Cheers To You, 2017

Cheers To You, 2017

Thank you for being the best worst year of my life.

Cheers to the year that seems as if most of us dread talking about and are excited to leave in the past. Cheers to the year that started me off with a slightly different perspective than I'm finishing with. Cheers to the year that changed my life forever.

This was the year of growth, change, valuable life lessons, and endless possibility. Although most people want to abandon it and leave it in the past, it's unfair to look back and completely disregard all of the laughs that were laughed, the memories that were made, and the lessons that were learned. This year had its highest of highs and its lowest of lows, but just as any other year you were able to become even stronger, smarter, and more full of life than you were the year before.

For myself, this year was nothing short of extraordinary. With both the good and the bad, I would start all over again because through it all I conquered the hardest part in life's journey -- finding myself. I figured out who I truly was, what I wanted out of life, what I deserved, and I made a vow to myself to never let anything or anyone stop me. I promised myself to never let anything or anyone come between myself and my dreams.

I rang the year in with friends only from my small hometown and left with friends from across the world (thank you DCP), and from this I realized the truth in "quality over quantity." I began the year with a completely different relationship than I ended with and was able to find peace with the fact that not everything is meant to last forever. Relationships were put to a sudden halt when i believed they'd continue for years to come, and the relationships that replaced the ones that were lost are now those in which I couldn't imagine my life without. Ironic, right?

I tweaked my perspective on life this year and I learned to feel sorry for liars because at the end of the day, as much as we all hate being lied to, they're the ones who have to live with the guilt in what they did. "Some things are better left unsaid" is something I lived by because whether you believe it or not, it can benefit you greatly.

My health was put on a pedestal because I've realized I want to be a go-getter and a "doer", not just a "sayer"; for years I've said I would have my dream body by "that summer", but once "that summer" came I realized I had given up at some point once it was already too late. The gym became one of the most important things in my life and something I found excitement in with each day that came -- I continuously found new goals I wanted to accomplish and was finally able to reach them (and it doesn't stop here).

Most of my thanks in jumpstarting the changes I've made in myself can be given to, of course, the Disney College Program. Once this year began, I unlocked the door to preview the greater success I will achieve in life as time goes on. I sprinted down the trail most are afraid to walk down, and I was able to learn to forget those who laugh at your dreams because they are small minded. Leaving behind the most incredible experience and significant piece of my life behind is extremely bittersweet.

Thank you, 2017, for teaching me the three secrets of life -- the brick wall theory by Randy Pausch, to never be afraid to fail, and that people change people. I couldn't thank you enough for putting the incredible people I have in my life and taking the toxic ones out because you taught me who is and isn't worth my time, as all have changed me for the better. Thank you for throwing me into situations I never would have willingly walked into before then, forcing me to find comfort in uncomfortable times, teaching me valuable lessons through tougher times, and helping me figure out myself and my future from each experience you gave to me. You helped me find confidence in all of my abilities; I could never be more grateful for you. You were a life changer.

Cover Image Credit: Reanna Morio

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PSA: Keep Your Body-Negative Opinions Away From Little Girls This Summer

But our own baggage shouldn't be shoved on to those we surround ourselves with.


It's officially swimsuit season, y'all.

The temperature is rising, the sun is bright and shining, and a trip to the beach couldn't look more appealing than it does right now. This is the time of year that many of us have been rather impatiently waiting for. It's also the time of year that a lot of us feel our most self-conscious.

I could take the time to remind you that every body is a bikini body. I could type out how everyone is stunning in their own unique way and that no one should feel the need to conform to a certain standard of beauty to feel beautiful, male or female. I could sit here and tell you that the measurement of your waistline is not a reflection of your worth. I completely believe every single one of these things.

Hell, I've shared these exact thoughts more times than I can count. This time around, however, I'm not going to say all these things. Instead, I'm begging you to push your insecurities to the side and fake some confidence in yourself when you're in front of others.


Because our negative self-image is toxic and contagious and we're spreading this negative thinking on to others.

We're all guilty of this, we're with family or a friend and we make a nasty comment about some aspect of our appearance, not even giving a single thought to the impact our words have on the person with us. You might think that it shouldn't bother them- after all, we're not saying anything bad about them! We're just expressing our feelings about something we dislike about ourselves. While I agree that having conversations about our insecurities and feelings are important for our mental and emotional health, there is a proper and improper way of doing it. An open conversation can leave room for growth, acceptance, understanding, and healing. Making a rude or disheartening remark about yourself is destructive not only to yourself, but it will make the person you are saying these things around question their own self worth or body image by comparing themselves to you.

My little sister thinks she's "fat." She doesn't like how she looks. To use her own words, she thinks she's "too chubby" and that she "looks bad in everything."

She's 12 years old.

Do you want to know why she has this mindset? As her older sister, I failed in leading her by example. There were plenty of times when I was slightly younger, less sure of myself, and far more self-conscious than I am now, that I would look in the mirror and say that I looked too chubby, that my body didn't look good enough, that I wished I could change the size of my legs or stomach.

My little sister had to see the older sibling she looks up to, the big sis she thinks always looks beautiful, say awful and untrue things about herself because her own sense of body image was warped by media, puberty, and comparing herself to others.

My negativity rubbed off onto her and shaped how she looks at herself. I can just imagine her watching me fret over how I look thinking, "If she thinks she's too big, what does that make me?"

It makes me feel sick.

All of us are dealing with our own insecurities. It takes some of us longer than others to view ourselves in a positive, loving light. We're all working on ourselves every day, whether it be mentally, physically, or emotionally. But our own baggage shouldn't be shoved on to those we surround ourselves with, our struggles and insecurities should not form into their own burdens.

Work on yourself in private. Speak kindly of yourself in front of others. Let your positivity, real or not, spread to others instead of the bad feelings we have a bad habit of letting loose.

The little girls of the world don't need your or my negative self-image this summer. Another kid doesn't need to feel worthless because we couldn't be a little more loving to ourselves and a lot more conscious of what we say out loud.

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The Struggle of Taking Classes During the Summer

It can put a bit of a damper on summer fun


To everyone reading: I hope you're having a nice, relaxing summer. Even if you're working I hope you can get a few days off to hang out with friends, go to the beach, and have some nice downtime. Not me. I am currently in the process of completing two four-week long summer classes. I'm taking them now to get ahead for next semester and to keep my overall schedule on track. It certainly isn't fun, but the reminder that it is only four weeks is what really keeps me going. If you are in the same boat as me, you'll relate to this list like no one else can; if you're not taking summer classes, don't let this list scare you, but use it to mentally prepare yourself for any you may have in the future.

1. Studying and homework

The homework isn't too bad with some summer classes just because you don't have time for a lot of intense projects. Still, since the class is so short you have to do some kind of homework pretty much every day. Make a schedule and spread it out so you don't get too behind.

2. Actually going to class

I am in two classes. One meets in person every day from 10 am to 11:45 am. The other is online. Let me be the first to say that getting up for class during the normal semesters is hard enough, but knowing my little brother gets to sleep in while I have to wake up early and go class is a real motivation suppressant.

I will say, though, it's kind of nice being on campus when it's basically empty.

3. No going out...

You'll probably be a little down because you might not be able to really go out at all during the time you're in class. For me, I go to lecture every morning, come home and do homework for that class, then do homework for my online class. I have some free time on the weekends, but I try to use those lecture-free days to study or work on papers.

4. But being super busy

Even though you might not be able to go out like a summer off, you'll be keeping yourself busy with all that super fun homework I mentioned.

5. Stress

Yes, summer classes can be a little stressful and it's pretty much all thanks to how fast-paced they are. Just do what I do: make a homework and project schedule as soon as you can and remind yourself how short it is.

Summer classes are not the worst thing in the world, and if you choose to take one at some point it won't be absolutely horrible. The nice thing about them is it's like ripping off a Band-Aid; it may be a little painful and annoying, but it's over so fast you don't suffer. Pick your class and professor wisely and get down to business; taking the class means you're one step closer to graduation!

So, to anyone else taking a summer class: good luck and you got this!

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