Day 365/365. 2019, you’ve been one helluva year – from starting my doctorate (TWICE), to our first vacation by ourselves, and all the ups and downs in between. 2019 my words for you would be change, resilience, and love, so so much love. Thank you all for sticking around to watch my journey and interacting with me like you do. Y’all bring me so much joy.
I’ve documented this year through this blog and my instagram. So, instead of a yearly recap I wanted to do a review on this past decade.
These three years were all a blur. I spent all of my free time dancing, from high school varsity dance team to competitive dance company and our ballet company for The Nutcracker every year. Most of my high school memories are flooded with dance. This was the year I started to learn how to drive and fun fact: I learned how to drive a manual (stick shift). That’s still my preferred way to drive.
In the summer of 2011 I had a really bad hip injury that landed me at Walter Reed National Hospital to see a hip specialist. That’s where I had the experience with wounded warriors that changed the trajectory of my life forever and I started on the path that I’m on now. I turned 16 this year. As my big 16th birthday gift I came home from a football game to find my dream car (manual 3 series BMW) in the driveway with a big purple and gold bow.
This was the year I took AP Psychology and a high school professor almost squashed my dreams of being a psychologist. I disliked my psychology course so much in fact that I debated changing my major. Then, I went to dozens of college visits to decide where I would call home for the following four years. This was also the beginning of my senior year, which marked the beginning of the end of my high school chapter.
Graduated high school! Then I started my undergraduate career at Marymount University and finally turned 18 (at the end of the year). I learned how to live on my own, had a great roommate, and made many friends I’m still close with today. Earlier this year I thought I would be finished with dance forever. But, I made my university dance team and was able to make even more dance memories. I actually decided to attend this specific university because of a singular professor and by the end of the fall semester I had worked up enough courage to ask her about research opportunities.
This summer I studied abroad in Kenya, which kicked off my research of chimpanzees with PTSD. If there was anywhere I want to go back in the next 10 years it would be Kenya. There’s nowhere else like it. I went on a cruise with my family TWICE this year and I began working at Michael Kors. That combined with my friends who were in the fashion merchandising program kick started my love of fashion.
This was a huge year for me as an academic. I presented my research AS FIRST AUTHOR (y’all in academia know how major this is) at the EPA. A few months later I presented another research presentation with a classmate that I have learned so much from and I am so lucky to know (we won first place). I also traveled to Memphis, TN to support a dear friend audition for So You Think You Can Dance. In between I was working, dancing at basketball games and competitions, and continuing my research.
At the end of the spring semester I ended my chapter of dance when I decided not to return to my college dance team. At my last competition I received third place overall out of 22 soloists, it was my first time competing a solo. This was also the year that I met Dr. Jane Goodall at DAR Constitution Hall and had an opportunity to talk to her about my research. Over the summer I went back to Europe for the first time since I was 13 and I spent every waking moment with my cousins. We ended the year in Florida for a family vacation.
THE BIG 21!! The year I was waiting so long for. Started off the year competing on the debate team! Then went on my first spring break alone with my friends on a cruise. If there’s anything I suggest to y’all, it’s to travel with your friends at least once – you’ll have memories and stories you’ll cherish forever. This was also the year that Zach and I started talking! We’ve talked every single day since.
Before the spring semester was over I was chosen with two other classmates to complete our internship as instructors of a psychology research course. It was one of the highest honors for me to be nominated and then selected and it turned into one of the most rewarding internships I had ever done. Over the summer I studied abroad for a second time, this time in Spain. Again doing research with chimpanzees with PTSD. I also began research with my professor in collaboration with Beagle Freedom Project (we were finding ways to classify beagle behavior as PTSD from prior lab research testing). I went on one of the most amazing trips of a lifetime with my cousin and a good friend, for 3 MONTHS. We hopped from place to place in Europe and I still day dream about it.
When I came back I decided to go blonde for a few months. I learned how the south does football and went with my best friend to a South Carolina Gamecocks game. In December we traveled to Lake Tahoe for a family friend’s wedding and then we flew to Europe to buy our apartment!! We had it built and was able to see it go from start to finish!
The year Zach and I officially started dating! My mom’s family flew from Europe to surprise her for her birthday. I found I had a love for teaching and I competed with the debate team for my second and final time. We went on a family spring break trip to Disney World to watch my sister compete and Zach and I went down to Savannah, GA to visit his sister and her (now Fiance) for St. Patrick’s Day. Later in the spring Zach and I also made our way up to Massachusetts to visit with my Dad’s side of the family.
I graduated from college with my major in psychology and a minor in forensic psychology. Zach and I decided to add a furry friend to our family and we got Zlato! Then we traveled for the first time together to Europe. When we returned I started my masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and I started my full time job with the government.
Zach and I moved into our first apartment! I was a bridesmaid in my college best friend’s wedding, Zach turned 21(we celebrated with his family in Las Vegas) and we added Lovro to our family! We went down to Savannah for the second time for St. Patrick’s Day. The Capitals won the Stanley Cup and I watched with both of my sistas (mine and Zach’s) in the heart of DC. Zach and I had our photos taken professionally for the first time (our photographer was Sarah Earp – her website is linked here) and I decided to start my blog!
I traveled to Europe with my family for my cousin’s wedding and had a mini Euro Tour with my little sister (our first solo sister trip). Then we had another professional photo shoot (with Marissa Rose – her website is linked here) and we traveled to South Carolina to have a thanksgiving trip with Zach’s family.
I had a job change and started working with children who are differently abled as a behavior therapist. At the end of the year I was notified that I had been accepted to the Doctorate of Psychology clinical psychology program at Argosy. Right before Christmas we went up to NYC for a quick trip with my mom’s best friends.
2019 started as a whirlwind with a split second decision to drive cross-country to Arizona to visit my grandparents. I started my program and a few weeks later we drove to Canada to watch my cousin compete in speed skating! Argosy collapsed but we persevered and continued at TCSPP! My dear friends from Europe came to visit me in D.C., Zach and I started playing tennis, and we went on our first solo trip as a couple – our cruise! Zach’s sister got engaged and she asked me to be a bridesmaid!
We went to a Hootie & the Blowfish concert (our fav) and we had our photos taken professionally again (I have a whole post dedicated to these). I started substitute teaching in my free time and ended the academic year with straight A’s! In the fall I traveled up to Massachusetts two weekends in a row (the second time Zach was able to come), I explored Boston, and watched my cousin marry the love of his life! We ended out our year back in Arizona to visit my grandparents and to go back to California to visit where we used to live (with a pit stop at the grand canyon).
2020 I can’t wait to see what you have in store.