We’re just past the halfway point of the year. What better point to pause and take stock of how 2017 has treated me thus far? My dream since the beginning of this year has been to make 2017 a better time than 2016 was, but sometimes I need a reminder of what exactly I’ve done and where my life has taken me. So let’s get started.
I haven’t read nearly as much as I would have liked, especially compared to how much I’ve read in years past. Between college, which keeps me busy and working hard, and depression, which strips me of much of the motivation I have left after studying day in and day out, I just can’t seem to find the time.
I’m trying to look on the bright side, however: Although I’ve read only twenty-two books so far, there have been some really good ones, including:
- A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
- King Lear by William Shakespeare
- Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur
- Black Panther, Vol. 1: A Nation Under Our Feet by Ta-Nehisi Coates
- Citizen by Claudia Rankine
I read a poem per day in April to celebrate National Poetry Month. This little routine quickly became one of the things I most looked forward to doing each day! It definitely gave me a deeper appreciation of poetry and I can’t wait to repeat the project next spring. I loved poetry as a kid but hadn’t read any of my own volition in the longest time: It was just something I read when I had to for school. So, it was nice to see that change.
The best movie I saw this year was far and away Moonlight, which I get emotional thinking about even now. Some of the other movies I’ve enjoyed in 2017 include Hidden Figures, Wonder Woman, and The Little Prince.
I made the dean’s list this spring, which made me incredibly happy. I worked so hard last fall and was crushed to find out that I somehow hadn’t earned the grades necessary to make the dean’s list.
I kept up the same studying routine I had developed in the fall, encouraged and motivated by all the lovely people in the studyblr community. I enjoyed all my courses, even though some were quite stressful at times.
In fact, today I got an email from the head of the philosophy department recommending that I pursue a minor in the subject since my professor had mentioned how hard I worked and how much I “engaged with the material.” I’m not going to do that, but it was still a huge confidence boost to see that someone noticed how hard I worked. All those long Saturdays of reviewing concepts really paid off!
I recently added a third major: Gender, Women’s, & Sexuality Studies! I’m so so so happy because I’ve wanted to triple major since high school but my advisor and I didn’t think that would be possible until recently. It’ll be a lot of work, but is totally doable.
In January, I began working for my school’s English department as a student ambassador. This means that I come in for a few hours once a week and talk to high school students (usually juniors or seniors) and their parents, who are there to tour the college. I talk about my experiences, give advice, answer any questions they may have, et cetera. I really enjoy it and am looking forward to doing it again this fall!
I made some wonderful new friends, mostly in my classes this past semester. I seem to have a knack for befriending seniors, which then leads to sadness when they graduate and aren’t around town anymore. I’m going to miss them so much once school starts up again this fall, so thank god for texting!
I also strengthened a number of friendships that I thought couldn’t get any stronger. Take my roommate, for instance: Although Bridget and I got on like a house on fire from the minute we met, we grew even closer in the spring semester. I’m sure I’ll like my new roommate, but it will be so weird not living with Bridget this fall!
I got back in touch with still other people after a long period of both of us being busy with school, work, and life in general. SHOUT-OUT TO MERRIC IN PARTICULAR HI IF YOU ARE READING THIS I ENJOY OUR CONVERSATIONS ABOUT CATS AND MENTAL HEALTH AND GAY SHIT VERY MUCH. I love those friendships that accidentally go dormant for a while and then pick right back up again like it’s been no time at all.
On a less positive note, I made the tough, but ultimately right, decision to cut some people out of my life altogether. After the hell of 2016 I was ready for a fresh start. Plus, the beginning of each new year is so symbolic to me and I felt there should be a clean break to signify the different between one year and the next.
Honestly, it has been such a good decision to get rid of such toxic people. I mean, if my insides twisted unpleasantly every time I saw them, surely that was a sign things were not right? But I put up with that for so long because, I don’t know, some relationships go on and on out of habit more than anything. More than actual appreciation of each other.
I started keeping a gratitude journal on January first. This project didn’t go quite as planned, since it fizzled out somewhere around March or April, but it was amazing while it lasted. I’d like to pick that habit back up again eventually. Would definitely recommend to anyone who’s considering it!
I undertook the #LoveMe challenge in February. Dedicated to self-love and mental health, the series of prompts spawned a month’s worth of posts from me where I got to know myself better. I’d like to think I have higher self-esteem now?
My New Year’s resolutions are going OK. As usual, I made three: Set aside time to hang out with friends, take my Her Campus responsibilities more seriously, and be kinder and gentler with myself and with my mental health. Working on all of those, to varying levels of success.
I began taking escitalopram, the third antidepressant I’d tried, in February. I’m so grateful that it took only a few tries to find something that works, because god knows I need all the help I can get. I am planning to email my psychiatrist about increasing the dosage once I get back from Ireland and have access to a pharmacy with American medications, though: He said I might need to adjust the dosage over the summer, and to just let him know before I do so. The escitalopram is still working, just not quite as well as it did at first because I’ve gotten used to it.
I feel like I’ve written more fiction so far this year than I have at the same point in years gone by. Most of this can be chalked up to my writing workshop, I think. Over the years I’ve come to realize that I love creative nonfiction more and this is reflected in the type of writing workshops I usually sign up for. This spring, however, I took a course on literary retellings and impersonations. It was a blast and prompted a bunch of fun little pieces!
I continued to volunteer with the Iowa Writers’ House, co-leading meetings of the LGBTQ+ subgroup every two weeks. I also kept attending meetings of the fantasy and science fiction group. I miss my friends there so much and can’t wait to be back this August! As much as I love the friends I’ve made in writing classes at college, I’m so grateful my community of fellow writers has expanded just that much more.
I’ve traveled quite a bit so far in 2017 – well, maybe not a lot for some people, but a lot for me. I jumped at the opportunity to visit DC for the Women’s March on Washington in January and I’m still in disbelief that I was there, I was actually there. I know I’ll never forget that experience.
I attended MBLGTACC for the second time. It was wonderful to make new friends and reunite with some of the people I met last time! Here’s to hoping I go next year, too.
Last but not least, I was accepted to a six-week study abroad program in Dublin, Ireland. I’m so proud of this, because just getting there required a lot of work: I had to decide that I was ready (and that my writing skills were too), send in all the necessary paperwork on time, submit writing samples of a quality that would impress the application committee, and so on and so forth.
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my trip so far and only wish that it were longer! I’m flying home this Saturday and know that I will miss this country so much. (Maybe I can convince my parents to take me back lmao… I think they’d like western Ireland, since it’s very quiet and mountainous.)
I made a summer bucket list for the second year in a row! Last year’s list made my summer plans 100% more focused and I have to say that this year’s is going quite swimmingly as well. I accomplished everything under the “study abroad” category in addition to several of the other items on the list.
My cat died in May, just hours before I came home for the summer. I miss him so much. At least several times a day, I find myself getting excited about cuddling him when I get home from Ireland, only to remember that he’s not around any longer. He wasn’t very old for an indoor cat. It seems impossible that he was alive and well as recently as spring break, the last time I saw him, when he climbed up into my lap while I was trying to edit a piece for my retellings/impersonations workshop. I wish I’d let him cuddle with me more. I was always scolding him for jumping into my lap, because from there he’d try to crawl onto my laptop, typing gibberish with his tiny fuzzy paws as he wandered around.
There you have it: My year.
But wait, there’s more! With just over five and a half months left until 2018, there is still plenty to do. I’m looking forward to starting my junior year of college (!) as well as celebrating my twenty-first birthday (!!!). I’m super excited for all of the classes I’ll be taking this fall. The new Star Wars movie will be released toward the end of the year and I’m so psyched for that, too. And of course we can’t forget that THIS HERE BLOG TURNS SEVEN IN OCTOBER. (How?!)
As for things that I hope will happen: I’d like to get a job where I can pick up more hours. I’d like to continue attending group therapy meetings through my school’s counseling service. I’d like to blog regularly. I’d like to pick up photography as a hobby again.
I have high hopes for the rest of the year’s reading, too. When I have free time this coming semester, I’d like to find a better balance between reading and writing because, as relaxing as writing is for me, reading is just as important.
Seeing all the things I’ve done so far this year listed out was immensely reassuring. Lately I’ve been feeling tired, depressed, and stuck… but I think sitting down to write this post has helped me to get unstuck. It proved to me that, no matter how much I may sometimes feel otherwise, my life isn’t static. I am making progress and I am moving forward. After all, if I’ve already done this much in such a relatively short amount of time, who’s to say I can’t do and be more?