It’s been a long journey, but Jessica Sokol has finally arrived at her “happy place.” It’s back home in Northampton, Massachusetts, where she’s found the things that matter most: family, a dream job, her soulmate, travel opportunities and a budding second career as a writer.
Her Lynn University education, which gave her a solid foundation in business and study abroad, helped her find her way. “I loved my studies at Lynn,” she said, recalling favorite courses taught by Ralph Norcio and Lisa Dandeo. “I knew I wanted to go abroad my junior year and chose American College Dublin. That semester was the best experience of my entire college career. To this day, some of my best friends are in Dublin.”
Her Lynn and ACD experiences introduced her to the world. “In Dublin, I had classmates from Russia and Italy,” Sokol said. “And Lynn has the most amazing international connections. I made friends from Haiti, Brazil and Argentina.”
After graduating in 2007 with a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration (earning honors for highest GPA in her class), she faced a bright future. Soon after returning to her hometown, she was seriously injured in a car accident caused by a drunk driver. “I was in physical therapy for a year,” she said.
Sokol made a full recovery and opened a women’s jewelry and accessories boutique in Northampton. By the time her lease was up a few years later, she decided to close the shop. “I was burned out,” she said.
Sokol turned to an old friend—travel—to sort things out. She hiked across Israel and then moved to Portland, Oregon, where she worked for a property management firm. Portland, however, wasn’t for her.
“For a city that sells itself as being hip and young, it was very cold to me,” Sokol said. She didn’t care for the dating scene and started a blog about her experiences. “It got traction,” she said. “People told me, ‘This is a book.’ So, I began compiling it. It took five years.”
She moved back to Northampton, where she finished the book, For Better And Worse, with help from her dad, a retired editor. Currently, she’s selling the book independently, but plans to publish it online. “I’ll continue to write,” she said. “I already have the idea for my second book.”
Bit by bit, the pieces of her life have come together. Sokol began dating her best friend back in Portland. His flight attendant job allows them to see each other regularly and travel extensively. Sokol loves coming back to South Florida and the Lynn campus and has returned to Dublin twice since graduating.
Both Lynn and ACD influenced her new career—senior study abroad advisor with Barcelona Study Abroad Experience. “The love of study abroad has definitely infiltrated my entire system,” she said.