Thursday, January 4, 2018

Favorite Memories of 2017

I had every intention of sharing my goals for 2018 with y'all today but when reflecting on the past year I thought it would be more fun to recap some of my favorite memories of 2017 first. It's amazing the ideas you can have on a long car ride, and with all these thoughts jumbled in my head I figured it would make more sense to separate those two posts. So, my 2018 goals will be coming soon but first I want to highlight some of my favorite experiences. Doing this allows me to better make goals that align with these positive things I've had the opportunity to experience with hopes that 2018 will bring even more. 

This past year came with its fair share of challenges and frustrations as each year tends to. The year also came with a lot of change as I finished college and began grad school and my first job. I expect this year to come with its own challenges and changes as well, but for now I want to share a few of my favorite memories of 2017. I know that I am certainly forgetting things and will probably revisit this post and add those things in as I remember them. Having something like this to look back on as a highlight reel of the year will be fun to come back to and is allowing me to start my year on a positive note.

Looking back at these things already has me smiling. I'm excited to think about what things I might be adding to this list for 2018!

Madison Joining KD.

For the past four years my new semester has kicked off with sorority recruitment. It's a little weird starting January without it if I'm being honest. As a member of KD's executive council both as vice president of public relations and then as president it felt like I lived and breathed recruitment there for a couple of weeks. Last year was especially fun since Madison was going through recruitment. We grew up at the soccer fields together watching our brothers play and eventually I started to babysit for her little sister (but Madison was there too). The school I went to had a tradition that when you were in eighth grade you were paired with a first grader and I was lucky enough to get her sister. Over the years we've grown close playing soccer together and having a lot of similar experiences. A fun fact for you, her mom cried more than my mom at my high school graduation. Needless to say, I was thrilled when Madison decided to come to Furman and desperately wanted her to want to go KD. Fortunately that's exactly what happened and it made for one very happy bid day!

Collaborating with Barbour.

As a blogger I have the opportunity to collaborate with a number of brands. Sometimes it is overwhelming the number of emails I get so I can't even imagine what it is like for bloggers with especially big followings. One incredibly exciting email came from a PR representative from Barbour who had seen my content. She was so sweet and this conversation led to a fun collaboration with the brand in the Spring. Never would I have expected that to happen but I still pinch myself when people ask the brands I've worked with and I can include Barbour, a brand that I love so much, on that list. 

Surprising my student teaching classroom + sharing exciting news with them.

A lot of my year has revolved around teaching. From kicking off January with my last undergrad teaching classes to student teaching to eventually searching and finding a job I'd say that a solid 60% of my year was spent teaching or preparing to teach. One particularly exciting day in the classroom came when the students had no idea that I was coming. I had finished my practicum and was about to graduate but chose to come into the classroom one last time to surprise the kids. If there is one thing I've learned about kids this past year it is that they can make you feel really special (they can also occasionally have the opposite effect, but let's stick to the positives for now). They were so excited when I walked in which made the news i had to share with them that much sweeter. I was able to tell them that that wouldn't be the last time they'd be seeing my in fourth grade since I had been hired to teach at the school where I completed my practicum. 

4.0 my last semester of college.

Even typing that felt a little bit silly but it's something that I was proud of. I've always had to work hard as a student with information not coming quite as naturally as I'd like for it to. Ending my final semester of college with a 4.0 felt like all of my effort was worthwhile (and it doesn't hurt that it boost my cumulative GPA as well). In all I'm proud of myself for the hard work I put into my studies throughout my time at Furman and am appreciative to have gained a love of efficiency and productivity while getting better at time management all throughout. 


Graduating from college.

Alright, this needs some explaining. While graduating from college is certainly a highlight of 2017 it was also incredibly bittersweet. I'm pretty sure most recent college grads would tell you the same thing. I was kind of in denial throughout graduation weekend. The weather forced us to have graduation inside which was a bit of a bummer so the process of graduating was exciting but I think the real highlight is getting to be a Furman graduate. Looking back now, I am so glad to have been able to call Furman my home for the past four years. I'm glad that my parents, brother, and grandparents were able to come to town to celebrate. And, I'm glad that the friends I made at Furman are people I continue to talk to often. While the process of graduating can be a bit emotional and sometimes a snooze, the accomplishment felt is definitely exciting. 

Spending May at home and finally sharing my love of my hometown with y'all. 

I am so thankful for the few weeks I got at home in May before starting grad school. Looking back currently, it feels like the next time I have a break from juggling being a grad student and being a teacher is next August so that bit of time last May was certainly nice. Over the years I've discovered just how much I adore being at home with my family so any opportunity I have to make that happen you can bet I will. It was also really fun for me to share a guide to my hometown right here on the blog. 

Xtreme Experience father's day gift for dad.

I don't think I'll ever give a better gift, and I also don't think I'll ever forget having the experience of driving sports cars with my dad. Working with Xtreme Xperience on a blog post was another one of those moments I would have never imagined had you told me it would happen when I was just starting out. I am so glad I was able to do this with my dad and have the photos and videos to look back on for years to come. 

Reading more.

From sports cars to reading...this is going well. As silly as it may sound, I am so glad I was able to read more this year. While most of that reading took place over the summer it reminded me of how much I enjoy to read. As you'll see in my 2018 goals post it is something I'd like to be able to incorporate more frequently in my schedule this year. Going along with that, adding the Novels with Nell series on the blog has also been a highlight. Nell has spent countless hours with me working on blog stuff so bringing her to your screen has been fun and rewarding. 


Getting settled into a new apartment. 

I have to use the term "settled in" lightly since our apartment still feels unfinished despite having been here for over half a year. My bedroom is finished and I love coming home to it. I was able to utilize the space in a way that works for me while picking out furniture that will likely be used for years to come even when I move out of this apartment. Another highlight would have to be having the opportunity to live with and close to Furman people which has made the transition into the real world a bit more comforting. 


Collaborating with PB Teen.

Although I have worked with and been featured in PB Teen's catalogue before, it is so fun to continue to bring brands I have loved for a long time to Prep In Your Step for collaborations. My room and school supplies would not look nearly as cute without PB Teen and I am so proud to have had the opportunity to continue to collaborate with them.

Y'all hearing my friends' take on what it is like to be friends with a blogger.

What post do I love to look back on and laugh? This one written by my friends about what it is like to be friends with me as a blogger. They are honest, hysterical, and bring to your attention some of the things you may not know. Always appreciative of their honesty and friendship. 

Visiting my big in Charlotte for a concert.

My big, Caroline, is definitely one of my favorite people. She gets me to a T and is the best role model and friend. I had visited her in Charlotte before in February but my trip to see her in October was so much fun and SO needed. I had gone from the beginning of August to mid October with virtually no breaks and let me tell you that was not ideal. While I'd hang out with friends or do things here and there on the weekend visiting her was the first chance I had to step away from being a teacher for 24 hours and remind myself how necessary this is. Teaching has been hard for me. Call it complaining or call it honesty, it's the truth. Somehow she knew I would need a break and got us tickets to see Jon Pardi in Charlotte. We had the best time catching up, decompressing, and socializing and I went back to Greenville so much more energized despite getting fewer hours of sleep than I should. So, more than the trip being a highlight, Caroline knowing me well enough to pull me away from my work for a weekend and being there for me is an even better highlight. 

Furman Homecoming.

Confession: Homecoming was kind of weird. I'm now a graduate student at Furman so I'm not at the point where that weekend is the only time I visit, but it was the first time seeing a lot of people since graduation. Despite some of the weirdness with not being students but being back with all our friends it was so good to see everyone and spend time at the place that brought us all together. Do I need homecoming to happen every weekend? Definitely not but I'll take friend reunions any weekend of the year! 

24 hours in Athens.

This trip happened so recently that I don't even feel like it needs explaining. A weekend getaway at the cutest hotel in a fun city with one of your best friends is hard to beat.

Winter break at home and getting Scout. 

Thank goodness for winter break. I needed the rest and a bit of time to decompress and enjoy my family. Fortunately I got that and more with the addition of our new family member, Scout. Leaving on Tuesday was tearful but that's when you know you've got a good place to come home and even better people to come home to when it is especially hard to leave. I'm glad to have gotten to close out 2017 with my family at home! 

I'd love to hear what some of your favorite memories for the year were and what you're most looking forward to in 2018! 

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