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.