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Hi there! I’m John, this is my wife Kasey, and we’ve just recently moved back into the Marquette area after spending the last 5 years living in New York City. Our decision to move back into the area was actually quite sudden, but we’ve had an amazing time refamiliarizing ourselves with the region, and have grown to believe that Marquette is one of the very best places to live while we pursue our careers in our current work-from-home capacity. The ‘People of Marquette’ series is dedicated to showcasing the people & stories that garnish such excitement for the incredible things happening in our region, so while Kasey and I feel like we’re only just getting started, we’re honored to have been asked to be a part of the conversation. All said and done, Marquette’s become a bit of a haven for us, and has cultivated what’s sure to become the next phase of our careers & lives. We’re grateful to Marquette for being here for us when everything else was uncertain…but perhaps I’m getting a little ahead of myself…
Who We Are
I’m actually a little embarrassed to say, but I’m not a born-and-raised Yooper. I’m originally from Edina, Minnesota, but I’ve been living my best Yooper lifestyle since I was about 5. Kasey, on the other hand, is a true, pure-blooded Michigander from White Pigeon. We were both raised in small towns, so we’ve grown up embodying that coveted sense of community, and have maintained such a strong work-ethic over the years, that it’s become core to who we are individually. We have both recognized and taken advantage of even the smallest of opportunities for personal growth, and have come to fearlessly embody our passions in a way that we’re just darned proud of. Those passions eventually brought the two of us separately into the Forest Roberts Theater while attending Northern Michigan University back in 2013, where we fatefully met during a production of Legally Blonde: The Musical.
Why We Left Michigan
During rehearsal for our undergraduate graduation ceremony just 2 years later, Kasey received a career-defining phone call all the way from New York City! She had literally checked the “no current job offers” box on the graduation hand-out survey moments ahead of that phone call, but was suddenly being offered an exciting start to her career as an Accountant along the Avenue of Americas, in the heart of Manhattan. Days later, we were engaged and packing boxes for our move out to the big city.
Kasey and I have always been very passionate about our work. That was evident even from the start. Kasey, while she was in school, was supporting her education with a massive, hard-earned scholarship, while also working full-time, and over performing in a separate work-study program. I, on the other hand, poured every ounce of my energy into the theater & arts. So when Kasey’s job offer came through, the notion of living in New York City became an enticing opportunity not only for her, but for my artistic pursuits as well. The job offer, our engagement and our move into our first studio apartment in Brooklyn all took place in the space of about a week. Since then, that ride-or-die energy has continued to follow us throughout our lives & careers, and will surely act as a propellant within any exciting new challenges that come our way.
Why We Left NYC
New York City, as amazing as it was, was never really meant to be a long-term situation for us. More than anything, Kasey and I both knew that NYC was primarily a place for us to unapologetically explore & experiment within our individual careers and to ‘hit the ground running’…so to speak. New York City was an exploration, not just of a different way to experience life, but also a different way to pursue our goals & ambitions. NYC was also amazingly compact; it became a way for us to forge about 20 years of professional experience into a potent 5. It was totally wild, and has fundamentally changed the way that we approach & handle our careers today.
When we did finally decide that it was time to leave, you may be surprised to learn that we were actually planning a move to Los Angeles. As we’re now all painfully familiar, however, the sudden emergence of a global pandemic can put an end to a great many things. I was soon furloughed from my survival job as a bartender, and Kasey’s work shifted into a work-from-home capacity literally overnight. Our gaze, which was originally locked westwards, was now in a terrifying state of uncertainty. So, needing somewhere to escape to, we ended up flying one-way back to Michigan in April of last year, to quarantine through the summer with some family in the Crystal Falls area (during which time I made the ‘Artist in Isolation’ video that’s been attached to this blog). A few months later, eager to find our footing once more, we decided to return to where our ambitious little journey began; Marquette.
Why We Chose Marquette
There were quite a few factors playing into our decision to return to Marquette, but of them all, we really wanted to approach this incredible city from a perspective of, well…a non-student. Not that we didn’t come away from Marquette with a lack of incredible experiences as students, but since we spent so much of our time on-campus & studying while we were here, we really felt like we could experience a whole different side of Marquette if we really gave it a proper effort. Our time in New York was also giving us a different perspective on Marquette; we started to not only appreciate its advantages, but also its potential. The arts movement here, for example, has been taking on a wild new life over the last few years and is something that I’m particularly excited by.
Another aspect of Marquette that’s just totally unrivaled is its work-life balance. Even though Kasey and I are both technically working from home, it’s really hard not to get swept up in it. The residents here really care about living their best lives, and for them, that means not just practicing, but fighting for a prosperous balance in work & life. Everyone in Marquette has some wild hobby, which we’ve found to be equal parts amusing & enticing. Marquette’s residents will push themselves to their limits in their work, but when the work day ends, they’ll match that energy with a passion for leisure, activity and spending quality time with family & friends. Kasey and I have really started to absorb those standards from our new community, and after coming out of that extremely fast-paced NYC environment, it’s otherworldly knowing that any time spent relaxing isn’t somehow a punishment (no, really).
Why Marquette is Working for Us
One of the best things about Marquette, is that it genuinely cultivates an environment for personal growth. Kasey and I haven’t even been in Marquette for a single year, and in that time alone, Marquette has enabled an environment where Kasey could: remotely complete her Master’s Degree in Accounting through Syracuse University, revisited a burning passion for band & performance as a collegiate instructor, and fearlessly explore a newly founded passion for the sport of powerlifting! My artistic career has also taken on an incredible liveliness here in Marquette, by finding immensely fulfilling work as a freelance writer, editor & photographer. I’ve also accepted a position as a Content Producer for The Boreal Collective, wrapped up Season 1 on Sum of Us (a podcast that Kasey and I also happen to produce & co-host) and have just recently been nominated in the international Fine Art Photography Awards for one of my photographs that I’ve taken right here in Marquette.
Marquette is powerful, and we’re not just saying that. It really, really encourages you to succeed & somehow manages to reward all of the hard work you put into whatever you’re passionate about. As the world continues to navigate the work-from-home frontier, and with the very real possibility that Kasey and I could wind up back in another large city by the end of the year, Marquette has not only risen to our unique challenges, but has proven to be capable of totally redefining them. Similarly to how NYC helped to shape our initiative, Marquette has had a meaningful, long withstanding impact on how we want to find balance in our lives. And for that, we’re endlessly grateful.
We’re John & Kasey Scheibe, and we’ve made it Marquette.