will be at 28 years old. Will I be in a managerial position? Will I be living in a different state? Who knows…

This You @ 25 post will be a little different than others. I turned 23 in January and graduated college in May 2023. Therefore, I’m not 25 yet. So, I want to take this time to reflect on the past few years.

I arrived at Bentley University in the fall of 2019. My optimism and enthusiasm going into college made me feel alive and ready to take on whatever the world brings. I didn’t think the world would bring a global pandemic. Getting my first year shut down in March was a shock to the system that I did not expect. I went home in March 2020 and did not return to Bentley’s campus until September 2020. 

From there, I spent most of 2020 and 2021 stuck in a small dorm room working as a Resident Assistant, trying to help first-year students navigate this unprecedented time and working within the “new normal.” During this time, I also discovered other things about myself, including my identity as a bisexual man and knowing that I wanted to make a change somehow. Working with many different people from different backgrounds and identities helped me learn that there was more to life than what’s on the surface. I also found a passion for numbers. Anything statistics intrigues me (hence why I love baseball so much). I wanted something more as my classmates applied to large, well-known accounting and finance firms (think E.Y. and JP Morgan). Something that can bring an impact with data. That’s when I found ROI Solutions. 

I started as an intern for the MiLo team in May 2022 and worked as an intern until May 2023, when I came on full-time as a Machine Learning Data Analyst. My current job and the clients we work with align with what I want to do with my life! To apply my passion for statistics to organizations with great missions is perfect for me. While at ROI, I have found new passions and the idea of taking life day by day. I used to be a larger-picture person. I wanted to have the perfect plan. To have absolutes in life. To have a specific focus and work only on that. However, that causes burnout and disappointment when life does not go as planned. I have now learned to “stop and smell the roses,” as one may say. Take each day as it comes and make new memories through the small.

The future is daunting. I agree with anyone who says you will never know what will happen in the future. Major life events happen; sometimes, they come and slap you across the face without warning. But that’s life. However, life should not be measured in life events. It should be measured with memories and time doing things you love, whether hobbies, spending time with others, or just noticing the beauty of the everyday.

As I write this, I am in a library, sitting across from my partner as we work. I cherish this small time I spend with the people I love. With the people I want to be with. I want to look back fondly at my current situation and know I am making the most of each moment. Where do I want to be in five years? In a state of happiness. In a place where I can better myself. With people who make me happy. We only get one life. We might as well make the most of it! 

This is part of an ongoing series of You @ 25 blog posts where ROI Solutions staff, clients, and partners reflect on lessons they learned at 25 (or through 25 years of professional work) that still guide their path today. Do you have a story to tell?  Email [email protected].

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