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Meet our new editor, Cassidy!

There is a new face at Hudson Valley Parent.

At the end of May, I graduated from SUNY Geneseo. I packed up the last four years of my life into a van, ate at the local favorite pizza shop, Mama Mia's, one last time and hugged my friends goodbye. We were off to live our own lives hundreds of miles from the place that had become our home.

I left college with nothing but hope. Literally, hope is all I had. I didn't have a job, I didn't have a car and I didn't have a plan.

When I graduated, I painted "be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire" onto my navy blue cap and I had done just that for the past four years. I had changed my major twice and thought about changing it a million more times in search of something that would make me happy. When I finally walked across the graduation stage, I had found a major that I loved and that I was excited to build a career from.

A few weeks after I graduated, I started a job at a bank. I had applied to a million places and put my resume out into every inbox I could think of. I was frustrated with the amount of options I had, and though the bank was a nice opportunity, it certainly did not set my soul on fire.

READ MORE: Is your teen looking for a job?

Four days later, I got a call from Hudson Valley Parent magazine, with a position that seemed like it was made for me. And just like that, everything changed. I bought a car and found a job that I was thrilled about and I finally felt that warmth in me that I had been looking for since I started at Geneseo.

Though I don't have children of my own yet, I am no stranger to Hudson Valley Parent magazine. The publication had been a staple of my childhood, constantly on our dining room table and in my mother's hands. Now, as my older brother started having his own children, the magazine has made its way into his home.

Being a recent college graduate, it seems fitting that my first chance editing Hudson Valley Parent would be during our Annual Education Guide. After spending all of the memorable years of my life in school, I am finally not just "home for the summer."

Long gone are the times of carefree fun between school bells, yet summer still excites me like I was a kid off to camp. The sun is finally peeking out after being trapped away behind the clouds for so many months. The flowers are blooming, the bees are buzzing, and the flip-flops can be heard flapping on the sidewalk all around your town.

Summer always seemed to be gone in a blur. By the time the fireworks were booming in the beginning of July, it seemed as though my mom had to turn right around to shop for mine and my siblings' growing bodies and changing academic needs. Having a six year age difference between me and my oldest sibling meant that our schooling necessities each year were quite different.

READ MORE: Pick the best school for your kids!

But while our schooling needs were often opposite, our hopes for the summer were always the same. All my brothers and I ever wished for during the summer was to spend some time together as a family. No matter how old we got, or how busy we became, there was always time for a day at the water park or an evening festival. Even a night together making s'mores by the fire pit was the perfect end to a sweltering day spent frolicking around our Fisher Price Crazy Daisy sprinkler in the backyard. With so much summer fun to choose from in the Hudson Valley, we never found ourselves spending (too much) time staring at Saturday morning cartoons.

Watching my mom find fun, enriching things to keep us busy during the hot months, while also carefully planning out the steps for the upcoming year, is a vivid memory from my summers growing up. Hudson Valley Parent was always a go-to guide she used to spark ideas for exciting places to go and fun things to do, while also finding time to focus on herself and her own sanity.

READ MORE: 100 fun things to do this summer!

This summer is very different from any other summer I have ever been through. For the first time, I am no longer a student facing the unknown come fall. My mother no longer has school aged kids to prepare for the coming academic year. But this year, September will still bring exciting changes. I am watching my sister-in-law search for the right schools for my young niece and nephews. My mother is an aid to a little girl searching for the right next step for herself. Hudson Valley Parent will surely find its way into their hands.

So as you "ooh" and "aah" at the colorful firework displays throughout the Hudson Valley this summer, remember what summer is all about. Between the stresses of summer sports, camp, back-to-school shopping and your own bustling jobs...ENJOY! Throw a burger on the grill, slice up a watermelon, and light off some sparklers.