A Farewell to 2016


It has become a sort of tradition for me to write an end-of-the-year blog post. All in all, 2016 sucked. You know it. I know it. We all know it. It was a year of heartbreak and terrorism and protest and disappointment and drastic changes. It was a tough year with a lot of negativity. But I don’t want to dwell on that. That’s not what the holiday time is about. So, I am going to focus on the positive – the positive both in my life and the world around me.

Me: Starting off, I rang in the New Year of 2016 in Toronto with some of my best friends. We achieved our dream of going to The Lockhart – a Harry Potter themed bar in Toronto, sang Hail to the Victors at midnight, and argued over anything and everything like we always do. Ah, so much hope at the beginning of the year. I had never been to Canada, so this was a check off the ol’ bucket list for me.

World: In January, this year took a huge plummet downwards with the loss of stars David Bowie and Alan Rickman. As a life-long Harry Potter fan, Rickman’s death really struck a chord in my heart, and I was deeply saddened. But, in the light of these tragedies, my social media was filled with hope and love – outpouring love, and I was reminded how strong the Potter community is. I hadn’t felt that love in a long time, and it was refreshing and heartwarming.

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Me: For Spring Break this year, my best friend and I took a 6-day road trip to Louisiana together. Being able to show her around my hometown, my school, my favorite restaurants, etc. was so exciting and I absolutely loved having her meet all my friends from high school. It was such a cool way for me to show her the other side of me she never gets to see in Michigan. Not to mention, we got to eat and drink and be merry in New Orleans. We even stayed in a really cool mansion hotel while we were there.

World: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter opened in Hollywood in April. That’s pretty sweet. (Do all of my happy moments of this year revolve around Harry Potter? Quite possibly) —- Okay, fine. Also in April, California signed a bill to raise their minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2022. Positive change!!!!

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Me: The spring time was craziness for me – experiencing loss and struggle with school, losing my pet dog of 11+ years and hard times in the lives of some of my closest friends. Despite all of this, I was able to visit my best friend at Purdue and attend the Holi fest there. It was a great vacation away from the madness. I also was chosen to be one of the co-directors for Camp Kesem at the University of Michigan for the 2016-17 year.

World: Cleveland won the NBA title in June. That was awesome for Cleveland, I guess. We also had a huge win for the fight for net neutrality in June!

Me:  I had a really awesome internship in Detroit this summer at an organization called Alternatives for Girls. I was able to experience a side of Social Work that I had never experienced before, and I learned so much. My eyes were opened to so many new things from the girls I worked with, and I truly enjoyed every day I was able to work there. I was also able to have a lot of cool experiences with friends, and I traveled to DC for a weekend to see some friends who had moved away!

World: A new Harry Potter book came out!!!!! (Sorry, I didn’t want to disappoint on the Potter trend) Other than that, the summer kind of sucked – with Brexit, the Orlando Pulse club massacre, police violence, the GOP convention, etc. — BUT Michelle Obama summed it up nicely when she said at the DNC, “When they go low, we go high.” (defining a lot of the rest of the election season). Michael Phelps also became the “most decorated Olympian in history”

Me: Becca and I rang in the beginning of our year as co-directors of Camp Kesem with another incredible year of camp. Despite the madness of camp (especially being on the admin side of things), it was honestly the best year yet. There were so many memories made that I will cherish forever. I also got to achieve a life-long dream of seeing Coldplay in concert!!

World: Everything started going more downhill as the election time picked up…but Bob Dylan won the Nobel Prize. That was cool.

Me: I turned 21 in Lafayette with some of my best friends and watched my best friend get married. Can’t get much better than that. I cried a lot. There are probably a lot of professional photographs of me crying to come.

World: Sorry – I don’t think I can be very positive about the world during these months. Brangelina got divorced. Trump won the presidency. I just don’t know. There were a lot of tears (not about Brangelina). What I can say – we have our first Indian American senator and the Cubs won the World series.

OH WAIT – A NEW HARRY POTTER MOVIE CAME OUT! DID I MENTION THAT?

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Me: And in the close of this year – I finished up the year attending my favorite weekend, the Camp Kesem National Summit, at our camp in Fenton, Michigan. My chapter raised over $26,000 for our kids in one day on Giving Tuesday. I finished my hardest semester of all time of 18 credit hours. I watched my last Michigan football home game as a student. I toured the Big House with my friends and reminisced on my four years here – oh wait…I WAS ACCEPTED TO THE #1 SOCIAL WORK SCHOOL IN THE COUNTRY! Possible 2 more years in the best city to come 😉

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World: This last month sucked. A lot of celebrity deaths. The bombings in Syria have only gotten worse – more gruesome and fatal. Despite this, there were some wins. Fidel Castro died, marking the end to a symbol of abused power. The war on marijuana is ending – with more than half of states making the substance legal. Overall, despite the hatred and disappointment of the events of 2016, there was a lot of love, a lot of hope, a lot of positive change. There is hope for the future of our world, and I believe in this hope.

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Hey, You Made It


To the kid who is “always so happy” who spends his nights crying himself to sleep,

            You made it.

To the girl who thought she could not live without him

            You made it.

To the mom who didn’t think she could support her baby without him there

            You did it.

To the boy sitting in school in a uniform skirt because everyone tells him he’s a girl because that’s what is on his birth certificate

            You made it.

To the girl who had to wear a long-sleeve shirt everyday so her parents wouldn’t see her scars

            You made it.

To the college student who wants to go hang out with his friends more than anything in the world, but he is too afraid he will have a panic attack at the party

            You made it.

To you: the kid standing on the edge of the cliff, tottering between life and death

            You did it.
            You made it this far.
            You are so strong.
            You are incredible.
            And you are not alone.

To those who have never felt any of the above things

            You are blessed
            You are loved.
            You are strong.
            You made it.

To you, whoever you are: you made it. You made it through another year even if there were times you swore you weren’t going to, and I am so proud of you. You are not alone. You can make it through another year. I believe in you and I love you.

On Cabbage, Black-Eyed Peas & Resolutions


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The black-eyed peas (the food, not the band) are on the stove, the champagne glasses are ready and the TV is constantly on Anderson Cooper’s New Year’s Eve show. This year is ending and I am so ready for 2015. As I said in my last post, I’ve never been one to make a big deal about New Year’s. I take it as an opportunity for reflection on how I am at the end of the year – what did I improve from last year? What do I need to work on in the coming year? Every year, I would write down a few notes in my journal – goals of how to develop, quit bad habits, start new habits, etc. Writing these ideas down makes me feel a little more committed to them. So this year, I’m going to take it a step further and publish them on the Internet! Oh goody!

I hope as you’re trying to think about your 2015, my goals can help you out. So, here we go!! (This begins where I start talking to myself…I apologize)

  • Healthy Habits – It seems this always gets put on this list, and at the end of every year I realize I didn’t really get any better at any of it.
    • Eat better! – Avocados are your favorite food…can it be that hard? Also, you work at a smoothie café – take advantage of that.
    • Exercise! – You used to be so in shape! Remember that? Yeah, me either. One day you aren’t going to have a free gym membership within walking distance of your house and you will regret these missed opportunities. It also makes you a lot less anxious when you exercise.
    • Quit all the bad habits! – No fast food! It’s just so bad for you. Please stop. Go to sleep at a decent time! There is nothing on Tumblr that cannot wait until the weekend. Write more often. Read more often. Take time for yourself more often. It’s not only good to lie down and chill for 20 minutes, but it’s necessary. Your Spanish homework can be patient.
  • Bank the Benjamins – You’re 19 years old and drowning in so much debt that you only just now realized you never learned how to swim. Translation: Stop spending on ridiculous things
    • Stop online shopping. It’s okay to buy yourself something every now and then, but you don’t need another Harry Potter book (you know, unless they come out with new covers ❤ ) or t-shirt that you will never wear.
    • That paycheck you get every other week? Put a portion in your savings account. Before you know it, you’ll have enough to actually pay for all those trips you want to go on, or all those books you want to buy.
    • Make a budget each month and stick to it!! Keep track of your spending. It’ll teach you a lot.
  • Snatch the Memories – You’re traveling a lot this year – keep track of it!! Take photos. Write about each place you go. Buy a postcard or some other cheap souvenir from each place you go to keep forever!
  • Yes, No – Maybe? – Start making decisions that will benefit you. Start to say yes to things you may not normally say yes to! Learn to say no to things that are not benefitting you.
    • When in Rome – Literally. You’re going to be spending a month in Europe this summer. You will have opportunities to do things you will never have the opportunity to do again. Do them.
  • Love yourself – Go easy on yourself. Stop caring so much about what other people think. You are you and you make your own choices about your life. You want to be the person you enjoy being, not the one someone else says you need to be. 

There are honestly a billion more things I need to work on this year, but these are a few I am going to be focusing on. What are your resolutions for 2015? Leave them in the comments below! I would love to hear them!

 Best wishes and a Happy New Year!

Farewell to 2014: Reflections and Memories


It’s approaching that time again – 2014 is coming to a close and 2015 is right around the corner. I’ve never been one to make a big deal over New Year’s. I never really enjoyed going to the parties or counting down until midnight. Despite this, I have always been one for reflection. I enjoy looking back on how I changed, improved, struggled, grew and whatnot over the year. 2014 has been crazy.

[Note: This is sort of like a scrapbook, so there are lots of photos along with the reflections. 🙂 Hope you enjoy them]

I cannot believe that I’ve been in college for a year and a half now. Sometimes it still feels like I’m just on a really long vacation or in a dream and I’ll wake up and be back in Louisiana in high school. Then I pinch myself and realize that it’s real.

This past year I took classes that I loved, and helped me to find my passion. I went to the Quidditch World Cup in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina with my team, where me made it to the bracket of sixteen! 

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I worked an incredible internship with an amazing team of bilingual therapists in North Carolina. I went to a private event at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter’s Diagon Alley expansion in Orlando and was able to achieve my every childhood dream of riding the Hogwarts Express to Hogwarts with my best friends.

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I traveled to San Francisco, and spent an incredible week there with my family. I absolutely fell in love with the city.

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I spent my first year as a counselor at Camp Kesem and met the most amazing college students and kids I have ever met in my life. Since camp, I’ve had the incredible opportunity to serve on the Coordinator Board with some unbelievable people. 

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I moved into a house with people I now consider my second family. This family has helped me so much during this extremely difficult semester.

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I saw a ton of my favorite bands in concert (The Fray and 1D for life!)

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I went to an event in New Jersey where I met some of the most inspiring creators on the Internet, engaging in activities with them and the community.

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I started working a job that I am actually really enjoying. I have never felt so involved with a cohesive team of co-workers as I do here. I helped my chapter of The Harry Potter Alliance to give away over 20,000 books for free to people in the Detroit community.

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That’s only a few of the amazing things I’ve had the opportunity to experience this year. Despite all of these incredible things, it has been a pretty difficult year as well. My mother was still fighting breast cancer, going through treatments all spring and summer. My classes were a lot harder this semester than they were my freshman year. I was incredibly busy juggling school, work, the three organizations I’m involved in, and trying to fit eating and actually socializing in between all of that. The stress sometimes brought out the worst in me, and I don’t like that. Through this, I learned ways to help my anxious mind, and to channel my sadness into activities on my bad days. This year taught me a lot about myself, my passions and goals, my strengths and weaknesses, and my worth.

I can’t wait to have all of 2015 for even more learning experiences, discoveries, journeys and adventures. I bid you farewell 2014, but you will now only live in Instagram photos, tweets and memories.