Until recently, my priorities involved earning decent enough grades to finally bag that degree and graduate. Just about everything else was free time plugged with hobbies and socializing.

These days, I'm facing down a legitimate career in my adopted home of Northeast Ohio.

It's been a benchmark year for a lot of us. So much has happened in 2012, it's hard not to look back as we stand on the new year's doorstep. This year, I graduated from Kent State University with a bachelor's of science in journalism, I lost my mother to colon cancer, I saw my older brother get engaged and I began my career as a full-time reporter with the Twinsburg Bulletin.

Each of these events helped shape me as a person, in ways both big and small.

First, a shift in priorities was needed. If I didn't learn the value of frugality in college, I sure learned it in the months following graduation. At that time, I took what work I could to pay the bills until fortunes improved and a steady job became available.

As I look down the barrel of a new year full of new challenges, I have my first couple of months of experience as a Record Publishing Co. reporter under my belt -- and I feel ready to enter 2013 a strong work ethic and a willingness to learn.

My resolution for 2013 is to fully familiarize myself with my area of coverage and strive to become the most thorough, fair and accurate reporter I can be. With a fantastic editing staff to guide me and a vibrant, friendly community like Twinsburg to cover, it's all on me to make it happen.

When I first moved to Kent for school from my hometown of Sunbury in central Ohio, I had no idea where I would eventually end up, though I had a sneaking suspicion that my initial infatuation with KSU's campus and the city of Kent could lead to my decision to stay following graduation. Don't get me wrong, I'm a Columbus boy at heart, but there's something about Northeast Ohio that welcomed me and made me want to stick around.

When you move away from your hometown, building a life for yourself takes on a different feeling. There's a sense of gravity, a pressure to establish yourself. However, Kent is a great place to live and Twinsburg is a great place to cover; I eagerly look forward to another full year of life as a reporter in Northeast Ohio.

With the passing of 2012, I'm where I want to be now, but who knows? Perhaps when 2014 rolls around I'll feel differently. All I know is that as I look into this new year, I see where I've been, what I've done and what I still have in front of me.

Save money. Exercise more. Make time for friends. Visit family often. Apply yourself to your career goals. All of these and more make up my priorities for 2013.

Whatever your goals may be, I hope this next year is kind to you. If it isn't kind, I'm sure it will at least be educational.

Email: choward@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9423