September 10th is my 19th birthday! One year ago, when I turned 18, I was told by many family and friends that it would be the best year of my life so far. I was determined to prove them right. I applied to my dream school, took solo trips and took advantage of the big opportunities that came my way. I met amazing new friends, overcame obstacles and stepped outside my comfort zone. 18 was a year of self growth and self love. In addition to enjoying all of the fun possibilities that came my way, I grew through what I went through. There was struggle and there was hurt, but every big leap I've made this year has pushed me to be the best version of myself I could be.

Here's a list of 18 wonderful things I accomplished when I was 18!

1. I was accepted into UW-Madison.

State Street, Memorial Union Terrace, The Capitol... can't go wrong

Chani Corpus

Madison feels like home to me, and I wouldn't have wanted to go anywhere else.

2. I turned my spare bedroom into a closet.

White walls, wood floors, lots of TJ Maxx and Target decor.

I'll be really honest, I have way too many clothes and they didn't fit in my bedroom closet. Luckily, we had a guest bedroom which was an ugly red color and needed to be redone. We picked out new paint and flooring, and then added some cute decorations and boom! Walk in closet.

3. I tried contacts . . . again.

The first week of wearing contacts was so uncomfortable.

The first time I tried contacts was in 5th grade and I hated them, but now they're my best friend.

4. I took a solo trip.

King Coffee Shop in Tempe, AZ

Chani Corpus

I had an extremely rough couple of winter months, and desperately needed some sun. I used my tax return money to book a flight to sunny Tempe, Arizona all by myself!

5. I took a trip to Spain & Italy.

Zaragoza, Spain

Chani Corpus

My Spanish club voted on taking our trip to Spain and Italy! We went to Madrid, Barcelona and Rome. My favorite part was the architecture, pizza and gelato!

6. I got a summer job.

There was definitely dancing involved during our sports games.

I was getting tired of cashiering at my local grocery store, so I found a job as a sports leader for the recreation department. It was a super fun way to work while still enjoying my summer. I got to be outside all morning and help kids have fun playing sports!

7. I became one of my high school's Valedictorians.

Along with my 2 super amazing co-valedictorians!

Chani Corpus

I worked hard throughout high school to keep up my 4.0, thinking of my school work as a second job. I was awarded an academic scholarship for being Valedictorian, which greatly helps out with UW-Madison's cost of tuition.

8. I got a MacBook.

I love my Mac.

My parents gave me a MacBook for my graduation gift, and I love it so much. The best part is that I'm able to download all the pictures from my phone so that I don't lose them forever!

9. I hit my savings goal.

"Better have my money!"

I worked in a grocery store since I turned 16, and every single paycheck went into my savings, left untouched. Seeing my savings go up and hit my goal by the end of summer made me feel so accomplished.

10. I said yes to a new opportunity.

Me when I have writer's block like . . .

Earlier this summer I was approached to write for Odyssey! I love writing but didn't want to major in Journalism, so this was the perfect way to do what I love with way less pressure and more fun!

11. I tried yoga.

I love the part where you just lay on your back and chill.

I found yoga really relaxing, but also a great way to get in cardio without going too hard.

12. I became a Packers' season ticket holder.

My first (preseason) game as a season ticket holder!

Chani Corpus

My dad originally was the owner of the season tickets, but when I turned 18 he put the tickets in my name. I was raised a Packers fan, and I feel blessed to be able to go to so many games! Go Pack Go!

13. I got a credit card.

*Tries to be responsible with credit card*

I shop so much at TJ Maxx so I might as well get rewards and build up my credit score, right?

14. I voted for the first time.

Make sure to vote, y'all!

I voted in the Wisconsin primaries this past August! It was really easy to register, and the whole room clapped for me after I voted!

15. I took a trip to New York City.

Central Park is my favorite place in NYC.

Chani Corpus

I took my second solo trip all the way to New York City! I've been to NYC a couple times with my mom, but I had such a fun time by myself. I felt completely safe as well.

16. I got a tattoo.

The sun will rise...

Chani Corpus

... and we will try again. I've been wanting to get this tattoo for over a year now, but I was waiting for a time when I am truly was happy with where I am in life, and that's now.

Other than the song lyrics, the sun rising each day means so much to me. Even after my darkest days, the sun still rises, and so do I. There have been so many mornings where I've felt broken, but then I see the sun out and I remember that that day is a new day, a fresh start, a reason to keep going.

17. I cut my hair short.

Did you really go to college if you didn't cut your hair the week before?

Chani Corpus

The last time I cut my hair short was two years ago and I cried because it was way too short. This time, it was the perfect length and I was ready to take on college with a new, cute look!

18. I moved in at UW-Madison.

GO BADGERS!

Chani Corpus

I'm so happy to call Madison home. I've met amazing people and can't wait to see where I go from here!

My 18th year has been full of amazing adeventures, and I couldn't have asked for better. Here's to another year of loving life!