I Learned A Lot In 2017, But I Am Ready For The New Year

I Learned A Lot In 2017, But I Am Ready For The New Year

This whole year has been a year of challenges, growth, excitement, and pain.

As the year comes to an end, I can't help but think how much my life has changed in the course of 2017. This year flew by and has definitely shaped me. 2017 was filled with wonderful moments and some not so wonderful moments.

My spring semester of college ended in May and I faced a lot of struggles after finishing that semester. On top of it being a hard semester, and missing my dad a lot, I had gotten really sick over the course of the past year. I found myself in the emergency room, just trying to figure out why I was not feeling good. The doctors told me I had chronic migraines, so they gave me some fluids to rehydrate me and sent me home with some new medication.

Well, weeks passed, and I still wasn't feeling better. I found a doctor and he ordered a brain MRI, the results came back and they could see an infection that was close to my brain. Long story made short, I had a sinus infection growing for about a year, and I did not know it. My general doctor recommended that I saw an ENT so I found an ENT that used to work with my dad, and I made an appointment to see him. I had to wait a few weeks and it sucked because I still felt like crap.

July 5th finally came, and I anxiously went to this ENT with hopes I would get answers. He took a CT of my head, and I could see how bad my sinuses were. He gave me two options, to be on antibiotics for 6 months, or to get surgery two weeks later. I thought about it and chose the surgery. It was scary, I did not want surgery, but I had to do what was best for my health, and that was the best option. Surgery day rolled around on July 19th and I woke up more nervous than ever. I got up, prayed, and got ready for my surgery.

We arrived at the surgery center and they prepped me for surgery and rolled me back to the OR. I remember looking around the room before they put me under. A few hours later, I woke up in recovery, in a lot of pain. Recovery was a week, and it was so painful, but looking back at it now, I am so thankful that I made this choice to get surgery.

I am so blessed to have had so much support from my friends over the summer and around the time of my surgery. It was a hard time for me and my close friends did not leave my side once. It honestly changed my life, and my quality of life is so much better now. Headaches every day for a year and a half was tough, and now I am sitting here today typing this up, feeling better than ever.

By the time I had fully recovered from my surgery it was time for me to start packing up to move out for my sophomore year of college. I was so excited to come back to school, and see all the friends who I hadn't seen all summer. I got out to Fort Myers, and unpacked my stuff and was reunited with Olivia who I am so lucky to call my roommate. Fall semester was a crazy semester for me. I was taking some pretty tough classes that kept me so busy, all the time. On top of my crazy semester, Florida got hit with a hurricane, and we were out of school for two whole weeks. That set the semester back a lot and added a lot of stress to the already hectic semester.

Being involved with Ignite and community group, really helped me to center myself, and see the important things in life, friends, and Jesus. Those nights were good breaks from school, and being able to take a step back and just learn about God, surrounded by great people was really needed. Towards the end of the semester, I also joined a Women's ministry called Delight. That ministry has really impacted my life, and I am so blessed to be a part of it. I am glad that God led me to that group. It is something that I will continue to be a part of until I graduate college. Although I struggled with my faith a lot this year, I was able to grow stronger in my relationship with Him by being a part of these groups.

This whole year has been a year of challenges, growth, excitement, and pain. I have made such amazing friends, and memories this year, that I know will last me a lifetime. I was also able to grow in friendships that I had prior to this year. I am thankful for the struggles that I faced this year, they made me a stronger person. Hardship builds character, and I am always willing to grow. I can't wait to see what 2018 has in store for me, and for everyone in my life.

Here are some highlights of my favorite moments of 2017:

Cover Image Credit: Taylor Markee

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Joining My Sorority Changed My Life

There is more to Greek life than meets the eye.

When I started my first semester of college, I was shy, nervous and a little lost. I made some mistakes, lost my footing and attempted to get my act together. Moving eight hours away to a place where I knew absolutely nobody was the scariest thing I've ever done, but the one thing that made it ten times more bearable was the decision to rush.

Since move-in weekend, the "The Possibilities Are Endless" recruitment fall 2017 flyers were hung up in every hallway from my dorm to my classrooms. Coming into Ohio, I said I would never rush. Greek life has had a bad reputation among many and it didn't seem like the right thing for me. But I kept stopping by to read those flyers, paying attention to the block letter sweaters that sorority girls wore to class, and couldn't help but stare as I walked past the sorority houses on campus.

Ultimately, I decided to rush. What should hold me back? Nothing.

So I stepped out of my safe little bubble and walked into 10 houses of girls screaming the "Go Greek" song at the top of their lungs for two weekends in a row, and man it was the best decision I've ever made. Walking out of Alpha Omicron Pi for the last time before bid day, I never would've imagined what an impact this chapter would have on my life in such a short period of time.

After one semester, I had met my closest friends, not only in college but life in general.

Since day one, these girls have treated me better than the shallow friends I had known for years back home in high school. Throughout the entire first semester, if I ever needed anything, ran into trouble, needed advice or a shoulder to cry on after a bad week, all I had to was say the word and my sisters would be waiting for me in their rooms. They are the reason I made it through those first difficult months away from home, that bad exam or that one aching heartbreak.

What so many people don't realize is that the awful stigmas, stereotypes and bad reputations that Greek life has are not true at all. From the outside, it's easy to brand us as shallow girls who all wear the same clothes and act the same way. But we all know that you can't judge a book by its cover, and the same thing applies for judging sororities.

You can't know what it's like unless you've gone through recruitment or have joined yourself,

Recruitment teaches us valuable conversational skills, how to look nice, and present ourselves in the best image possible. All these qualities are important life skills when it comes to future job interviews. We host charity events for our philanthropy, helping those in need, and have mandatory service/volunteer hours we must complete each semester. Every chapter has a minimum GPA that their members must meet in order to remain in the organization.

The general idea that those who are in Greek life are not serious about their studies, slack off and don't get good grades is one of the biggest lies I've ever heard. Here at Ohio University, the average GPA of members in Greek life is actually higher than the overall GPA of the rest of the student body.

If that doesn't speak for itself, then I don't know what will.

Being in a sorority teaches us how to balance sisterhood and studies. Older sisters are always willing to lend help to the new freshmen if they're struggling with a difficult class the others have taken before. We always put our academics first, and social life second.

My sorority taught me how to lift each other up, to tell your sisters you're proud of them, to tell them you love and appreciate everything they do.

With these amazing women, I've had the time of my life in college. From date parties, to bid day, family dinners and socials, these are the memories I will cherish forever. It's made me a better, more dedicated and happier person. Thanks to my chapter, many opportunities have opened up to me.

I know I'll always have a home there and friends who run to me with open arms after being away for an entire month over break. And it means the world to have such loving people who worry about you and miss you every day when you're away.

There truly is no way to express my gratitude for Alpha Omicron Pi, and I hope that others will see this and realize there is so much more to sororities than meets the eye.

Cover Image Credit: Anna Kropov

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Thoughts About A 21st Birthday

Turning twenty-one has its pros and cons.

In life, we all have the "useless" birthdays. These birthdays are nothing but a celebration of turning another year older. This is kind of how I felt last year when, in February, I became twenty. But twenty-one is considered a milestone, especially for American youth. In the long run, how unique is gaining another responsibility?

I only question this, and slightly dread it, because there is more that comes with being twenty-one. For myself, a female, being this old means I am required to receive Pap smears in South Carolina, a procedure I do not like in the least. If you don't know what this is, well, they put a plastic thing inside you to open the region up and check the cervix for cancer. It isn't pleasant for me for multiple reasons.

But, back to what everyone knows about this age: drinking and the ability to purchase whatever kind you like.

I will probably enjoy being able to drink here. Thing is: I've had alcohol before. In Europe and Mexico, everything is a bit more relaxed, and it is indeed an excellent experience to learn what wine tastes like, or alcohol in general, and how to be a responsible drinker. Have I snuck some vodka in a tea before while on a trip? Yeah, and it was good. So, in hindsight, I've already had a taste of that part. But I'm celebrating regardless of experience.

Also, I'm going to be happy to be twenty for the next little bit. Do I know what I'm doing with my life? Not necessarily. And it will be a while until I do. But that is the point of being at this stage. And another year won't change that.

Yeah, I'm happy it is coming up, and that I get to see my friends and family, but I have only lived a short part of my life. More milestones will top this one, and they might not even be birthdays. But I'm still glad to be able to celebrate with those I love.


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