With the end of 2016 quickly approaching, I want to take this post to reflect. Today I’m revisiting some of the meaningful memories that defined my year!
2016 began my first semester as a sister of AΩE.
Is there anything greater than sisterhood? The first time I was officially able to put on my new letters and wear them proudly was such a great day. Walking around campus and seeing my other newly initiated sisters from my candidate class in their letters too was so exciting! Though that was technically at the end of 2015, I started off the new year as a sister of Alpha Omega Epsilon and have worked to uphold our ideals and objectives ever since. I’ve been able to experience so much as a member of this amazing sorority and I can say wholeheartedly that joining this organization shaped my freshman year, college career, and this new chapter of my life!
2016 was my first Alternative Service Break experience.
Spending a week up in rural Appalachia where the cell service and WiFi don’t reach with five other women who were basically strangers was the most rewarding experience I’ve ever had. It didn’t push me out of my comfort zone, it shot me out of it from a cannon and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Those five women became so, so dear to my heart and the trip as a whole really shed light on how some of our fellow citizens have to live. Despite all of their hardships, though, the people you meet in the mountains of West Virginia are some of the most genuine, kind, and honest people. We worked with Appalachia Service Project, an incredible organization working to make homes across America warmer, safer, and drier. I have nothing but praise for this experience and, honestly, it developed a more meaningful connection with me than any fancy international trip ever could.
These relationships and lessons weren’t left under that house either. My teammates became friends and catching up with them is always that mental refresh I never know I need. They’re truly real, inspiring, overall just amazing.
Read more (and see more pictures!) about this incredible, life-changing experience here!
2016 was the year I bought my first car.
I’m firmly in the camp that kids should buy their own car. Yeah, it drains the bank account, but a car is your first big purchase, your first real investment (outside of college tuition). It’s truly your car because you’re the one that wrote the check! Now that I look back on it, I think waiting until my sophomore year of college to actually have a car was a benefit for me as well (I mention some reasons why in this post!). I still may be heavily dependent on my GPS but, you know what, that can be a goal to push to 2017 😉
2016 was the year I lived on my own for the first time.
Living in a college dorm isn’t really living on your own. You don’t have rent to pay every month, a floor plan to vacuum, or even cabinets to keep stocked (those mini fridges don’t count, sorry). The summer of 2016 was the first time I was actually living by myself without family or roommates around. Although it was terrifying at first and I hated the apartment by the time I moved out, it was definitely a good period for personal growth. I mean, I had to learn to cook something for myself every day that wasn’t always a baked potato or bowl of pasta. 😉 It was a good experience to prove to myself that I can make it on my own and I look forward to moving out of the dorm for good in 2017!
Read more about what I learned from this solo summer here!
2016 helped me finally find my major.
Civil engineering sisters! We were making a road bridge in case that isn’t obvious 😉
I changed my intended major at least 5 times over the first half of the year. At NC State, you don’t get accepted to an engineering discipline right away. If you get accepted to the school and the engineering program, you’re just a general engineering freshman until you take the required classes to apply and get in to the specific type of engineering you want to do. I’m going to be honest and say that my current major was certainly not one of my top choices. I never imagined I would be studying civil engineering, but sometimes life takes you in directions you’d never expect. You may not see where you’re headed right away, but I believe that everything happens for a reason. I love what I’m learning now and I’m grateful that 2016 has given me the opportunity to start finding my home in this awesome department!
2016 was the year I started my first adult job.
It’s a lot harder to get an engineering internship your freshman year, especially if you haven’t been able to formally matriculate into a specific discipline yet (as I just described above). Somehow the pieces fell into place for me early on and I was able to start getting engineering experience the summer before I had an official major. Although this job is in electrical engineering instead of civil, I’ve learned so much in my 8ish months there thus far. Having this kind of internship really helps you mature personally and professionally and gives you the opportunity to talk to a lot of experienced people in related fields. Plus, working as a full-time student, while incredibly hard, helps you hone your time management skills and gives you the opportunity to shop for a new professional wardrobe, so that’s fun too. 😉
2016 provided countless adventures, big and small.
I was fortunate enough to be able to take a week off between class and work this past summer to go on a family trip to New York City! It may not have been as magical as I’d always dreamed the big city would be, but it was a great vacation and the skyline was always gorgeous. The NY subway is definitely an adventure in and of itself, so all in all I’d call this a successful experience!
I’m one of those people that calls everything an adventure so naturally weekend experiences mean just as much to me as something that lasts a week! I was really able to get out more and explore this year and I can’t wait to find all that’s left to be discovered.
2016 was the year I finally got a hobby.
It was the year I actually found a use for my *one* gym outfit I brought to school on the off chance I would voluntarily exercise 😉 Trying indoor cycling was another push out of my comfort zone but I’m so glad I gave it a try! Cycling helped me become more of a morning person and also helped give me a little confidence boost and go to things by myself. Could I find a cheaper hobby? Maybe. But if finding two hours out of my day to go zone out and blow off steam somehow makes me happy, I’ll take it.
Read more about my newfound love for cycling here!
2016 led me to start this blog!
I’m going to be honest, blogging is a lot harder and much, much more time consuming than you would think. I had no idea what to expect, but it’s been a blast! It’s refreshing to have an outlet where I can get out of a math or science class, go home, and just write. I’ll admit that sometimes it tries my motivation and inspiration levels but hitting that publish button can be such a proud moment.
I actually started building this site at the same time Blair Lamb from Blair Blogs launched her mentorship program, so I was fortunate enough to be able to work with her and the other mentees over the past few months! I recently finished the program, but I have learned so much from Blair. See my mini feature and meet the other wonderful bloggers here!
I’m finding as time goes on that I’m a much more open person than I thought, so branching out into varying types of posts has really helped me clear my mind a little bit and let some things go that need to be let go.
Thank you for spending this last half of the year with me. I can’t wait to see what 2017 has in store for us!
~What moments made 2016 great for you? What are you excited to see in the new year?