It’s no secret that in many respects, 2017 has been kind of a dumpster fire of a year. However, for me personally, I found a lot of silver linings. In this blog entry, I decided to focus on all the good things that this year brought.
- I moved to Paris, where I lived from January 9th to May 13th. It was the most challenging, but ultimately rewarding experience. It’s really daunting to be able to pick up your life and move to a foreign country and not know anybody, but I did it!
- My anxiety kind of reached a breaking point during my initial move, and I was able to find the proper support to deal with that, specifically by seeing an English-speaking therapist and finding proper medication. One of the nice things about living in France is that socialized health care, y’all! I paid a grand total of 2 EUROS for a prescription. 2 EUROS! I paid for a prescription with a COIN!!!!!! America, get on this!!!!
- I ate SO MUCH DELICIOUS FOOD. My diet was essentially baguettes, hummus from Marks and Spencer, Nutella crepes, and maybe a lentil salad once in a while. And lots of wine. Oh, how I miss that cheap wine.
- I went to museums galore! I love art museums a lot, which you know if you saw the interests I listed in my blogger bio.
- Speaking of museums, my random choice to visit the Palais de Tokio on one of my days off led to me inadvertently crashing a fashion week event, where I saw both Anna Wintour and Grace Coddington. Unfortunately, this was also the day I decided to go out with my unwashed hair in a messy bun and put zero effort into my appearance, so this did not lead to any modeling contracts.
- I met great people that I still keep in touch with! Two of the friends I made in Paris, Gabby and Regina, even came to visit me in Oberlin a few weeks ago!
- I got to travel a lot! I went to Nice, Bordeaux, London, Prague, Amsterdam, Brussels, and Berlin! I had been to London and Nice before, but the rest of the cities were new to me. I think Berlin might have been my favorite. It had a grimy and youthful vibe, not unlike O(berlin).
- I felt like a more confident and capable person when I left Paris. I honestly did not think I was going to be able to live there for 4 months. But I did it, and at the end, I could have honestly lived there for 4 more months. Being able to explore Paris on my own and not have that much schoolwork was a dream! Also, now I'm living in New York for Winter Term, and living in Paris definitely made that less of an adjustment.
- I got to express my political outrage via my summer internship with NARAL Pro-Choice Texas. It was cool to be able to go to protests and help plan events, after feeling helpless watching all of this political nonsense unfold from afar.
- Because of this, I traveled to Austin to protest Governor Abbott calling a special session. I was very close to Wendy Davis during her speech, and I also got to meet her for a second time! I told her she was the first person I ever voted for, and she gave me a hug and told me not to give up. You can't beat one of your heroes telling you that.
- I finally got to move up from dorm living. Now I'm living on Union Street with friends, and it feels nice to be able to have a big bathroom, a double bed, a kitchen, and a TV. It has definitely improved my mental health not to be trapped in a tiny room for hours. It's nice that I don't have to rely on CDS all the time, and I can easily cook myself some pasta or scrambled eggs, instead of having to leave the house.
- Liz Phair and I are now friends, by which I mean she once replied to one of my tweets and liked another one.
- I really really enjoyed all my classes and professors this year. It feels really good to be intellectually stimulated and to really care about what you're learning. As a reminder, the classes I took were Introductory Astronomy, LGBT Identities, Constitutional Interpretation, and Racial Politics in a Post Obama Era.
- I especially did well in Introductory Astronomy! I really enjoyed the class, and I was so nervous because I am terrible at math and my other QFR was awful. BUT I understood what was going on and liked what I was learning. On one of the tests, I got EVERY SINGLE MATH QUESTION RIGHT which has not happened to me since elementary school probably. Like, I am so bad at math, I got a 58 on my precalculus final my senior year of high school. That's a failing grade! (But it was my last high school final ever, and I knew I could fail it and still get a B- in the class, plus Oberlin was only a summer away, so really, who would care?)
- I just got my grades, which were mostly As with one B+! A friendly reminder that your grades are NOT an indicator of your self-worth. However, I really worked my butt off this semester, especially this finals week, so it feels really validating that I did so well.
- I got to see a lot of friends over winter break, and I spent a lot of time hanging with my mom.
- Our kumquat tree was blooming, so I got to eat some kumquats!
All in all, a bad year for humanity, but a good year for me personally. I'm not trying to pretend that it was great 365 days of the year or that I didn't have bad things happen to me, but I think it can be healthy to focus on the positives. It's scary that 2018 is my last year at Oberlin and after that I will have to figure out what to do with my life, but I don't feel like thinking about that for a while.