2015: Looking Back

“The only time you should ever look back is to see how far you’ve come.” —Unknown

2015 is rapidly coming to an end and 2016 is just a couple days away. This past year was a big year of change for me—graduating high school and moving on to the post high school adventure known as college.

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At the beginning of the year (as most people do), I made a list of goals/resolutions I wanted to work on for 2015. I’ve posted and updated that kind of list on Tumblr for the past few years, but since I’ve started this blog and don’t use Tumblr for personal posts much anymore, I figured I’d post it here. For the last two years, I’ve reviewed my list from the nearly-completed year and commented on it (see my completed 2013 and 2014 lists on Tumblr). At the end of 2014, I posted my 2015 resolution/goal list on Tumblr; and now, at the end of 2015, I will do as I’ve done in prior years—review it. Here were my goals for 2015 and my comments on accomplishing (or not accomplishing) them:

[x] Strengthen my relationship with God.

  • This is one is always on my yearly (and monthly and daily) goal list, as it’s always something I’m striving for. While it is a hard one to measure and will never be 100% accomplished, I do believe I’ve made good progress on it this year. I, of course, have made mistakes this year and definitely could have done more, but thankfully I serve a God rich in unconditional love, boundless forgiveness, and infinite chances. 

[x] Earn a 4.0 for at least one quarter of senior year.

  • I managed this for the first three quarters, and even with (what I thought was) some serious senior slide, my fourth quarter was still only a bit lacking. High school grades don’t really matter now that I’m in college, but I’m still proud that I accomplished a goal I set for myself. (My high school split the year into quarters and semesters, not trimesters like most schools seem to use.) 

[x] Commit to a college for the fall.

  • After changing my major and choice of college a bit late in the game, I finally settled on Winona State University in Winona, Minnesota. I originally declared a double major in Graphic Design and Advertising, but towards the end of the semester, I decided I didn’t want to pursue Graphic Design as a career and switched to English Writing instead. I kept Advertising as a second major and added a minor in Criminal Justice (which I might switch to Psychology, who knows). I really like Winona, and although I’m not sure if I will stay there for all four years (possibly five, but hopefully not), I believe it is the right choice for the time being.  

[x] Make the rest of senior year memorable.

  • Thinking back, senior year of high school was definitely memorable. Although there are some bad memories, they are mostly good and instances I look back on fondly. They—whoever “they” are—aren’t kidding when they say it goes by fast. Each year of high school seemed to go by quicker than the last, and at the rate college is going, I can only assume it will follow the same trend. (How is fall semester already over, winter break is more than halfway done, and spring semester is just a little over a week away?)

[x] Graduate high school!

  • This was a goal I knew I would achieve (as pretty much everyone does nowadays), but even so, it was something exciting happening this year that I wanted to be able to check off of my list at the end of 2015. On May 29th, I graduated from the school I’d attended for thirteen—yes, thirteen—years. After being there for basically my whole life (that I could remember, anyways), finally being done and never having to return there again was pretty surreal. If I’m being honest, it feels a little weird to go back for a sports game or something and know I’m not a student there (for the first time in thirteen years). 

[x] Stay in touch with my closest friends from high school. 

  • This was one of the main things I was worried about regarding post high school life. Some of my friends had been by my side for thirteen years and I saw them nearly every day, so it was pretty bizarre to think that I’d be starting completely fresh in the area of friends. Even though I didn’t regularly keep up with all of them (mainly because I’m not big on casual texting and I suck at replying in a timely fashion), but when we reunited after a few months, it was like no time had passed at all. Although there are some people I haven’t spoken a word to since grad party season came to a close, I have maintained (and even strengthened) the friendships of those I was closest to. 

[x] Do well academically during my first semester of college.

  • I didn’t set a measurable goal for this one, but I managed all mostly A’s and a couple B’s, so I’d say I did pretty well for my first semester. I know I could have done better in some areas/classes, but I’m happy with the outcome.

[x] Step outside of my comfort zone more (especially socially).

  • This is one I can very confidently say I accomplished. While my comfort zone is still my favorite place to be, I was able to step out of it a few times long enough to enjoy myself and/or learn a good lesson. The two instances that immediately come to mind are singing at my high school’s senior chapel and joining a local sorority at Winona. My Christian high school always had a group of students that would lead worship on a weekly basis at Wednesday morning chapels. On the last Wednesday before the seniors are done, it’s some sort of tradition to allow any senior to help lead worship. I don’t have an overly-magnificent voice, I’m terrified of being on stage, and I had never done it before, but I’ve always thought it seemed fun, so I went for it. I was nervous at first, but after the first song, I forgot the entire high school was in front of me and was only focused on the lyrics and what they meant to me. As for the sorority… As most of you know, I decided to join Phi Theta Chi at Winona State. I never thought I would join a sorority, so if you are one of many of my friends who never expected me to be a sorority girl… Well, join the club that I’m the owner of. All I knew about sororities was what movies depict, which, as it turns out, is entirely inaccurate. Most (and I say most because I’m sure some of them at some school somewhere are) sorority girls are not narcissistic, imbecilic harlots who pay for their friends and are only concerned with partying. That’s definitely not something I would voluntarily become a part of. My sisters are some of the most selfless, intelligent, and wonderful people I’ve ever met, and it’s pretty crazy to think that I would have none of those friendships if I would not have stretched myself a little. 

[x] Make more art.

  • Seeing as I declared an art major at first, I made quite a bit of art this semester; and after becoming a Phi Thet, I’ve definitely stepped up my crafting game. I ended up realizing that I absolutely hate studio art when I’m forced to do it in class, and although I switched my major, I still really enjoy artistic and crafty activities. One of my studio art classes kind of killed my enthusiasm for leisure drawing, but I’m sure I’ll regain enjoyment for that hobby sooner or later. 

[x] Get healthier (so I don’t gain the notorious “Freshman 15”). 

  • I realize now that simply saying “get healthier” is a very, very vague goal—after all, as some image on Pinterest said, “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” Although I didn’t set any means to measure it by and I definitely had quite a few cheat days, I do feel like I kept up an overall healthier diet and more regular exercise than I have in the past. (And I haven’t, so far, gained any weight.) I’ll be sure to set a more specific goal for 2016. 

[x] Make a group of new friends in college. 

  • As I mentioned before, the topic of friends was a source of worry for me as high school came to an end and college began. After having basically the same friends for thirteen years of my existence, the thought of going to a new place where I hardly knew a single soul and being forced to make an entirely new group of friends was fairly terrifying. But somehow I found some people who tolerate my extremely sarcastic and sometimes morbid sense of humor. I became friends with a few who I had met on the class Facebook page before school started; some friends I made in my classes; and of course, all of my sisters. Although nothing will ever be able to replace the wonderful friendships I made in high school, all of my college friends are incredible and I am beyond excited to continue to get to know them and make lifelong memories. 

[x] Get involved with something faith-based in college.

  • The faith-based club I was originally looking at had meeting times that conflicted with my fall semester’s schedule, so I might re-look at it spring semester. But thanks to the recommendation of a couple friends who already attended Winona, I found a church that I really like and attend when I can. On the weeks I don’t, I watch an online service of the church from my hometown. 

[  ] Take more chances.

  • I’m not sure how I thought I would measure this one, to be honest. Although I do know I took some chances, this is one area I know I can greatly improve upon still and do not feel like I can check off. For next year, I will be sure to set a more specific goal that is measurable.

[x] Get a tattoo!

  • I am happy to say I got my first tattoo on August 29th of this year. (And just to cover my bases… Yes, I got it very shortly after I moved into college. No, I did not get it because “everyone else was doing it.” Yes, the place was sterile. No, I do not regret it. Yes, I told my parents… Afterwards.) I went to Red Wing Tattoo in Winona, and although I don’t remember the artist off the top of my head, I would recommend it to anyone in the area wanting a tattoo! Physically getting the tattoo was fairly spontaneous, but I knew I wanted that particular tattoo for almost two years. tattoo 82915I know not everyone understands why people get tattoos and some are against them, and that’s fine—just don’t get them, then. But I think they’re a way of expressing myself and showing part of who I am, and I really like the one I have—it has a lot of meaning to me, and that is what’s important. I would love to get more in the future when I have the money to do so (sorry, mom and dad).

And that was all for my 2015 goals/resolution list. A 2016 list is already in the making, and I plan to do this type of post at the end of next year, too. Although I made mistakes in 2015, I’m proud of who I am and what I’ve accomplished this past year, and I know I can do even more next year.

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