Sunday, January 1, 2017

2016 In Review

Long time no see, friends! I know I've been a bit MIA in the blogosphere lately. At the beginning of the school year, I had such grand plans to keep posting a couple times a week, but as the semester continued on and grew progressively crazier, those plans quickly fell by the wayside. My semester was pretty intense, with never-ending reading and papers (#litmajorlife), work, friends, personal stuff, and other commitments. Needless to say, it's been lovely to be on Christmas break these past couple weeks (with another week yet to go!), resting, spending time with family and friends, and celebrating Christmas.

With Christmas break, of course, comes New Year's! I cannot even believe that 2016 is over. So much happened in my life in 2016 ~ exciting things, joyful things, challenging things, painful things. I learned and grew in more ways than I can describe. I met so many people and made so many new friends who have deeply impacted my life. I gained so many new life experiences. I learned more about who I am and who I want to be. 2016 was a hard year in some respects, but an awesome one in so many others.

2017 is going to be a big year for me, and I'm a little nervous but mostly excited to see where it will take me. All I know is that I'm graduating from college in May, and, God willing, starting grad school in the fall. Those are some pretty significant life changes right there... but beyond them I have no idea what 2017 holds for me. I'll just have to let God take the lead and show me the path he has laid out for me ~ and I know it will be incredible.

As we ring in 2017, let's take a look back at the highlights of this past year and all the memories 2016 gave me. Here's my 2016 in review...


January

Last January I was privileged to meet Dr. Gianna Emmanuella Molla, the daughter of St. Gianna Berretta Molla for whom the saint gave her life. It was incredible to have the opportunity to meet her and hear her story ~ and to hear her talk about her "saint mama."


February

February was fairly uneventful besides fun times with friends at school, which are always a treasure. I also made some big changes to the blog, including installing my current theme (which I love) and purchasing my domain!

March

March consisted of more fun times with friends and going home for spring break and Easter. I also took this photo of one of my favorite Florida sunsets of the year:


April

In April, I finished my literature thesis, which was a huge accomplishment ~ and I even won an award for it! My professor gave me the award for most well-written paper, and this was my prize (I was only a little bit excited):


May

May was a fun month. I finished my junior year of college, then stuck around Florida for an extra week to do the lab portion of my summer environmental science class. I got to go on an airboat ride, wade through a swamp, hold an alligator, and do several other cool things. (I blogged about my fun lab experiences in this post and this post.)


June

June was a pretty chill month spent at home in Michigan, hanging out with family and friends. A couple highlights included going to Cedar Point with my cousins and getting my new glasses.


July

On July 3, I departed for France and proceeded to spend 5 weeks in Europe! I went to France (Toulouse, Paris, Mont St. Michel, Lisieux, Lourdes, and a few small towns), Poland (Oswiecim, Wadowice, and Krakow), Prague, and World Youth Day in Krakow. This trip was definitely my biggest highlight of 2016. Words can hardly describe how much I grew, learned, enjoyed myself, was challenged, and was changed on this trip. You can read all about it in these posts:

I'm Home from Europe - and I am Forever Changed
5 Things World Youth Day Taught Me
Instagram Roundup: Europe Edition
Random Observations about Europe (after Spending 5 Weeks There)
What I Learned about Pilgrimage on My Trip to Europe
Highlights of Europe: Prague
Highlights of Europe: Paris
Highlights of Europe: Lisieux



August

I was still in Europe until August 8, then I finally came home to the good old U.S. Later in August, my family went on a fun weekend vacation to Mackinac Island, MI before I headed back to school. (You can read all about it in this post.)


September

By September, I was back at school for my senior year of college. (Crazy, I know.) It was a month full of school, friends, and fun.


October

On October 3, I celebrated my 21st birthday! I had a great birthday (besides writing a paper all day) and an even better birthday weekend, when I went out with friends and my family came to visit.


Later in October, three of my best friends and I went to Daytona Beach, FL for fall break. It was the most refreshing, relaxing, and fun weekend ever (and one that certainly made for some great memories).


Then to conclude October, some friends and I dressed up as a construction crew for Halloween, which was great fun (and made for literally the comfiest costume ever).


November

The highlight of November was going to my cousin's wedding in Nashville, and then heading home early for Thanksgiving break. My cousin's wedding was beautiful, not to mention an absolute blast!


December

December consisted of a stressful but also fun last two weeks of the semester, going to a dear friend's wedding in Atlanta, and then heading home for Christmas break! All beautiful, all fun, and all definitely highlights.


Top Blog Posts

These were my top 10 blog posts from 2016 ~ my posts with the highest number of pageviews. Thanks for being part of my blogging journey this year!
  1. 7 Websites Every College Student Should Use
  2. Tips for Buying and Breaking In Birkenstocks
  3. The Perfect Study Playlist for Getting Stuff Done
  4. The Best Study Method for Boosting Your Productivity
  5. Summer Capsule Wardrobe
  6. 21 Things You Didn't Know about Me
  7. 5 Guidelines to Help You Decide Whether to Transfer Schools
  8. On Waiting
  9. Tips for Staying Focused and Engaged in Class
  10. The Versatile Blogger Award: 7 Fun Facts about Me

And that's a wrap!

Thanks for all the memories, 2016. Here's to an amazing 2017!

Happy New Year, friends!

Sincerely,
~Stephanie

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