I’ve always used this blog as an outlet for sharing knowledge in the hope of helping others, whether that’s tips for passing your college math class or tutorials on coding a navigation bar for your blog. I don’t often get personal here, and recently I’ve felt that this blog needs to be more representative of me.
A few weeks ago it hit me that my Instagram had a total of 3 pictures of myself, and that my followers had no way of knowing who I really am. I wasn’t purposefully avoiding posting images of myself, I just never took the time to take them. I’m getting a little ahead of myself, but one of my goals in 2017 is to be more transparent, more open, and more connected with my followers.
I want to start by reflecting on this year and the experiences I took away from it, most of which my readers probably don’t know about because of the reasons mentioned above! I was inspired to do this by a woman I look up to and aspire to be like, so I’m building this off of her previous year in review post.
At the beginning of 2016, I started the spring semester of my sophomore year in college at the University of Texas at Austin. This semester was pretty bland and stressful, and I was sick for about half of it, but I finished out the semester with my best GPA yet despite taking 6 classes! Going into summer break, I planned to work on my blog rather than finding a part time job, and overall just relax and spend time on myself to hopefully figure out why I had been so sick for so long.
June was filled with a rollercoaster of emotions. Halfway through the month I got a heart-wrenching call that one of my friends had passed away in a car accident. I wasn’t nearly as close to her as some of my other friends, and spent weeks doubting my feelings about her passing and questioning whether I was allowed to feel as sad as I did.
It was extremely difficult to find myself surrounded by people who I’d shared so many great memories with in high school band, some of whom I hadn’t seen since graduation, knowing the reason we’d come together was to remember someone who had affected all of us in some way. In 2017, I want to be more active in maintaining the great friendships I made in high school, because there isn’t enough time in our lives to wait for someone else to reach out first.
Later in the summer, I traveled to Grand Teton National Park, Yellowstone National Park, Mount Rainier National Park, and Seattle, Washington with my family for two weeks of road tripping. Planning a trip to Yellowstone usually requires booking hotels up to a year in advance, but we somehow planned the whole trip exactly 30 days ahead of our flight out!
In August, I started my junior year at UT, and it turned out to be my best semester yet. I only took four classes, all engineering, but ended up dropping one because the workload of my schedule was 10 times heavier than I anticipated. There were so many weeks when I had programming labs, tests, and papers due for each class, and I had to prioritize certain tasks over others because I literally didn’t have time to complete them all. Dropping that class allowed me to end the semester with a great GPA, much less stress, and an opportunity to take it again with a different perspective.
I’m ending the year at home just outside of Austin with my family, where it’s currently 81 degrees. I’ll be spending the last two days of 2016 selling fireworks with my best friends, which I’ve done for the past two New Year’s, so I’m looking forward to spending that time with them and adding to the stories of crazy customers who somehow spend thousands on festive explosives.
Highlights From 2016:
- Skied in Breckenridge, CO with family and friends for Spring Break.
- Found out I’m severely allergic to literally every grass, tree, and mold in Central Texas, along with fire ants, which explained why I was so sick all year!
- Organized two successful 3 Day Startup programs with some incredible people, became a co-lead organizer in the fall and will continue in the spring!
- Celebrated two years with my favorite person thousands of miles apart. Went on lots of Austin adventures together, usually involving food. Attempted a 5K, lost to a corgi. Drove to Taco Bell way to many times for late night snacks. Spent WAY too much money on food, routinely decided “this is the last time we eat out.” Ate out more.
- Explored 3 national parks in 2 weeks. 10/10 would go again. Got way closer to a bison than I would’ve liked, and learned that tourists have a really hard time keeping their hats from flying into geysers.
- Hiked up Mt. Rainier (kind of).
- Attended the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing as a scholar, learned more about my future career options in 3 days than in two years of college, and listened to some of the most inspiring women in tech talk about how they’re changing the world.
- Went to the coolest Snapchat after party.
- Hit over 200,000 monthly views on this blog in July, and made enough income to consider this a part-time job. Worked with PayPal, Clif, Amazon, and more.
- Joined the dream team for a semester-long class project on developing a sleepwalking detection system, gained lifelong friends.
- Drove and hiked through Big Bend National Park.
This year really taught me how to deal with stress and other tough emotions, but I know those experiences made me a better person and prepared me for dealing with them again in the future. I’m so grateful for the amazing memories and friendships I made this year, and I have a feeling that 2017 will bring many more!
Since this is my first year doing this, I don’t have any goals from 2015 to check off, but I want to start this tradition by making a list of goals for 2017.
Things I Want To Do In 2017:
- Be more open and connected with my blog readers across social media, and build on the friendships I’ve made with other bloggers already.
- Allow myself to spend time on me, without feeling guilty.
- Create a consistent workout routine, eat more homemade meals, and make my health a top priority.
- Travel outside of Austin with Sean and other friends, Vegas maybe??
- Be more conscious about what I’m putting in and on my body, and start eliminating dairy from my diet.
- Explore the different divisions of tech, and figure out what I’m most passionate about.
I’m looking forward to what 2017 has to offer, and I hope the foundation I set in 2016 on my blog and in life makes way for some great opportunities to come!