As I sit in my family room with the fire crackling and Jayson roasting s'mores in the fireplace, I see how tall and mature he has gotten. It feels like he was just born the other day and that makes me think about how much has changed in the past year.
My dad was diagnosed with cancer, I took a 19 credit semester (probably not best decision I made freshman year) and failed Chemistry, and I burned some bridges. Despite these low points, a lot of good things came out of these events. My dad conquered his cancer, I retook Chemistry and got an A, and made some great friends.
We often focus on our problems and the future that along the way we forget to reflect on how beautiful life is. I have a wonderful place to call home. I have the freedom to an education and I love my school. I have supportive family and friends I wouldn't trade for the world. I live in a healthy body. I have a warm bed. The list goes on and on. We must take time to appreciate the small things. Remember, it is not happy people who are thankful; it is thankful people who are happy.
2013 was a year filled with lots of laughs and fun times with the best company. These photos capture some of the best moments from the past 365 days.
Janurary - I'm not a big fan of the cold but Penn State looks like a Winter Wonderland when it snows, which makes walks to class in negative degree weather a little nicer.
February - THON is the world's largest student run philanthropy in the world. We raise money year round, but for one weekend in February, kids have the opportunity to be a kid again. It's truly magical and something that must be experienced to understand the impact THON has on people. There are waterguns, bright waves of colors, dancing, music, and laughing. This year, we raised $12.3 million dollars for kids with cancer and in total have raised over $100 million dollars since 1973.
March - Jayson's face was priceless when he saw the cake I made for his 6th birthday!
April - The sun was coming out and flowers were blooming - spring always makes me so happy. I went to hockey formal with my friend. My brothers came up for Movin On, an all day musical festival my school puts on to celebrate the end of the year. The day Harrison turned 16, we got to see MGMT for free and it rocked.
May - Freshman year came to a close and I didn't want to leave a place where I had fallen in love with the school and people. If I could describe it in two words, it would be "shit show" in the best way possible. I finally had some more independence. I learned how to manage my time with classes. I made mistakes and learned from them. I may have had a little too much fun, but freshman year is all about finding a balance.
June - I saw Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeroes and it was awesome.
July - July was probably my favorite month. I saw The Maine and finally met John Oh. I visited my roommate and spent the day in Georgetown. I also met one of my first Buzzfriends, Raven. Finally, I ended the month celebrating my 19th birthday on the beach.
August - My friends and I explored Pittsburgh and found this Before I die wall. My little cousin spent the month with us. Harrison found a rope swing when the family spent the day fishing. I was reluctant of swinging because I didn't want to fall into the dirty water. They teased me throughout the day and I finally went on and fell in. Everyone, including myself, got a good laugh out of it. The photo on the right is of my mom.
September - I accomplished one of my resoultions and ran my first 5K - The Color Run! A 40 ft duck created by Florentijn Hoffman also came to Pittsburgh - it's hiding under the rainbow. Our baseball team, the Pirates, broke their strea of 20 losing seasons. I saw One Republic. Finally, I kicked organic chemistry in the ass and got my first 100% on a quiz. Hard work pays off!
October - Harrison came up to see Childish Gambino. We were front and center! Penn State beat Michigan in 4 overtimes. Homecoming games are my favorite because more than 107,000 fans are wearing white and screaming. The whole environment is like organized chaos.
November - My best friend, Nikol, came to visit and we saw Macklemore. He was a great performer with so much energy. It was definitely one of the best concerts I have ever been to. I'm in UNICEF at school and we were able to raise enough money to send Jaseem to another year of school and pay for all his supplies and uniform. I got an internship for the summer with the Food Bank. I'll be teaching kids about nutrition and healthy eating!
December - I checked off another resolution and made Dean's list with a 3.8!! All the stress and lack of sleep was worth it because Organic Chemistry is OVER. Hallelujah. This month, I have been catching up on sleep, eating cookies, and watching shows on Netflix by the fireplace as Jayson roasts s'mores.
I hope that 2014 is filled with lots of laughs, adventure, good food, and learning.