2017: My Year In Review

2017: My Year In Review

A year full of ups and downs, but plenty of lessons learned in the process.
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As another year comes to a close yet again, I only thought it would be acceptable to write about what has happened in my life during the last 12 months. I know everyone says this, but I cannot believe how fast this past year has gone. It seems like yesterday it was just beginning, and now as I am writing this it is one week away from Christmas. It's not a joke when your parents say that time flies, so make sure to take in life every single day and appreciate every second of it while you can.

Let's take it all the way back to January, I was starting my last semester of undergrad at FGCU. It still amazes me that I graduated back in May with my Bachelor's Degree in Psychology, but I am very proud of myself for never giving up and pushing through even when I was drowning in school work. Hard work definitely pays off in the end and now I am extremely excited to begin my graduate program in the fall of 2018.

I also did a lot of traveling and exploring this past year which was very beautiful and breathtaking. In June, I was thankful enough to travel across the pond with my mom and grandma to France! I had been dreaming of going to the city of Paris ever since I was a little kid and my dreams finally came true. I was lucky enough to spend 10 days overseas embracing the new culture of northern and southern France and it was one of, if not the best, experiences of my life. I can't wait to go back to Paris again to spend even more time there in the future.

I took this past year off of school since I just graduated I felt as though I needed a break to relax my brain since I have always been enrolled in classes since I can remember. So, I was way more focused on my job and my volunteering opportunity with Crisis Text Line. Back in October, I traveled by myself for the first time ever and flew to Atlanta for one of the best weekends to have a meet up with my Crisis Text Line family. Although I was quite anxious about it at first, it ended up turning out to be an amazing time and I made friends with fellow crisis counselors from all over the United States. It was great to finally be able to put faces to the names of those I converse with regularly on our platform when we are helping others. I can't wait for next years palooza!

I know there are probably WAY more things that took place over the last 12 months, but those are just a few of the top ones I felt were worth sharing since sometimes I feel like I am not doing enough, but I think that's normal amongst everyone. Maybe this will inspire some of you to take time to recognize what you accomplished this past year, you may even be surprised with what you discover.

2017 was full of many ups and downs, but I would never trade any of those experiences because they have all made me stronger as a result. I think I was able to fully acknowledge what I want from my life and what I don't. Whether it has to do with my friendships, relationships, education, or career and I am very proud of myself for putting my feelings first and taking care of my own needs more so than worrying about everyone else's. My hope is that this continues throughout the new year and I wish you all for a great, happy and healthy new year. Cheers!

Cover Image Credit: Brooke Tominey

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12 Gifts To Give Your Girlfriend On Valentine's Day

All of these gift ideas will for sure win over your girlfriend's heart this year!
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To all the last-minute gift givers of Valentine's Day:

Don't panic. While I know how stressful it can be to get the perfect gift for your significant other, there are so many gift ideas that people always forget as an option. The best part about Valentine's day is not the gifts you get, but rather the romantic time you get to spend with your loved one. So don't worry about how expensive the gift is, just worry about how much thought you put into it. If you are still stuck on a gift to buy for your girlfriend, here are 12 ideas to get the ball rolling for you:

1. Chocolate



Chocolate is every woman's best friend. It also can be your wallet's best friend for this Valentine's Day season. A box of chocolate can warm your girlfriend's heart for a low price.

Buy a box on Amazon.


2. Flowers



Flowers. Another common, but romantic gift for your girlfriend. Get creative with it. Throw rose pedals all over the bed, or hand her a giant bouquet all at once. Either way I am sure she will love it.

Buy them on Amazon.


3. Giant Teddy Bear



This is a gift that I always found so adorable. While it can be obnoxious to purchase and carry around, the look on your girlfriend's face when she sees it will make it all worth it. She can cuddle the bear when you're not around. ;)

Buy one on Amazon.


4. Wine



Again, another luxury that is a woman's best friend. You cannot go wrong with buying your girlfriend a bottle, or bottles, of wine. The only question you have to ask yourself when buying it is, red or white?

Buy a set of glasses to match on Amazon.


5. A Couple's Massage

Um, hello. Who wouldn't love this gift? Not only is it a gift for her, but it is one for you as well. This gift can also be surprisingly cheap. Many places offer amazing deals during the Valentine's Day season!


6. Dinner

There is absolutely nothing wrong with just taking your girlfriend to a romantic dinner on Valentine's Day. Dinner can be expensive enough as it is, the important thing to remember is to make memories that will last a lifetime during the meal.


7. A Movie



Again, nothing wrong with just going to a movie for the night. Sometimes a movie can set the level of romance you need for Valentine's Day.

Buy an AMC gift card on Amazon.


8. A Necklace



I know what you're thinking, too expensive! Don't throw away the necklace idea just yet. There are so many stores that sell such elegant necklaces, and they are decently priced as well. Check out stores like Alex and Ani, or Pandora for great deals, or just order from Amazon!


Buy one on Amazon.


9. A Ring



While this gift may only apply to a select few, imagine how memorable this day would be for your girlfriend. Do not think it is too cliche to propose to your girlfriend on Valentine's Day. Who cares how many other people do it, think about the joy it will bring her.

Buy a diamond ring on Amazon.


10. Clothes



Plan and buy your girlfriend's outfit for the night! It saves her time figuring out what to wear, and you just bought her clothes that she will absolutely adore!

Buy a sweater she will love on Amazon.


11. A One Night Stay at a Hotel



I don't think I have to say anything about this gift. You all know how romantic this is.

Buy a Hotels.com gift card on Amazon.


12. Personalized Picture Frame



A gift that is beyond thoughtful. Taking all of your pictures of memories from before and putting them together for your girlfriend is a gift that will for sure have her in tears.

Buy one on Amazon.


Please note that all items are in stock as of the time of publication. As an Amazon Associate, Odyssey may earn a portion of qualifying sales.

Cover Image Credit: Chip Party Ideas

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5 Things To Look For Before Signing A Lease

"Does it have a hallway closet?"

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Spring is an exciting time of year. The trees are starting to get leaves again, flowers are blooming and the weather is starting to get nicer. Spring Break seems to be right around the corner. However, Spring also brings the dreaded apartment hunting season. Once your lease is up you can either renew it or find a new place. Finding a new apartment can be stressful but that shouldn't take the fun out of it. So, here is a list of things I wish I had known to look for before signing the lease.

Check for hallway closets

Once moving in you realize how much you miss that closet in the hallway and how much stuff you really put in there. That closet was the perfect place to stash those pesky cleaning supplies, the vacuum, and the broom. Those odds and ends like the extra paper towels and water bottles so nicely fit into that hallway closet you took for granted. Living without storage for these items has made our living area and kitchen look a mess and a nuisance when having to move it just to use the table.

Noise levels

Noise levels are something that is often forgotten about when walking through an apartment. You shouldn't be able to hear your roommates Netflix binge through the wall. What about the floors do the creak? Does the door make an annoying screech when opening it? What about the traffic outside does it bother you? Remember once you sign that lease you're stuck until it is up. Living with creaky doors and floors makes going to your 8 am class so much worse knowing you might wake your roommate by accident.

Damages

Damages are something most people notice before moving in but is there water damage? Water damage often means a leaking roof or dripping pipe that could become a worse issue later. Taking note of these damages before signing can prevent you from having to pay for them later.

Neighborhood

It's college everyone parties it seems, but living by the parties can be annoying especially if you're trying to study. Partying usually happens a couple nights of the week but those couple nights seem like every night when attempting to study for an exam on Thirsty Thursday. Studying feels nearly impossible when you hear a raging party going on next door.

Kitchen storage

Storage in general as mentioned in number one is important. A place for your food in the kitchen makes a difference in how much you actually cook. When having a place for cans or boxes of pasta you feel less overwhelmed when you do cook them. Cooking with stuff on the counters isn't only annoying but it makes a mess to clean up. Storage for all your kitchen gadgets and dishes makes for an easier life and not just piles laying around.

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