We all know that silly saying, "new year, new me". And while it's not necessarily true that you are "new", you can make changes for yourself and how to make the present year the best one yet.

2018 was a challenge for me. Entering into 2018, I had just lost my grandmother to her long hard fight against lung cancer, and I felt a little lost in the world. I had to cope with losing one of my best friends while also trying to maneuver school, a job, a sorority, and my social life. I had a rough start to my year, and mentally and emotionally, I wasn't in the best shape I could have been in. However, not all of 2018 was bad. I took 2 amazing little with my sorority in the Spring, and Nora and Christina, you were what helped me through my tough time. I do feel like I should have been there for you more, but it's also because of you that I pulled myself out of my funk.

I got into the master's program of my dreams in April, and I proved to myself that I could do what my heart and mind had been telling me to do in my career path all along. I went home to Jacksonville for the summer, and I took me time. I worked alongside my family in our family business and really threw myself into making all of the time that I could with the people I love the most. Summer was a renewal for me. I focused on me and my mental health, and when summer came to an end, I felt like a new and happier person. In August, I moved into my first apartment with my best friend.

I planned a rush process with my sorority, and even better with that, I gained another two amazing littles, Kat and Emma, to add to my family line in my sorority. I now have the four most amazing, unique, loving, and caring young women to call my littles and I couldn't be happier. This fall semester, I learned so much about myself as a future educator and learned so much about my own abilities in the classroom. I finished out the year strong. I have a job that I love, the best of friends, and I ended the year surrounded by those who love me.

Through 2018, I learned so much about what I do and do not want to see in my future. I learned in 2018 that if you are unhappy in an employment opportunity, change it and find something you love to do. You will truly never work a day in your life if you find a career you have a passion for. I also learned that not everyone is going to like what I do or say, but ultimately, as long as I do something with the best intentions, then that is all I can do. I don't need the validation of others to be happy. The only validation that I need is my own happiness. I also learned that sometimes you just have to jump on opportunities and not let the experience pass you by. I had so many new experiences in 2018, but I also missed out on so many because I was too afraid to take the chance.

In 2019, I will be a changed woman. I will find happiness in the little things and shape my viewpoint on the good, not the bad. I will try my hardest to not seek validation in others, but to trust my own instincts and trust myself more. And I will leap at new opportunities. I will try things that I have never done before. I will go to places I've never been. I will create new experiences for myself and I will live every day to the fullest. If there is anything that I have learned, it's that we are never guaranteed each day.

So I'm going to make 2019 my year, and I hope you do the same.