A year in review – 2015

Despite the radio silence on this blog since September… I’ve been thinking about what to post consistently.

I began the quote series in hopes of finding a flow again, finding a consistent slew of concepts and ideas to ramble on and on about, and even then, life got in the way. And so this post, the first of a really long time, is going to talk about that thing called “life” and how it felt this year.

With less than 3 hours left in 2015, I sit and think about everything that happened this year. I graduated from college, started graduate school, leased my first apartment, got my first non-school job, survived my first semester of grad school, spent an amazing three weeks in Colombia, made new friends, reunited with old ones… and did much much more.

SO if you asked me what I would call this year? I would say it was a year of accomplishments… and of first steps.

Year of Accomplishments

 

I start off with saying this was a year of accomplishments, because if I could count the number of major life checkpoints I crossed off this year.. well, the list would be kind of long. From academic, to professional, to personal, and even spiritual… This year has taught me the importance of really knowing who I am, spending time with those I love, and investing in things I care about.

From January through May – my life was a slew of snapshot moments, a constant feeling of   ” this is my last  – insert collegiate moment here-” and I felt like it was all going at warp speed.

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Last Winter Orientation – Jan 2015

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Senior Night February 2015- UNC Asheville

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Last Big South Tournament – March 2015

This phase of “lasts” made me appreciate the people around me more and more every day. Despite the stress and anxiety of wrapping up a four year academic career, and balancing what I realized too little too late was TOO much …. I wanted to show love to the people who helped me grow and take advantage of the moments we had left (and I say that it the least melodramatic tone ever).

So I said cheers to new and wonderful friendships…

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March 2015 – Just for the heck of it w/ Maya Newlin (moments after finding out I got accepted to my dream grad school)

I said cheers to the people who consistently cheer me on and make me laugh.

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The Trio – March 2015

 

 

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T&PP Family – SROW March 2015

And there were so many more individuals, professors, mentors, friends, church family, etc… that helped me come to a tough but great decision.

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Choosing Chapel Hill – #UNCMPA2017 – APRIL 2015

And the picture worthy moments kept coming, and I held on, I held on as much as I could and tried to enjoy the ride.

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Presenting my Senior Thesis – April 2015

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William & Ida Friday Award – April 2015

I think what I remember the most from the first half of the year especially, was being surrounded by this intricate, powerful, and beautiful network of support that I honestly believe is what got me through on the days or even weeks where I didn’t feel up to giving “life” my all.

I was surrounded by people who not only I looked up to (sometimes literally.. okay most of the time literally) but who challenged and pushed me to be the best person I could be, to produce the best work I could produce, and to stay as grounded as possible.

 

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Poli-Sci family

 

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Best Thesis Advisor EVER -Dr.Haschke

 

And the waterworks just started flowing you know? Tears, everywhere, I felt like a fountain from March through May, it was ridiculous.

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Last BSA Retreat – May 2015

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Donning of the Stoles – May 2015  ( Where Erin read a poem that basically made me ugly cry in public)

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Honors Program Family – May 2015

It all felt like a part of the countdown to the big day, graduation day.

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My Dean, My mentor, my friend, my person – May 2015

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My second family – the two that never let me give up – Dr. Dolly Jenkins-Mullen  & Dr. Dwight Mullen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A 1’s since Day 1 – Moe & Jacob

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Mom & Dad – Graduation Day –May 2015

And there are dozens more pictures that I could share to attempt to depict what the first half of the year felt like, but then this post would be too too too too long… and I haven’t even talked about my first steps yet.

My summer? Can be summed up into semi-deep philosophical conversations with a three year old, lots of walks with dogs, mountains, love, and the bible. Oh and before I move on… this happened …

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Villa de Lleyva – Colombia, South America (motherland part 1)

I’d be remiss if I didn’t talk about the second half of 2015… after the summer… when this new post-grad – semi -adult phase began and brought in change after change after change… aka my worst nightmare.

Since August, I’ve met some brilliant amazing people. Made some friends that are starting to feel a bit like family. Realized that it IS possible for a place to feel like home again. Realized that budgeting is no joke. Gained respect for people who work in retail, and even more disillusion with those that feed into consumerism…. and much much more…

So here are a few pictures commemorating those things…

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Fresh Start – August 2015 

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My roommate Ashley, and classmate Angelica – two new, fierce, and brilliant woman in life thanks to #UNCMPA September 2015

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First NC State Fair – October 2015

 

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Another year older – October 2015

I traveled way more than I thought I would – and am very very excited for future trips to come.

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Washington D.C Fall Board Meeting for Americas Promise Alliance – October 2015

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Part of my UNCMPA Cohort – Friendsgiving November 2015

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Home away from Home –  Asheville, NC – November 2015

And again.. there are dozens more pictures where these came from, and the gratitude I feel to have been able to experience and be there for each moment is a bit overwhelming now that I think of it, and in many more ways than one, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I gained a lot this year, I lost a  bit too. But more importantly, i’d like to think I learned a lot as well, and grew. Which leads me to the next and last part of this super long post, my first steps of the year.

A year of First Steps…

I couldn’t say that this year was just about accomplishing things or checking off the things on my life bucket list… because it was trying and challenging and stressful in many ways.

Despite being surrounded by family and friends and a lot of love, I could feel a phase of my life ending and it was difficult to truly fathom that. It was difficult to let go while still feeling all the wonderful feelings of that phase.

So this year, particularly the second half, has been dedicated to taking the first steps towards many thing that I needed to do.

First steps towards being better at accepting change

I will forever love Asheville, North Carolina, and UNC Asheville, and all the people that made my experience there phenomenal, but holding on = holding back. And it wouldn’t do my time there, nor the lessons I learned from the wonderful people who taught me, any justice if I allowed the memory of that phase to hold me back.

First steps towards learning to let people go

I am one to hope, and I hold on to hope sometimes too long to the point of no return it feels like. And this year, I finally took my first steps towards discerning what hope is worth holding on to, and what hope isn’t.

I also learned to listen to my gut. To listen to my heart. And to listen to my head. A simultaneous and challenging process, but important. If it doesn’t feel right, chances are it isn’t. And if it causes you more pain that happiness, chances are it needs to be released.

First steps towards being independent and established

Despite the fact that the grad student budget is nothing to brag about, having a place of my own, a car, a job, and so idea of what I hope my future to look like… are the first steps towards being the full fledged adult, and woman I want to be.

Thank you 2015!

For teaching me, molding me, showing me, and inspiring me beyond my wildest dreams.

Welcome 2016!

I hope that you are full of more strength, adventures, love, faith, friendships, family, good health, and good times.

I thank God for the chance to embark on a new year and see another day of life.

For those reading, thank you !

Much love, and Happy New Year!

SWC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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