After cleaning my apartment intensely for the past 2 hours, I’m getting a chance to sit down in silence, and that’s when I realized that today is the last day of 2012. I started to reflect on the year I had and see how far I’ve come, as well as our world, in just 365 days.
I started the New Year off last year closing the door of my life at TCU and opening the door of a new life at UT. I thought I was prepared for what was in store, and of course, I was surprised. After struggling around campus for the first couple of weeks, and getting acquainted with the “weirdness” of Austin, I started to get used to my surroundings and fell in love with my new school even more. After huddling up in my room alone, and eating awkward meals alone at random times so I wouldn’t look too weird, a group of some of the greatest people I have ever met came and knocked on my door. And thinking that if they hadn’t done that, I probably wouldn’t have met them. I still consider them some of my best friends here and I am thankful every day for their kindness and for stopping by my door that one night. I don’t know how I would’ve made it in the past year without each of them.
Through them, I met more amazing people. And the next thing I knew, I had a group of friends that got me through the craziest, and most exciting semester I have everhad. Through the late night food runs to Whataburger, movie nights lasting until 4 in the morning on a school night, birthday parties, piñatas, movies, basketball games, trips to Fort Worth, meals in the cafeteria at the Castilian, late night jam sessions, attempting to make a Call Me Maybe music video, dips in the pool, Holi, sombreros, sleeping in bathtubs, the parties every weekend and the many, many games of pool, I made some of the greatest friends I could ever ask for. And they deserve to know how thankful I am to them and their patience for putting up with me since ☺
Academically, I was challenged more than I thought possible. The schoolwork became tougher and more extensive and I worked and studied harder than I ever had before (well… attempted to might be a better way to say it). Even in this semester, I pushed myself hard to get decent grades and often came down on myself. But I ended the semester okay, and took summer classes to get my GPA up a little higher. I worked hard, and will continue to work hard. I love my major, and I love where I can go with it. I have my goals and dreams and I feel like with the past year, I’m getting that much closer to achieving them. I worked an awesome internship that focused on at-risk kids in the juvenile justice system. I mentored and tutored and got myself familiar with people in the system, and learned how to handle certain situations. I got a part-time job working at a drop-in daycare in the Cedar Park area. And while daycare is not a profession I’m planning to go into, this job has taught me a lot already, and I absolutely love the people I work with.
In the summer, I got to spend 2 weeks with my sister and people from her class traveling through the Netherlands, France, London and Belgium. It was definitely a bonding experience with my sister and I’ve seen how much she has grown as a person. And the people from her class definitely kept the trip interesting ☺. I crossed so many things off my bucket list, such as seeing the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, a concentration camp, the Anne Frank house, Versailles, the Palace in London, and many more. I can’t describe how amazing that experience was, and I am so thankful for my parents who let my sister and I to have it. And in case anyone needed any reminding, my parents are awesome, and I am so thankful to them and everything they’ve done for me and for my sister and for our family as a whole. They have been there through thick and thin and have kept me laughing for almost 21 years. I always enjoy a trip home because I love spending time with them and my sister. It’s amazing how much closer you can become with your family when you’re not there! But I love them, and could not be more thankful for the family I have. Now to be a sappy big sister; I am so proud of my little sister and how far she has come. She is probably one of the smartest, prettiest, most interesting people I know and has a bright future ahead of her. She is so talented and so giving and always finds a way to make us laugh. I’m happy to have become closer with her and gotten to know her for who she is and who she is becoming.
This semester has been filled with trials and struggles, but with some amazing times too (just as every year). But this semester, I started to learn who I was (really) and what I wanted from my life and from the rest of my undergraduate career. Time started sneaking up on me, and I started getting a little more serious about my future. I’ve gotten closer with my cousin, which has been wonderful because she really is a one-of-a-kind, wonderful, good-hearted person, and I’ve learned who some of my real friends are and who will stick by me no matter what. I got to experience my first football season at UT and what a season it was. Although it wasn’t fantastic all the time, the friends I spent the games with (home and away) made it one hell of a season. Every Saturday was a day to look forward to. And although this semester has been one of the roughest, I have also never learned more. Whether it was in school or life, I’m coming into the New Year a little bit smarter.
In the past year, I have tested my limits, and gotten second chances. I tried new things, and had new experiences. I made mistakes and, hopefully, have learned from them. I have forgiven and forgotten. I have loved and lost. I have tried to become a new person, and then realized that who I am is who I am. I have gained confidence in new ways and I have pushed myself further than I thought I could. I have taken chances and sometimes been knocked down. But I get back up again, because in the end, life goes on, and each struggle is just another chance to learn.
Our world and country has been through some serious heartache in the past year, especially recently with Sandy Hook. But here we are, at the brink of another year. Another year to do right by one another. Another year to change. Another year to fix the problems we have and try to prevent tragedies like those we have seen from ever happening again. Another year to give each other chances and give each other the benefit of the doubt. Another year to show the world what we can do. I’ll end this sappy note with a quote:
“Tomorrow is the first blank page of a 365 page book. Write a good one. Make each one count.”
Happy New Year, stay safe and God bless.