2016 definitely had its ups and downs, but one thing is for sure, it was a year to remember. The year boasted immense changes, and challenging transitions for me, but also tons of opportunities to grow, learn, achieve, and dream. As I reflect on 2016 it is hard for me to narrow down everything that happened into just a few "highlights." So many amazing things happened and I love where I am and what I am doing.
There are, however, a couple of monumental events that served as turning points in my education, my friendships, my family, my career pursuits, and my faith.
These are the two BIG events in my last year. 1- In June I graduated from high school. The day was so incredibly surreal. After four years I was done. I loved getting to celebrate with all of my friends and family that day and through all of the grad parties. To this day it feels weird to me to attend school events or walk in the school! 2- In the middle of August I moved to Ames, IA to attend Iowa State University. I have enjoyed every minute of college so far and know that I am definitely where I am supposed to be and where I need to be. Sometimes I actually look forward to going back to Ames during breaks because I love all of the things I have been doing and all of the people I have gotten to meet.
Looking back, I was so unbelievably lucky to call each and every one of these people my friends, and even more lucky to continue calling them my friends. They made each school day, each practice, each trip, truly every moment, full of light and fun. When college life gets hard or I get down they are the ones that I consistently turn to. The picture on the bottom right is especially special to me. Not only are the two with me, my siblings, they are also some of my best friends. I genuinely look forward to coming home to see them every time. Thanks to each and every one of you for all you did for me in high school, and all you continue to do!
I have lucked out already with some amazing friends in college. My roommate, Kaitlynn, is the best and one of my closest friends. I am already looking forward to living with her and two others next year. In just the first few weeks of school, I was able to grow close to many girls through recruitment and because of living on the same/close floors. We have had tons of fun going to the pumpkin patch, supporting each others' events, going out to dinner, having girls nights in, and more. Additionally, I have met some amazing women through my involvement in my sorority. There have been tons of fun times and events where I have gotten to grow close to my sisters.
Through it all, my family has been there for me. Many of my favorite moments from this year include or involve my family. Traveling has always been one of our favorite things to do together and this year we did just that. For spring break we traveled to Belize and during the summer we took a trip to Italy. We created so many memories during these trips and we had so much fun just being together. I can't wait for our next trip or just this summer when I will get to be with them for an extended period of time. While I have been experiencing these large changes, my family has been nothing but supportive. I look forward to our FaceTime dates each Sunday when I get to see their faces and hear their voices. Although I miss them a lot when I am away, it feels amazing to know that no matter the distance, they are always rooting for me.
A huge part of this year has been exploring what I want to study and where I want that to take me. I had determined that I enjoyed writing and wanted to pursue that in some degree for a career but through activities and classes at Iowa State, I have had real experiences in the field I am interested in. This year I was published for the first time in the Iowa State Daily (recently named the #1 student newspaper in the country) and I am a Self and Style reporter for the paper. This position has allowed me to combine many of my interests and practice what I am learning in classes. I have fallen more in love with the idea of combining journalism and fashion merchandising through this.
I also was chosen to be a member of the Boat House Apparel Style Council where I am on the Social Media and Marketing team. I help advertise the brand and assist with photo shoots to create social media content. This experience has been so much fun and has showed me an alternative but closely related field that I may enjoy. I remain so eager to continue studying and progressing towards my dreams.
A final element of pursuing my career was starting up this blog. I have had so much fun planning out posts and expressing myself through my writing. It has become a way for me to keep in touch with people I love and also take some time to myself to do something I enjoy. Thank YOU for taking the time to read my blog and for taking this journey with me. Your support is something that I appreciate so much!
Throughout 2016 I was pushed and challenged in my faith but this opened me up to a deeper, broader love for God and a greater feeling of thankfulness for all he has given me and continues to provide. Ever since my family moved to Wisconsin we have been attending Blackhawk Church. This church was the greatest blessing because of its programming for kids. I benefitted from their middle school and especially high school ministries SO much. The lefthand picture shows me with my two small-group leaders from my senior year. These two had such a positive impact on my life and were there for me all the time- they even came and supported me when I danced at a basketball game!
I was nervous about what path my faith journey would take as I moved to Iowa State but God has been so present in my life and has shown me his plan so clearly. My roommate and I attended the first meeting of Salt Company as well as the first Sunday service and we decided that we could stop our search for the ministry that fit us best. Salt Company has become an event that I look forward to and learn so much from. Additionally, I have made so many amazing relationships through this ministry. My small group leaders have become some of my close friends and people I know I can always talk to. I feel truly blessed. I can't wait for all that 2017 holds as I continue to develop in my faith. I am excited to continue attending and being a part of Salt Company as well as partake in my home church's challenge to "Love this Book" and read through the Bible (the highlights) in the year.
2016 was a monumental year filled with fun and so many more blessings than I could ever count. As I read back over this post I see that word a lot and I thought about using a thesaurus and changing it, but it is so true. I have been so blessed this year and that is worth praising! Thank you to everyone that played a role in making this year great. But, I now turn and look forward to 2017 with the upmost excitement and an extremely open heart and mind. I can't wait for all that this upcoming year will bring.
Until next year! Much love,