2017 was a year of balance and counterbalance for me. It was a year of both wistful endings and exciting beginnings. It was a year of new opportunities but also, a year of reconnecting with my roots.

The year started with a slow ending. Four years of high school were coming to an end. Four years of stressing over tests, laughing during soccer practices, team dinners, morning library meet-ups, lunch shenanigans, and after-school council meetings. Four years coming to an end. Senior year just seemed like one long farewell to a school that had done so much for us. They were ushering us out with fanfare and applause while the next tier of students readied themselves to take our places. As soon as we threw our caps into the air, before the tassels even hit the ground, it was apparent our time had come to an inevitable end. But every time I look back, there is nothing but love and appreciation and nostalgia in my heart.

And then, I was off flying halfway across the world. Revisiting my roots, reconnecting with family. Breathing in the air that is exclusive to India, there is a sense of belonging, of rich history, and of beautiful culture. Looking back, I realized that I and so many others are living manifestations of the history we come from. The importance of culture and history that I'd only read about in books before was one that I experienced firsthand. It stills blows my mind that within two weeks, I'd gone from sitting in a classroom in a small suburb to sitting on the steps of the Taj Mahal. We carry our culture with us wherever we go but seeing these great monuments that were built hundreds of years ago is really something else. If anything, it's humbling to know there were so many that existed before you and there will be so many to exist after you in this world.

That's the mindset I started college with. This new atmosphere and new classes and new friends. The new experiences of walking 15,000 steps a day just to get to my classes, of getting tacos from a food truck at 1 a.m., of cheering and hollering at football games, of having sing-alongs in the dorm room, and of stepping out onto the soccer field every single day. Everything was new around me except my perspective. I continued to do what I loved, made new memories, and had an unforgettable year.

In a life that is composed of so many years, we often underscore the importance of a single year. Every year on the 31st of December, as the clock strikes midnight and the ball drops in New York, people all over the world wish for a year filled with happiness and success, a year better than the previous in every way.

We are so focused on earning more, exercising more, doing more, learning more, just being more that we forget, sometimes, less is more. Sometimes, the key to having a better year is looking back to the past and appreciating that which went well. Sometimes, the key is all in the attitude with which you approach life.