17 Things I Did In 2017 That I’d Never Done Before

I got the idea for this particular kind of end-of-year wrap-up several years ago, from posts Boquinha and Dr. Mark @ Sushi and Pizza wrote. They each published “year in review”-type posts that included the question, “What did you do in [year] that you’d never done before?” and I decided to answer that question on my own blog in both 2015 and 2016.

Now it’s time to do so again.

This is always a fun – and mind-expanding – exercise, because it not only prompts me to sift through kajillions and billions of memories, but forces me to be creative in terms of the milestones I come up with. I often feel as though I don’t do enough, but writing these posts always proves otherwise… and proves that, no matter how sad some days, there are also plenty of good ones.


1. Had a job while in college

I worked in a restaurant on the weekends for about three years during high school, but I didn’t get a job right away upon moving to Iowa City because my parents and I were unsure how I would handle the transition to college. Buuuut… I’m doing OK, and it was time to make some spending money!

I now work one day a week in the UI English department, talking to high school students on their college tours, and love it so so so much. I mean, it’s something I would be doing anyway because I adore my school, so why not get paid for it?!

I have a second job now as well, although since it’s so new there really isn’t much to report back on. Here’s hoping it balances well with everything else going on in my life!

2. Protested

Well… yes and no. I mean, I’ve participated in protests before. Just not anything to the scale of the Women’s March on Washington. Twelve other Iowan women and I drove overnight to reach the march in time. We were exhausted and more than a little overwhelmed, but the incredible experience we had made everything totally worth it. I will be forever grateful for that opportunity!

3. Lost a pet

Technically, this wasn’t the first time: My family lost our cat Melvin when I was about ten, so around eleven years ago at this point. But Mr. Whiskers was the first pet who was really “mine.” He got along better with me than with any other member of the family, similar to how Melvin adored my mom more than anyone else. (Probably due to the number of times I manhandled him as a toddler… lmao whoops.)

Mr. Whiskers was only ten, so none of us were expecting what happened. I miss him so much. I miss the times when he’d crawl up onto my lap while I wrote and proceed to knead my legs with his adorable feet, purring all the while. He definitely helped soothe me when I was anxious. Since we got him not too long after we had to have Melvin put down, I never knew how much I’d miss having a cat around!

4. Flew internationally

I’d been on a handful of flights before – all within the lower forty-eight, however. The trip there was nerve-wracking simply because I’d never traveled so far away from my family before and don’t particularly enjoy flying. (Oddly enough, my fear of heights disappears once we’re up real real high lol.) The trip back was much easier, although of course both were about the same length… seven hours, give or take.

5. Visited Europe

Looking forward to exploring more of it someday!

6. Visited Ireland

God, I miss it so much. The climate, the early sunrise/late sunset, the hustle and bustle of Dublin, the accent. THE ACCENT. I miss the mountains. I miss how GREEN it is. I miss the ridiculously fluffy sheep. I wish I had had longer than six weeks there.

One of these days, after I’m a successful author and actually have money to spare, I want to go back… and take my parents with! I think they’d love the western part of the country.

7. Met Derek Landy


It may have been the first time, but I certainly hope it isn’t the last! I attended a book signing in Dublin shortly after Skulduggery Pleasant: Resurrection was released, in early June. He was very charming and kind, joking with everyone and getting to know them a little bit. One of the highlights of my year, for sure!

8. Attended my first large Pride parade

I’ve been to Pride before… Iowa City Pride, which is teensy and over in about ten minutes. At 30,000 people, Dublin’s parade was quite small compared to some of the big festivities in the US – New York City regularly boasts crowds of over two million – but it was definitely a more intense experience than IC Pride.

9. Visited Northern Ireland

I’m hesitant to say that I visited the UK because, while I was geographically within its bounds, I can’t shake the feeling that I have to visit the island of Great Britain for it to really count. Make of that what you will. I traveled up to Belfast + the Giant’s Causeway + the Dark Hedges via bus on my very last day in Ireland. Probably one of the best choices I made during my time there.

10. Belonged to the studyblr community

I made my study blog late in 2016, actually, but wasn’t active there until last year. I love how supportive, encouraging, and kind people are there. Last fall was a very rough semester and I genuinely do not think my grades would have fared so well were it not for studyblr.

11. Used a planner for more than a month

Bought mine in August and still going strong! This is the first time I’ve ever managed to stick with one for longer than a few weeks. My productivity and focus have both increased as a result. I also feel much less stressed than I normally would during the semester because I have a much better sense of what I’m supposed to be doing, as well as when + where I should do it!

It’s a Bloom Daily Planner, if you were wondering. 10/10 would recommend.

12. Went to Build-A-Bear

This is silly, I know, but I always wanted to go here when I was little! And I never did! I can see why though, because it’s kind of expensive for what you get lol. My friend Merric and I went when there was a sale and made THE ACTUAL SOFTEST teddy bears.

13. Added another major

The undergrad journalism program at my school requires you to major not only in Journalism & Mass Communication but a second subject as well, to diversify your interests/options… so I chose English & Creative Writing back before freshman year even started. Since the very beginning of my college years, I’ve juggled more than one major.

This fall, though, I officially added a third major, this one in Gender, Women’s, & Sexuality Studies. It’s a lot to handle, but is not impossible, and I’m confident I can do it!

14. Chaired a panel at a conference

Two other UI students and I led a panel discussion of Wonder Woman, feminism, and mythology this November at the Midwest Modern Language Association conference in Cincinnati, OH! It was the result of about eighteen months of planning + dreaming + working our butts off and it’s still hard to believe we finally made it!

15. Toured the Robie House

This has been on my bucket list for about TEN YEARS, ever since I read Blue Balliett’s The Wright 3. I’ll post about it more when I do a winter break wrap-up, but let’s just say that trip to Chicago was one of my favorite weekends of the year. It’s a beautiful house and I’d love to go back many years from now to see the completed renovations, what the neighborhood looks like now, et cetera.

16. Ordered a drink

This was just a few weeks ago, shortly before Christmas! My family always eats at this really lovely Spanish restaurant in our town sometime during the holiday season and this time, I had sangria along with my dinner.

I could’ve ordered alcohol in Ireland this summer since the drinking age is only eighteen, but I never got around to it. I did drink a little while I was there, but only ever sips from a friend’s glass because I knew I wouldn’t be able to finish an entire one on my own. I haven’t liked the taste of most of what I’ve tried so far but I’m not supposed to drink much because of my antidepressants anyway, so that’s fine by me.

17. Participated in Book Riot’s #ReadHarder challenge

I didn’t complete the challenge (and get a 30% discount on BR loot lmao), but I tried. And I enjoyed it! And that’s all that really matters in the end, isn’t it? I’m excited to see how this year’s challenge goes!


What did you do for the first time in 2017? Were there any especially memorable firsts? What made them stand out so much?

P.S. You know what’s satisfying? Making this list and then realizing that the total comes out to seventeen. Who knows, maybe I’ll have eighteen items in my 2018 version of this post… which seems sooooo far away right now!

About nevillegirl

Elizabeth. University of Iowa class of 2019. Triple majoring in English & Creative Writing, Journalism, and Gender, Women's, & Sexuality Studies. Twenty-one-year-old daydreamer, introvert, voracious reader, aspiring writer, and lesbian. Passionate about feminism, mental health, comic books, and cats.
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