In 2008, Barack Obama was everywhere. In my Atlanta neighborhood, in beautiful murals and graffiti, and on signs in every lawn. In Chicago, where I once landed on the same tarmac as his plane and everyone shifted to one side to look and cheer. In the conference room, where he had spoken in the night before and I could still feel the electricity. 

I was more informed, inspired and involved in politics than I'd ever been. I boo-ed Palin during the VP debates in a room full of rowdy derby girls, hugged a room full of emotional strangers when we won the election, and skipped work to watch the inauguration with a room full of happy neighbors.

I'd never felt as confident in a candidate, as inspired to vote, or as proud to be American.

Shortly after his inauguration, I moved to New York City where in the last eight years I've grown tremendously in my career, collaborated with incredibly talented people, and earn more than my parents. I feel grateful to live the American dream, and am humbled by the opportunity to do so.

January 19th is Obama's last day in office, and I'll be starting my first day as Digital Design Director at Dow Jones Media Group. It feels serendipitous and strange to be so excited for a day that will also be a sad day for our nation. I hold onto the hope that we can channel the same energy, fight and love that we collectively shared when he took office.