2016 has been one of the most memorable years of my life thus far and not just because it’s the most recent. This year I turned 18, graduated from high school, entered college, had a whirlwind relationship, stumbled into the Y Leaders family and Bonner family, really took off with this blog (almost at 16k!), developed so many wonderful friendships, and made so many memories!
High school was truly one of the best experiences I had. I found who I am and now that I’m at Rollins, I’m cultivating and nurturing that. From having the best teachers at Woburn High to the #1 custodian (Lee, you’re the man), I couldn’t have been more blessed. To say that that chapter is officially done and over, that in 2017, high school will be an official memory, is really sad. From senior activities like prom to graduation, everything was so emotional.
Speaking of prom, that was definitely a highlight. I never wrote an official blog on it because I was swept away with graduation and my birthday, but prom was an event alright. My date drove up from out-of-state and we (along with our friends + Mama Nguyen) took a trip to Toronto after to celebrate my 18th. Everything was perfect and I couldn’t have imagined any other way to spend prom. Thanks to my best friends for getting me a prom shout out (#Pam) for my birthday.
As summer went on, I became more and more active with my Y Leaders club. We joined Neil and the Mobility Project to create a safe and neutral space for teens to hang out and build relationships with caring adults. The effort is aimed at forming responsible relationships to prevent young adults from straying their path and reinforce positive characteristics and habits. It’s still in the process, but we got the ball rolling and had so many meetings. To end the summer, Isabel (one of my best friends that I grew so close to in 2016), and I went to the YMCA Northeast Leaders School (NELS).
NELS is probably one of my greatest highlights this year. I had a group of people that in all honesty did not really mesh well at the beginning. We were tough to work with and weren’t all in it, but as the week progressed, we became a family. I got really close to some of the people in my group and at NELS, and still text some of them. Actually, I had a Christmas Party a few days ago and reunited with a few of my favorites.
I have never been in such an inclusive environment, so full of love and hugs. Everyone is so talented (that’s a nod to you Ryan), so loving and supportive (and a nod to Allie, one of our leaders), so full of life (that’s a huge nod to Jake, Ryan, Isabel, Hammer, Nicole, Rachel, and Lauren).The leaders are passionate and are full. I always feel so uplifted in a room of them. It’s funny how we see each other only a few times a year at rallies and fall in love with one another each time, over and over again. I’m blessed.
Of course, though, I wouldn’t be in Leaders if it weren’t for the YMCA. The North Suburban YMCA, is honest to God, the largest contributing factor to my identity. DaLonn, Maggie, Bobby, Bethany, and so many more people have been such strong influences in who I am. When I walk into the Y, I feel at home, always.
And now I’m at college!!!! When I was a little girl, I always dreamed of what college would be like. I never thought I would end up at Rollins and boy it has been a huge adventure. When I decided on Rollins, it was a combination of the Bonner program, the scholarship, and the similarity to Stanford that I chose it for. As I graduated and waited to head down to Florida, I couldn’t really picture what it would be like. I was so unsure and at first, I loved Rollins!! Then I hit a slump and seriously looked into transferring, thinking that there wasn’t enough to keep me in Winter Park. I thought about how I wanted more, but I wasn’t looking in the right places. I met some wonderful people, formed unbreakable bonds, and cannot stop bragging about my experience. I’m still a little bit skeptical of how long I’ll stay at Rollins, but right now in this moment, I feel secure in calling it home.
I’ve made a home in the tiniest dorm room of the largest freshman dorm with my roommate Lya, who honestly is one of the most incredible and funny people that I’ve ever met. Her eyes are big and round and twinkling, just like her heart. I come to Lya for a hug, a pick-me-up, advice, and everything in between. Our room has an open door and is always hosting our friends for moments between classes, Ohuhu time (everyone needs an Ohuhu), or even our RA Kolten for breakfast blend coffee.
Late night essay writing, feasts on our floor, yoga in the middle of the room, my naps on the blue rug, stress cleaning (#RIPFoxMug) and so much more have crafted my new “home” in college. (Rest in peace to that blue shag rug, you will be missed, but not really.)
Though I’ve checked off a lot of life goals this year (graduating from high school, entering into college), I’ve also formed a lot of friends that I believe will be a great part of my life forever and have helped me grow a lot.
Old friends that I walked into 2016 with like Philippa, Tim, Sterling, Aaron, Edwin, Matt, David, Emma, Justine, and Isabel have stood strong by my side and are still my best friends to this day. I love you guys and can’t wait to walk into 2017 with you.
New friends that joined me this year from Leaders like Jake, Lauren, Nicole, Tucker, Evan, Hammer, Nick, Rosie, Ryan, Michael, and oh my goodness there are so many of you that I can’t even call of our names out. Question of the day: how in love am I with you?
New friends that joined me this year from Rollins: Lya, Zephyr, Bella, Kristine, Kenzie, Maddie, Maura, McKenna, Dean, Caitlin, Max, Justin, Sunny, Sebastian, Cameron, Robyn, Nana, Megan, Yasha, Peter, Sara, Kevin, James, and oh my goodness so so so many people I love. Thank you for dealing with all of my nonsense. I love you guys. So much.
I can’t even handle how much my happiness my heart has right now. I have so many memories like slow dancing in my living room a few days ago or getting Krispy Kreme after someone vomited on me when I had to write a 6 page paper or climbing a mountain in Toronto or jamming to Rascal Flatts in the car at night or skyping until 3am or crying about how there are not enough puppies in my arms or getting serenaded in the library when it wasn’t even my birthday or being *literally* swept off my feet or singing for my food or…There are so many memories!!!!!!!!!!! I can’t wait till I can make even more next year with all of you!! Bless you!! I love you guys so much!!!
Also a big thank you to Mama Nguyen and all of my family for supporting me this year. It’s been a long one full of obstacles and trials, but at the end of every day, you are there for me through and through. I’m blessed to have such a large family, blood or bound. ❤