I got the idea for this post from the blog Sushi and Pizza! Boquinha and Dr. Mark recently published year-in-review questionnaire posts, and the first question was, “What did you do in 2015 that you’d never done before?”
I know I’ve written a LOT of end-of-the-year/beginning-of-the-year posts lately, and I didn’t originally plan to do very many more, but I’ve decided to answer this question on my own blog because… well, I think it’s a neat way of looking back at the year we just finished.
It’s an incredibly POSITIVE way of thinking about the past year. Rather than feeling bad about what I needed/wanted to do but never get around to doing, it’s a way of reflecting on what I did accomplish.
And I think sometimes doing even the most ordinary things – things that other people think nothing of because they’ve done them so often before – for the first time is an accomplishment in and of itself, especially when we’re talking about major life changes and experiences that scare us because they’re new and we’ve never navigated them before.
2015 was a a year of huge changes for me, and this meant it was stressful at times. So, this post seems like a good way to look on the bright side and think about how stressing over something is a completely normal reaction to change… and how changes will happen whether you want them to or not, so you might as well enjoy all these new experiences that are part of ADULTING and just try not to stress too much about them.
(Wow, Engie, tone down the philosophizing there!)
Aaaaand TBH, it’s a 2015 wrap-up post that ISN’T necessarily about books or movies or anything fandom-related. I’ve published a lot of posts like that in the past few days and I realize that for some of you, it probably isn’t your cup of tea.
SO. HERE IS SOMETHING MORE PERSONAL. HERE IS A POST ABOUT #LIFE.
1. Graduated from high school
This was REALLY weird because, well, my method of education changed so much afterwards. Like… wait, I’m done? And ready to move on to college? I swear I started kindergarten just the other day. How did thirteen years go by so quickly?
It was a lot of fun too, though: We invited a bunch of friends and relatives to my open house, and there was CAKE and plenty of other yummy food.
2. Graduated from 4-H
This summer is gonna feel reallyyyyyyyyy weird because I won’t have any 4-H projects to finish last-minute… or at all! I’m definitely going to miss this program, except for the part that involves me scurrying around to complete all my projects. I’ve met so many wonderful people (who wrote letters of recommendation for my scholarship applications!) and made lots and lots of memories.
3. Quit my job
Not because I was dissatisfied with it, but simply because I moved several hundred miles away for college! In some ways it was just a job for me, buuuuuut… it was a pretty great first job, as far as first jobs go. It wasn’t fast food, for instance. And I generally got along with everyone there.
4. Went to a comic book store (& bought my first comic!)
I actually ended up interviewing the owner as part of a project for my communications class! I picked up some comics there on Free Comic Book Day in May, and I started my comic book collection by buying Captain America: The Winter Soldier by Ed Brubaker.
5. Watched an LGBTQ+ film
I watched three this year, actually, but the first was Imagine Me & You! It’s a great, cute romcom about a woman who falls in love with another woman she meets on the day of her wedding. Lena Headey is in it! SHE MAKES ME FEEL A LOT OF REALLY GAY FEELINGS. I’m sooooo glad I decided to start with something lighthearted, because there are entirely too many stories about sad lesbians and it all gets a bit much after a while.
6. Moved out
My room looked so bare after emptying it of so much stuff! I left most of my books behind – well, duh, I had to because I own a few hundred of them – but I took most of my clothes. (…I don’t own very many clothes. I certainly don’t have as many clothes as I have books, and that’s just the way I like it!)
TBH, one of the differences that really startled me was that my desk was clean. THAT NEVER HAPPENS. MY DESK IS ALWAYS COVERED WITH RANDOM CRAP. I’d always used it as more of a place to store stuff, rather than a place to sit and study.
7. Had a roommate
I mean, technically I shared a room with my brother for a while? But we were babies. I don’t even remember it. So this was, essentially, the first time I’d ever had a roommate. My roommate is quiet and not too messy and she doesn’t steal my stuff or anything like that, so we get along just fine. We’re not best friends or anything like, but then we don’t need to be – we’re just two people who happen to be sharing the same room for a year.
8. Started college full-time
I started taking dual-credit courses at a satellite campus of Purdue University as a sophomore in high school, but I never had more than two courses at once… and most semesters, I only had one.
So I wasn’t at all sure how I’d handle a full load of classes, PLUS living on my own, PLUS doing my own laundry and stuff like that. Would I fail all my classes, cry my eyes out due to homesickness, and live in a pile of dirty socks? Fortunately, no. I earned all As (and made the dean’s list!), wasn’t homesick at all, and even figured out how to turn on the washing machine. Yay, me.
9. Was away from my family for more than a week
I visited Washington, D.C. the summers after my sophomore and junior years with two different groups, and each trip lasted about a week. But that’s it – I’d never been away from my family longer than that. Had the opportunity presented itself, I would’ve happily gone on longer trips, but that didn’t happen.
So… that’s the main reason why I was nervous about moving out. I wasn’t sure if I could handle being away from my family for fourteen weeks. (The University of Iowa doesn’t have a fall break – we only get Thanksgiving break! So we’re at school for a really long time, then we have an entire week off for Thanksgiving, and then it’s back to school for just three weeks until winter break begins.)
10. Turned nineteen
I’ve never been nineteen before, so of course I had to include it on this list!
11. Spent my birthday away from my family
I thought I would be lonely that day, but I wasn’t! I hung out with some of my new friends and it was awesome.
12. Took a workshop-style creative writing course
I’d taken three English classes before, but we wrote essays and speeches in them, and I’ve always been shy about sharing my stories with anyone, even my family and friends. So I was REALLY nervous about this class, but I ended up loving it! Both my confidence and my writing skills grew by leaps and bounds last semester.
13. Took a literature course
This was so much fun! I loved discussing the novels we read, analyzing the symbolism, learning about different authors, et cetera. I always felt that studying literature as a homeschooler was always a little lonely, so this experience was amazing.
14. Made friends IRL who actually make an effort to spend time with me
My IRL friends back home are… not the greatest when it comes to initiating activities. I constantly felt like I was annoying them by asking them if they wanted to see this or that movie with me, so eventually I asked less and less often.
I love that my friends from school ask me to study with them and eat dinner with them and watch movies with them and just generally hang out with them. I ask them to do all those things and more as well, of course, but the difference is that now I’m not the only one asking.
15. Got a phone
Believe it or not, I did not have a phone until last summer! Blahhhhhh. But now I have one! And most of the photos I’ve taken with it are selfies with my cat. #priorities
16. Joined a GSA
I joined Spectrum UI, the LGBTQ+ student group here at Iowa! Meeting so many other queer people has been amazing, and I’ve made so many friends. I’m thinking about applying to be a club officer next year!
17. Volunteered for a political campaign
I volunteered with Hawkeyes For Bernie and the University of Iowa Democrats this fall! Once I’m back on campus, I plan to do some last-minute volunteering before the caucus, which will be held on February first!
18. Met a presidential candidate
and took a selfie with him!
I MET BERNIE FREAKING SANDERS. IT WAS AMAZING. When I decided to go to school in Iowa, I knew that state is important in the presidential election, but just how important it is hadn’t fully dawned on me. I never thought I’d have the opportunity to meet Bernie Sanders at an event just a few miles from campus!
19. Watched a Star Wars movie in a theater
That was an experience I never thought I’d get to have, so it was pretty cool. I’d just assumed there was never going to be a sequel trilogy, so… yeah. Also? It was fun to see a Star Wars movie spoiler-free, and in general I’m a big fan of seeing movies in theaters. I love movies, but especially on the big screen because then everything is BIG and LOUD.
Be sure to tell me about all the things YOU did for the first time last year!