January 2, 2019

Reflecting on 2018 and Visions of 2019


 Hey everyone, it's 2019!

      I cannot believe that it is already 2019. As I am typing write now, I am sitting at my first real adult job, post-graduation (kinda, more on that later), in Chicago, IL, a beautiful view of the skyline to my left. Who would have thought that this is where I would be starting off the new year?

      2018 was a hell of a year for me, as I'm sure it was for a lot of you. It was full of anxiety and depression, but it was also filled with happiness and excitement.

      I started off 2018 in Costa Rica doing a study abroad program at La Salva Biological Station. It was one of the most amazing times of my life. I still can't believe I actually went on that trip and experienced all that I did. I also got to travel to NYC, my dream city, for a conference in March and although I was there for a short while, I loved (almost) every minute of it. I went to Oklahoma, a state I had never been to except in passing and got to experience an undergraduate research conference, and it was so cool to have witnessed all the research people my age are doing and represent my school's undergraduate research journal. And finally, I went on vacation with my two best friends to Chicago, the city where I now live. I had the time of my life seeing Hamilton and taking different tours. All in all, 2018 was a year of good travel, but in 2019 I have bigger plans for more travel.

      Just as there was good, there was bad. 2018 I had my junior and senior years crammed into 2 semesters, and that just about killed me. I graduated early (technically I get my degree January 18, but I'm done with school), something that really pushed my limits. I struggled so much with academia and finding my identity with it. I changed my career goals several times, and that shit gave me hella anxiety. I struggled with the MCAT, only to realize that path in life was not for me. I also came to terms with the fact that I needed a break from school. As much as I wanted to push ahead and power through grad school right after undergrad, I knew if I did that my mental health would go down in even deeper rabbit hole.

      So here I am at a new job that I absolutely love as I take a gap and focus on me. Me. That's something I've never really focused on before. Everything I've done as always been looking towards the future and at the bigger picture, but in doing so I've lost parts of myself along the way and forgotten who all this is for. As much as I would love to prosper and have everything in the future, that takes work, and that work is draining and kills a part of me. My immediate happiness and mental health is something I have struggled with for years and always pushed to the side because that was how I was raised. My father would say, "there is no such thing as self-esteem" and "you've got to have mental toughness" (how as a person with a psychology degree he thought saying these things was okay is besides me). I now realize how toxic those ideas are and that the only person who I really need to listen to is myself.

       I've got plans for this year. I plan on taking at least 1.5 years off before heading off to get a Ph.D, so I plan on making that time count.

      Traveling is one of the major reasons I'm taking time off. Going to Costa Rica filled me with an excitement that I've had such few times in my life, and I want that excitement more and more in my life. I'd like to go to Hawaii. I'd like to travel across Europe. I'd like to go to NYC again. I'd like to go on a cruise. All of those trips might not happen, but I would be happy if just one of them did.

      Being artistically creative is not something I go to do a lot as a science major. I miss that side of me. When I was in high school, I did drama, musical theater, orchestra, creative writing, and oh so much more. All of those things were the highlight of my days and I miss them more than I realized I did. While I can't do all of those things again, I'd like to start doing some of them. I'm having my violin sent to me so I can get back into the habit of playing that. I've got several WIPs that I'M GONNA FINISH DAMN IT. Me and my best friend who is now also my roommate are going to start a youtube channel and podcast that focus on our love for creating and watching film. I'd also like to get back into the habit of filming on my booktube channel, but not just about booktube stuff. And last but not least, I'd like to write more on this blog. While this started out as a booktube blog and will remain so, I'd also like to cover other things like I've mentioned before. I've dabbled in them in the past, but didn't get to really go through with them because of school and work, but now that I have the time, watch out, cause it's going to happen.

      If you're still reading this, thank you for taking the time out of your day to do so. I appreciate the fact that there are people out there that care about what I have to say. I guess all of this was just a long way of saying 2018 was a time. It was good, it was bad. But 2019, well I'd like it be more than just a time, and I hope you'll join me on that adventure.

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