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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22 New Things That I Want To Try Now That I'm 22

A bucket list for my 22nd year.


"I don't know about you but I'm feelin' 22," I have waited 6 long years to sing that and actually be 22! Now 22 doesn't seem like a big deal to people because you can't do anything that you couldn't do before and you're still super young. But I'm determined to make my 22nd year a year filled with new adventures and new experiences. So here's to 22.

1. Go sky diving.

What's crazier than jumping out of a plane? (Although I'll probably try indoor skydiving first.)

2. Go cliff jumping/diving.

I must be the only Rhode Islander who hasn't gone to Jamestown and jumped off a cliff.

3. Ride in a hot air balloon.

Up, up and away.

4. Try out skiing.

Cash me in the next Olympics, how bout dat.

5. Try out snow boarding.

Shawn White, I'm coming for you.

6. Go bungee jumping.

Because at least this time I'll be attached to something.

7. Go to Portugal.

I mean I'm Portuguese so I have to go at some point, right?

8. Go to Cape Verde.

Once again, I'm Cape Verdean so I have to go.

9. Vist one of the seven wonders of the world.

I mean hey, Egypt's on, my bucket list.

10. Try out surfing.

It's only natural that somebody from the Ocean State knows how to surf.

11. Learn a new langauge.

Because my little bit of Portuguese, Spanish and Latin isn't cutting it anymore.

12. Travel to a state that I've never been to before.

Fun fact: I've only been to 17 of the 50 states.

13. Go paddle boarding.

Pretty boring but I've never done it.

14. Go scuba diving.

I'm from the Ocean State so I guess I should see the ocean up close and personal.

15. Learn how to line dance.

There's actually a barn in my state that does line dancing, so this one will definitely get crossed off.

16. Go kayaking.

All this water around me and I haven't done a lot of the water activites.

17. Stay the night in a haunted hotel room.

I bet if I got my friends to come with me, it would be like the Suite Life of Zach and Cody episode, minus the ghost coming out of the wall but you never know.

18. Get my palms read.

Because who doesn't want to know their future.

19. Go to a medium.

Like a medium that can communicate with people that have died.

20. Take a helicopter ride.

Air plane: check Helicopter:....

21. Sleep under the stars.

Because sleeping in a tent is more like glamping than camping

22. Just to try new things in my everyday life.

Whether it's trying a new restaurant, getting something different at my usual restaurants, changing my usual style, going on the scary rides at amusement parks, and bringing things I used to do back into my life now.

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50 ways to demonstrate self-love Today

It's the little things that count.


Today, and every day, it's important to incorporate self-love into our lives. Each day, we can do something little that adds up to something big to benefit ourselves and our mental health. Loving yourself comes in many forms and activities.

1. Remind yourself that you, and your feelings, are valid.

2. Be true to yourself.

3. Do not let others take away your uniqueness.

4. List 10 things that you love about yourself.

5. Read your favorite book.

6. Take a walk alone and reflect on what makes you happy.

7. Do yoga.

8. Watch a movie that makes you laugh (or cry).

9. Paint your nails.

10. Buy your favorite drink from your favorite coffee shop.

11. Take a nap.

12. Eat your favorite food.

13. Start exercising.

14. Write down how you are feeling.

15. Identify a challenge in your life, and develop a plan to overcome it.

16. Get a massage or a facial.

17. Talk on the phone with someone you love.

18. Cry if you need to.

19. Pet a dog.

20. Go get your hair done.

21. Buy a new outfit that you feel confident wearing.

22. Log off of social media for one day.

23. Drink lots of water.

24. Talk about your life journey with someone else.

25. Color a picture.

26. Try a new hobby.

27. Go outside, and find five beautiful things to take pictures of.

28. Think about what has made you grateful today.

29. Let go of something that is bothering you.

30. Look up inspiring quotes.

31. Engage in uplifting self-talk.

32. Light your favorite candle.

33. Go on a drive to a place where you feel at peace.

34. Think about how much you have grown.

35. Take note of your accomplishments for the day.

36. Recognize your feelings and know that you are allowed to feel.

37. Take the leap of faith to get the help or assistance that you need.

38. Be kind to others.

39. Write a letter to your younger or future self, and read it over.

40. Start a gratitude journal.

41. Put on your favorite face mask.

42. Clean out your closet or room of clothes you no longer wear.

43. Understand how important self-love is.

44. Write small, encouraging notes to yourself on post-its, and put them around your room or home.

45. Take a bubble bath.

46. Smile at yourself.

47. Try meditating for 10 minutes in the morning.

48. Do something that is truly relaxing to you.

49. Go to a park.

50. Do what makes you the happiest.

Every single person is worthy is self-love. The ways of engaging in self-love are infinite, so you are able to find what works best for you. Do not doubt yourself! When you start to love yourself, it seems like life makes a lot more sense.

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