The month of December induces several emotions: the relief of finishing yet another semester, the excitement of coming home for the holidays, and the optimism and anxiety that comes along with hoping that 2017 is going to be as great as I need it to be.
Around the holidays I look forward to recuperating and having some quality time with my home friends and family; however, I also use this time to reminisce on the past year.
December always finds a way to creep up on me…I mean 365 days is quite a long time, and a lot has happened in the past year. When the rambunctiousness of finals and school subside, I enjoy flipping through the memories of the past year.
I’ve had some of the highest highs and some of the lowest lows. I went abroad and learned more about myself than I ever could have imagined. I have attempted to start mapping out the next 5-7 years of my life with graduate school planning. I’ve taken tests that have defined my future success.
I’ve met some of the most inspiring people- people that make your soul happy when you finally reunite with them. I’ve been faced with situations that I thought were unbearable, but with the support of friends and family I’ve conquered them. It all sounds pretty vague and a bit cliché, but everyday I’ve learned something new: either in school, through interactions, or self-exploration.
One of my biggest accomplishments this year was learning to let loose and be independent.
In the past, I’ve been scared to be alone. My insecurities and anxieties have crept up on me and knocked down my self-esteem; however, this summer was my first step to true independence. In my 6 weeks abroad, I visited 4 countries, 8 cities, and I met hundreds of people- each with a story.
If I had not taken the initiative to seek out adventures, then I probably would not have learned so much about others nor myself.
Some days I would ride the Tube without a destination in mind, get off at a random stop, and see where the day would take me. Something as mundane as public transportation provided me an escape from the endless hours of studying, and ultimately helped me discover myself in an unexpected way.
While my summer abroad quickly wrapped up, the lessons, people I met, and the memories have stayed with me. It’s always refreshing to see my peers, even if it’s just for a few seconds on the way to class.
After being abroad, I learned that I am able to conquer whatever I choose to in any sort of environment. I learned to be more adaptive to my surroundings, which has absolutely impacted the past semester.
This semester was probably the closest I’ve been to thriving since being abroad. My grades have excelled, most of my relationships have improved, and overall I’ve become a more well-rounded person. While some relationships didn’t last as long as I intended, I’ve learned to adapt and attempt to focus on the future instead of the past.
2016 was a whirlwind of a year, and reflecting on it brings about feelings of contempt, but also excitement. While 2016 was a rough year for a lot of us, I’m hoping that I can take my experiences from this year and start 2017 off right.
For now, the holidays bring about cheer and quality family time, but who knows what 2017 will have in store?