I recently experienced a series of bad days in a row; nothing that was too life-changing, but a lot of stressful experiences all piled into the span of less than a week, and it made me think about all the things I have experienced this year that have been terrible, and it really got me down for a while.

I have suffered major losses, a rough transition into college, and enough drama to feed a reality TV show for at least 10 seasons. I have realized that people I thought were great were actually flawed just like everyone else, but it was disappointing nonetheless. I have become more aware of the world as a whole, and how everyone is here for their own reasons and will do whatever it takes to benefit themselves. I have learned that many people are more content to live their lives keeping up an image on their cell phones instead of doing things because they want to and it feels good.

Was this all a little naive? You bet. But that is the real world and this year just so happened to be one where I had to learn a lot about the real world. Everyone has to go through difficult times in order to appreciate all of the great things that happen to them.

This year has also led to some amazing things. I recently celebrated my first anniversary with my boyfriend, and over the summer I welcomed my puppy, Finn, into my family. I drastically improved my GPA during my second semester, and I have been working two internships during this one. I have been writing more than I ever have in my life and getting a lot of positive recognition for it.

So why is it I can't focus on all of the good things and I am dwelling so much on the bad?

Everything we do changes who we are because of how we choose to spend our time. Every 24 hours we have a chance to start a brand new day and be a better person than we were before — or stay the same. As long as we keep pushing forward, there will be more good times ahead, and more bad times to help us appreciate them. There is nothing that can't be fixed, especially by taking some time to step away from the craziness of life.