2018 Year in Review: Part Two

2018 Year in Review: Part Two

How do you a measure a year in the life?

I’m continuing yesterday’s year in review and looking through my experiences in 2018, month-by-month.  Here’s part two:

June: While May had been a month of many tearful goodbyes, June had many exciting reunions.  My childhood friend, Emma, came to visit from Ireland and we got our entire childhood friend group together for one day exploring Manhattan.  I saw my cousin, Sophia, again after many months apart and we enjoyed a wonderful summer night in Bryant Park. Soon, some of my Disney friends, Jenn and Ryan, even made appearances in Manhattan and I was overjoyed to be reunited with these people that I missed so dearly.  In June, I realized how blessed I was: I have so many amazing people in my life that bring so much joy into the world.

July: July is always my favorite month, as it is my birth month (I am a proud cancer), and this July was as wonderful as ones in the past.  I spent Fourth of July with my friend, Sam, who could rival Captain America with his patriotism. Soon, the event I had been waiting for for months approached: the Taylor Swift concert.  I boarded my bus to D.C., eager to see her perform and see some of my good friends. Her concert was one of the greatest nights of my life, even if we did almost end up stranded in suburban Maryland.  Scream-singing Taylor Swift songs with your friends is so much more fun when Taylor Swift is singing live. I also reunited with an old friend, Sunny, on this trip: Sunny and I had done a summer program years ago together and kept in touch.  She and I got lunch in D.C. and then had a fabulous night when she visited New York a few weeks later. I also reunited with a great friend from high school debate, Katie. Friendships like Sunny and Katie’s are so meaningful to me: no matter how long apart you are, when you reunite, it’s like no time has passed.  

August: August included returns to two of my favorite places: Disney and Georgetown.  Thanks to my sister who gifted me plane tickets to Florida for my birthday and my dear friends who housed me for a week, I was able to return to Orlando one last time before school started.  And, what a wonderful week it was! I went to Universal and went on drives with Kelsey, I spent days running around the Disney parks with my friend, Kelly, I spent hour meandering Disney Springs and the surrounding hotels with another friend, Abby, and I spent days by the pool with Julie.  I never wanted the trip to end, but it soon did and led to my return to Georgetown. Once I arrived, I realized I had forgotten how dearly I missed this place and was excited to be reunited with great friends and my activities, such as the school newspaper, The Hoya.

September: September brought the start of school and with that, the start of club recruitment season.  As social media editor for The Hoya, I found many of my days being consumed by working on my daily tasks, such as best promoting the content, and working to best publicize our application and lead recruitment.  I wouldn’t have it any other way though– the hours I spent with friends at the paper are hours I cherish. In particular, this paper brought me a new friendship this month with a girl named Kathryn. Kathryn is now one of my most treasured friendships and I am so grateful for this organization for bringing us together.  In addition to newspaper recruitment, I also had sorority recruitment this month. Sorority recruitment is stressful for all but I loved getting to spend time with all of my sisters (and all the free food) and welcome in an amazing new pledge class.

October: October went by in a blur.  I went home for the first time this semester and had an amazing time apple-picking with my mom and sister and exploring a local fair. October also brought one of my greatest joys and biggest excitements: the launching of this blog!  I am so happy to have started this journey with you all. This month though also proved my most challenging of the year, as I struggled to keep up with all of my commitments, while still maintaining my mental health and practicing self-care.  I had some failures in October, but these failures just helped make my direction even clearer.

November: November was a month of smiles.  It started with getting my two amazing littles who I adore and am so happy to have them join my little sorority family (shoutout to Emma for being the world’s best sorority twin).  It continued with a wonderful newspaper photoshoot with my social media team. Thanksgiving was a welcome trip home and I enjoyed spending time with my family (especially my puppy, Luna) and friends for the weekend.  Returning to school brought my favorite night of the semester: last night of production for the semester of the newspaper. This night was so much fun and when it was over, I found myself wanting to press pause on life and just live in the happiness that existed in these moments forever.  I truly love the people I got to work with this semester– they have become my support system, my motivation, and my great friends. I am so grateful to have them.

December: The beginning of December brought wonderful nights of dancing and too many days of goodbyes.  With formals for both my sorority and the newspaper, I got to spend great nights, dressed to the nines, dancing and singing with great friends.  However, these nights soon turned to goodbyes, as many of my friends are going abroad next semester. I am going to miss them all so much, but I cannot wait to reunite in the fall.  Speaking of reunions, I was able to reunite with a few Disney friends this month and these moments make me smile so bright. I am so happy these friendships withstand distance and are still so strong.  The latter part of this month has been at home, where I’ve been going on many adventures with my family. It’s been a great time, getting to truly enjoy being with family.

I think back to where I was last December and I cannot believe the difference a year can make.  I come back to thinking of Seasons of Love and another lyric:

 

Measure your life in love.

 

This year, I was blessed with so much love and that love changed me.  Love has the power to change the world, if we open ourselves up to it.  Thank you to everyone who has made this year filled with so much joy– you are so special.  

 

2019, you have big shoes to fill but if you’re anything like 2018, it’ll be a year full of new dreams and adventures.  I can’t wait.

 

Advertisements
2018 Year in Review: Part One

2018 Year in Review: Part One

This is part one in my year in review content.

Five hundred twenty-five six hundred minutes

How do you measure a year in a life?

A friend recently reminded me of these lyrics and as 2018 comes to a close, I find this on my mind.  2018 was a great year, but how do I describe it in the context of my life? How do I measure all of the experiences from this year?

To preface, I ended 2017 feeling lost and confused.  I felt like I had lost my sense of self, like for the first time in my life, I had no idea where I was going.  All I knew was that I wanted to change directions: I wanted to find myself, to rebuild, to be better. Looking back month by month at 2018, I am sure that that lost and confused girl would smile at what a year did.

Here’s part one of my year in review:

January: The year started off in the place that would be the most influential spot of the year, Magic Kingdom.  On this last family trip before my College Program began, I knew that Disney World would give me an adventure, but I had no idea how much this program would change my life.  The month progressed with me having a bit of dead time that I spent enjoying home and New York. During this time, I volunteered with my high school’s speech and debate team and saw some wonderful old friends.  These days were some of the most important of the year. They reconnected me to my younger self, one that had passion and drive. They connected me to a version of myself that had no doubt I would change the world for the better.  The month concluded with the beginning of an adventure: I moved to Orlando, Florida and into my apartment at Vista Way on January 29. These last days of January are some of my favorites: they brought me three of my greatest friends, Kelsey, Beth Anne, and Destiny.  These girls, my roommates, have become my rocks and I treasure our friendships.

February: February began with some roommate bonding and exploring of our new neighborhood.  Beth Anne mapped out for us a day to go hotel hopping around the Disney resorts and the day ended with us eating dole whips by the pool at the Polynesian– in my opinion, that is how all good days should end.  Two days later, my Disney adventure truly began, as Destiny and I went through our Traditions (Disney orientation) together and got our park admission (aka the key to the kingdom, quite literally). I spent my first days off exploring the parks alone and my first days of work going through training, following by spontaneous roommate trips to the parks at night.  I look back so fondly at these first days: the magic was so alive and vivid. February also brought me one of my favorite people in the entire world, Julie. Julie and I worked together and after our last day of training, Julie asked me to go to Magic Kingdom with her that night. That one question formed a most wonderful friendship. For the rest of the month, Julie and I were practically inseparable and spent all of our days off exploring parks together.

March: March brought my first family visit and I was so happy to see them and show them around my new home.  The rest of the month can be summarized by the arrival of new friendships. I grew closer with my coworkers and I felt the magic in Disney changed.  No longer was the magic from the place, but rather the people I got to spend every day with. I could not get enough of these people: we worked together for forty hours a week and I still wanted to spend every moment off with them.  These park adventures we went on together were some of the most random, unplanned, yet magical days I had my entire program. I cannot say enough times how much I love my coworkers and friends I made at Disney: they are my Ohana.

 

April: March ended and April opened with festivities: Destiny turned 20!  We celebrated in appropriate Disney fashion: with a character breakfast.  The month continued with hang-outs with my amazing coworkers and one of my favorite days of my entire program: a day spent at Epcot’s Flower & Garden Festival with Beth Anne and a good friend of mine from work, Sadia.  I mention this day specifically because it was so wonderful: the three of us spent hours together, laughing, joking, and eating at every country in the world showcase. It was the definition of pure bliss. This day was shortly followed by a very special family visit– they were here to celebrate my dad’s birthday and my sister even came along: we had so much fun celebrating together.  The latter parts of the month were spent trying to take advantage of the parks as much as possible and spend time with friends, as my departure date of May 17 started to creep closer. It was in this time that I found Disney and Orlando had become a home to me.

 

May: May was a month of many tears and goodbyes.  As my departure day approached and many friends departed before me, I found myself realizing how much this program had meant to me.  It gave me people who truly loved me and appreciated me. It gave me people who had magic within them and they gave some of that magic to me.  Together, we were able to make the world a little bit happier. I tearfully walked through Magic Kingdom in those last days, staying on Main Street with friends until we could stay no longer, passing by every cart I had worked at with a wistful look in my eye, and watching Happily Ever After, the fireworks show that had lit up my workdays.  I cried as I turned in my key and took one last look at Vista Way, the place that had been my home since January. I knew as I drove away that this place had changed me. I would miss it and the people dearly.

 

Oh, I Believe in Yesterday

Oh, I Believe in Yesterday

Sometimes, we just wish for the past.  There doesn’t have to be anything wrong with our present, but something in us longs for an era gone by.  That’s the nostalgia kicking in.

My week started off with a midterm on Monday and has been followed by a packed schedule of interning, tutoring students, and juggling my extracurriculars with my academics.  It’s one of those weeks where there’s nothing really bad happening, but it still feels overwhelming. To add to matters, I’ve been starting to feel stir-crazy at school, just wanting to get out of Washington, D.C. for a little while and breathe.  What is this all the perfect recipe for? A lot of nostalgia for my Disney College Program.

img_0142
Working at Storybook Circus with two of my favorite people, Abbey and Amanda

My time at Disney wasn’t perfect and yet, there is nothing more that I yearn for at this moment.  I’m craving the winter days spent at water parks, the days spent laying on the Hub grass with a view of Cinderella Castle, and the unexpected perfectness of random days spent eating all the food Epcot had to offer.  It’s been six months since my program ended and as I’ve finally gotten used to school again, my time in Disney feels like nothing more than a fantasy I created. It’s become my perfect dream.

As I think about my time at Disney and this craving I have right now to go back, I wonder: is it the place I wish for or is it the people?  I have not seen many of my friends for six months now, with no end date to this separation in sight. As I think of the days I am looking at nostalgically, I realize it’s the people who make the stories so beautiful.

It’s ranting with Kelsey over noodles and ice cream.  It’s car rides home, singing Taylor Swift, with Julie. It’s the long talks at 2 AM with Destiny.  It’s gossiping with Sadia. It’s the smiles (and groans) that were shared with Jordan as we passed each other during a work day.  It’s the photoshoots with Jenn. It’s the laughter in the kitchen with Beth Anne. It’s the adventures with Kelly. It’s the random late nights with my coworkers who became my best friends.

I could go on for years, listing the name of each person who made my time at Disney so special.  I realize now that it’s not the Magic Kingdom nor the rollercoasters, not even Mickey or Minnie that I’m so badly craving and am nostalgic for.  It’s my people.

When it comes to feeling nostalgic, I think it’s important not to push those feelings away.  You long for a time for a reason: find that real reason, not just the surface one. However, don’t dwell on your longing.  You cannot live in the past and if you do, you miss out on the present.

I am grateful for my college program and I am so grateful for the people it brought into my life.  However, I will not dwell on my longing to be back in a day gone by. Rather, I will think of my friends and know that as Mickey always says, I’ll see ya real soon.

IMG_0643

Home is Wherever I’m with You

Home is Wherever I’m with You

Have you ever felt alone in a crowded room?  There was just something in you that told you that you didn’t belong here but everyone else did.  If you’ve ever felt that way, you know that it is the most heartbreaking and isolating feeling. You just feel like you don’t belong anywhere.

 

This feeling of belonging is something we constantly are all searching for.  It’s a feeling of love and appreciation and acceptance. It’s feeling like in that moment in time, you are exactly where you need to be.  

 

Sometimes, having multiple friend groups from different parts of our lives can complicate this.  If I belong somewhere, can I still belong where I have been before? Can I belong with my high school friends if I truly belong at Georgetown?

 

Yes.  Each community may love and appreciate us in different ways, but this is so essential for us to be a whole person and to love ourselves.  You can be loved in different ways.

 

Where do I belong?

 

I belong at Georgetown.  The people here are so influential for shaping exactly who I am.  At the newspaper, they push me to grow professionally and to stand strong for what I believe in.  My sorority sisters are a huge aspect of my support system: they cheer and root for me. I belong with people who help and support me to grow.

IMG_3671.PNG
Women of The Hoya, Georgetown’s student newspaper.

I belong with my Disney community.  They saw me not for my plans and achievements, but for the love I was willing to give the world.  I belong with people who remind me to show love to the world and remain empathetic, even when I’m scared of being open.  

ACA0983D-AEDA-4794-8C43-DAA1E7C8A10C.JPEG
Magic Kingdom, April 2018

I belong with my friends from high school debate. These friends have watched me grow from a young and confused teenager to a slightly less confused young adult and have stood by for every phase.  I belong with people who watch me grow and love me anyway.

IMG_5373
Yale Debate tournament, September 2015

I belong with my childhood best friends. They know me for my best and my worst.  They’ve seen my weird phases and even joined in.  I belong with people who don’t judge me, no matter what.

IMG_0550
My 13th birthday, July 2011.

There is not one way to love.  Different people in life will love us in different ways, but each time it is just as valuable and just as important.  That love is a sign that we belong.

 

If you’re reading this and are struggling with feeling like you don’t have a place in this world, please know that isn’t true.  You have so many people who love you and appreciate you and with you belong with. They may not all be located in the same place, but they love and care about you.

 

If you ever feel alone and need someone to talk to you, reach out to me.  

 

What Do You Say to Taking Chances?

What Do You Say to Taking Chances?

I’ll admit, I like to play things safe.  I like to know the outcome before I throw the dice.  I don’t leap without looking. Everything in my life is perfectly planned out well in advance and I’m prepared for every situation.

Life doesn’t always stick to our plans though– it has its own ideas of what we should be doing.  

Sometimes, we have to be willing to throw the plans away and let life lead the way.

That’s what I learned one year ago, when on a whim, I applied for the Disney College Program.  I’ve often been asked why I applied– the answer is I don’t know. The summer before I applied, I told my parents I could never apply because it didn’t fit in my perfect plan I had for my college years and yet, when I sat down at my laptop last October and applied, that perfect plan didn’t seem to matter for a moment.

I never thought that I would get into the Disney College Program and then, I did.  I had three days to decide whether or not to continue on my planned road or to get off the beaten track.  Being someone who does not like risk, I can say that I shocked everyone, including me, when I made the decision to take a semester off of Georgetown to move to Orlando to intern with Disney.

I will always be grateful that I took that huge leap of faith.  Disney pushed me to be uncomfortable and try something completely new.  I had never worked a job like I did at Disney, I had never been so far away from my family, and I had never been in a city before where I knew absolutely no one.  This discomfort pushed me to grow as a person and I walked out in May with such a sense of clarity on who I was, what I wanted in my future, and what was important to me.

IMG_9558
It takes people to make the dream a reality -Walt Disney

None of that growth would have happened if I hadn’t taken the original risk of applying to this program and then choosing to pursue it.  I gained so many great experiences and an amazing support system while in Disney, and it is almost insane to think now that none of that would have happened if I had done what I usually do and stuck to the plan.  It had been a dream of mine forever, but I assumed it could only be just that: a dream.

 

Life’s best experiences happen when we don’t expect them and aren’t ready.  They require us to put down the to-do lists and life plans (yes, I actually had a document entitled life plan on my computer that mapped out the next five years of my life).  They ask that we have faith that everything will work out just fine. They only happen if we stop trying to plan the future and accept the unknown.

 

All we need for them to happen is a little bit of faith, trust, and a little bit of pixie dust.

 

DSC_0891
Who would have thought where my path would lead would be Walt Disney World? 
Finding Your Way Forward from a Friendship Break-Up

Finding Your Way Forward from a Friendship Break-Up

You thought you had a friend forever, but lately, you’ve been feeling otherwise.  Maybe you’ve been gradually growing apart from your friend or maybe you had a bad fight that’s making you question this friendship.  Whatever happened, you’re suddenly sad and confused and missing your support system. We’ve all been there. It’s a friendship break-up.

Society doesn’t treat friendship break-ups like it does romantic break-ups.  When you end a relationship, it’s ok to stay in bed for a week and eat nothing but chocolate.  When you end up a friendship, you’re supposed to keep moving like nothing is wrong even though you’re struggling because you’re missing an integral part of your support system.  I’ve been there.

 It’s not easy to get through.  Friends are the people we share everything with, from our screaming rants to our achievements and joys to our bitter break-downs.  We open up to them and show them us at our core, our most vulnerable.  When a friend chooses to walk away after having truly seen you, it feels like you’re going to fall apart entirely.  You won’t.  

Friendship break-ups hurt so much, but they are survivable.  I know how you feel and I have gotten through those low moments when suddenly, your whole world is changing.

So what do I do to get through my friendship breakups?

  • Take some time alone.  It’s ok if all you want to do is cry because you miss your friend.  Go ahead and cry.  Don’t be afraid to grieve your friendship.  Your friendship meant a lot to you– that doesn’t change over night.  Let yourself experience the hurt, don’t push it under the carpet– you’ll only end up feeling all those emotions later.  Take the time alone to process how you’re feeling and what you want to do going forward.  Maybe, you want to try to make up your friend or maybe, you just want to move on. Take the time you need to think it through and know that whatever decision you make, it will be okay.

 

  • Talk to another friend. Talking to a friend helps give some perspective.  I always try to talk to two different people: one who knows me and the friend who I’m having issues with and one who doesn’t know the other person.  Having the perspective of someone who knows me on my own and in reference to the friendship always helps me find clarity.   Additionally, whenever I go through a friendship break-up, I feel like I lost everyone, even if it’s only one person leaving my life.  Talking to friends reminds me that I’m not alone and I have people who love and support me still in my life.
  • Do a ‘self-care’ activity.  No matter how bad I feel, I feel better with a face mask on.  So, when I feel down- I do a face mask. Do something small that makes you happy- whether it’s baking cookies, painting your nails, or going to a yoga class.   It might seem silly, but when you feel down, you need to remind yourself that you deserve good treatment and are worthy of love from others and yourself.
  • When in doubt, Netflix binge. I’ve never had an emotional problem that can’t be better by watching Netflix.  My go-to show when I’m feeling down is Gilmore Girls. I always feel like Rory and Lorelai get where I’m at and that’s comforting.  I’m also a big fan of binging Disney movies and bad romantic comedies. Find what makes you feel good.

gilmore girls

  • Sleep. A recurring problem you’ll hear about on this blog is my tendency to cut hours of sleep in order to get more things done in a day.  This might be good for my academics, but it’s not so good for my emotional health. Everything feels better with some sleep- it gives you time process and heal.

 

Those are my five tips for getting through a friendship break-up but like always, it isn’t one size fits all.  Every friendship is different and every end is also different. No matter your situation, make sure you’re taking time for yourself and your feelings. Most importantly, remember:

Your friendship ending does not mean you are not a good or deserving person.  It means this specific friendship doesn’t work at this point in your life. It says nothing about the type of person you are.