The Truth about 2017 | A Year in Review

alternatively titled, wishing that 2018 would come faster

Dear Twenty Somethings,

New Years are actually the strangest thing. We have so many expectations for the upcoming year to be different, or better. Somehow, every new year we forget that each year will bring so many ups and downs. Twelve months is a long time. If 2016 me knew that 2017 me was going to have a rough year, maybe things would be different. Though I experienced many happy and exciting things during 2017, the second half of the year was much rougher. The following is a recap of my year and the lessons that it taught me.

I received some sad news today (if you’re here for the news, it’s closer to the bottom of the post so feel free to scroll through). It threw me for a loop but mostly made me reflect on what 2017 really was. Though I experienced many happy and exciting things during 2017, the second half of the year was much rougher. The following is a recap of my year and the lessons that it taught me.

2017 Review – January and February

The beginning of the year started out just like any other.

I swore up and down that 2017 was going to be my year. I could feel the positive energy swirling around me. This year, things were going to be different. In January, I started a new tutoring position. Even though it wasn’t the school board position that I wanted, it was a step in the right direction. I had also just gotten the news that I would be heading back to my home away from home to work at a summer camp and that I was being offered the opportunity to apply for the Head of Music position. In February, my camp dreams came true – I would be Tamarack’s Head of Music 2017. 2017 was really looking to be my year.

Sadly, in February I realized that years of applying for the supply list hadn’t led me to positive results, so I made the hard decision to let my dream go for a while and apply for college programs to find a backup career. At the end of February, I got my first taste of the public relations world when I wrote an admission session for the Public Relations – Corporate Communications program at Seneca’s York campus. Judging by my tweets at the time, it was intimidating, to say the least.

(Spoiler alert: I’m in the program now you can guess what choice I made)

2017 Review – March and April

 March signified new hope.

On the last day of February (aka my birthday)I was offered admission to every program I applied for. While it was almost unfathomable to think of not having a job working with children, I had to take the chance. Being on my birthday made it feel like a sign that I shouldn’t be on part-time pay with no benefits when you get to my ripe old age 😉 The question became – which program would I take? You would think being another year old would make me another year wiser. Clearly not so much…

(Spoiler alert: I’ve been at Seneca in my program since September so you probably know which one I ended up choosing.)

April was a fun, yet mostly uneventful month. I spent most of it marking EQAO tests. Reading thousands of grade ten essays was entertaining nonetheless.

2017 Review – May through August

May was promising to be even more exciting!

I was asked to work the pre-camp season, meaning that I would work with school groups while living at my favourite place on earth. My summer would involve working one week at camp in May, home for one week and then back to camp for the rest of the summer. I was reunited with some of my favourite people and got to meet amazing, new people to become fast friends. It looked like my summer was going to be absolutely amazing. Maybe 2017 really was my year. I left camp for my week home, excited to plan so many fun music activities (who doesn’t like a Pitch Perfect themed summer program) and with high hopes for the summer of a lifetime.

And then it all came crashing down.

To say that my week off from camp was hell would literally be an understatement. What was meant to be a relaxing week of planning and spending time with my family before going back to camp turned into a week of watching someone I loved passing away and spending time with my family preparing for a funeral. It’s honestly very hard (and emotionally taxing) to explain what that’s like.

Although my uncle and I fought like cats and dogs, he was like another dad to me. He was the one who taught me how to fish, who cooked me a steak dinner every time I visited. He teased me about boyfriends and asked them if they needed a seeing eye dog (because they must be blind to date me ha ha) but also threatened to harm them if they hurt me. He’d give you the shirt off his back (although you might not have heard the end of it.) He wasn’t perfect, but he was ours and we loved him. Trying to celebrate someone’s life is a struggle when all you want to do is cry, but somehow we managed. Though there were tears, there was also laughter and sharing of fond memories. I will forever be grateful to my loving family for getting each other through, and have learned even more the importance of saying “I love you”.

The day after the funeral was probably the hardest day of my life.

While I wanted to stay with my family, we knew that he would have wanted me to live my best life and go back to camp. We drove straight back from Windsor to Toronto, where I was to go to our staff barbeque and get a ride back to camp to start work the next day. When my parents dropped me off, I almost collapsed in tears.

Sometimes I still look back on that day and wonder how I had the strength to wipe off those tears and enter the barbeque with a forced smile on my face. Was I making the right decision? Should I have taken another week off to be there for my loved ones? I guess I’ll never really know. I spent the two-hour car ride back suppressing tears and trying to hold normal conversations. If it wasn’t for my amazing camp friends, I don’t think I could have done it.

Sadness aside, I was blessed with tremendous support from my friends.

There are actually no words for how amazing they were. For every tear and step of the way, there they were. Although at times, I felt alone even in a crowded room, I still knew that they were there for me should I need them. In the end, that’s why my summer was pretty great. It was sad and hard, but my friends and my amazing camp kids (who I consider my own at this point #campmom) made it worthwhile. I survived the summer. At the end of August, armed with new friends (and old) and a few tears at leaving my camp family behind, I was ready for school and new hope to begin.

2017 Review – September to November

September was a strange month.

Missing camp is a strange sadness that you can’t explain. You’re separated from the people you saw literally every day. We all lived in the camp bubble, only a five minute walk away from each other at all times. Then, you have to go back to the real world which, spoiler alert, is big! Five minutes away turns into a five-hour flight away. Camp seems so distant, yet as if it’s only yesterday, and sometimes I would find myself wondering if my happy summer was a lie. The rational part of me knew that it probably wasn’t, but the lonely part of me wasn’t sure.

Overall though, September was great. I started my new program and was loving it! My classmates are spectacularly talented but also are kind and motivate one another to be our best selves. My professors are knowledgeable and want us to succeed, which is extremely nice. On top of that, the public relations industry seems as if it’s the perfect fit for me. If I can’t teach, I’m happy with working in the PR field. September and the beginning of October helped me get out my comfort zone, made me realize who I truly am as a person and a professional, and gave me the chance to live life again and try to not miss camp. I also started this blog, giving myself an outlet for my conflicting emotions and sometimes overwhelming anxiety. I learned how to write out my feelings. I’m proud of my blog

Sometimes good things don’t last.

In October, all colleges across Ontario went on strike. For a week, it was a welcome relief to have a week without the pressures of school. As week one turned to week two, and all the way to week five, things changed. I became angry and upset. The one good thing in my life was being taken away from me. Life was put on hold while my education (that I paid for with my hard earned money) was going to waste. I’ll not dwell on this dark time. I had already learned that there are worse things that could happen in my life. After nearly six weeks, we finally went back to school. It was hard and stressful, but somehow I managed to hustle, manage and survive the rest of the semester.

All the while I continued my blog.

What started as a school assignment turned into a full-blown passion project. After this post is published, I will have written 23 published posts (and quite a few drafts that I’m too nervous to post). I appreciate every single one of you who read my blogs, whether or not you comment on them or read the whole post. I hope you’ve enjoyed what’s been put out so far.

2017 Review – December and Beyond

What’s next? Some sad news…

I’m not sure at all. As I mentioned previously, I got some upsetting news today. I had applied to camp again on a whim during the strike. I managed to work out how I could work at camp while simultaneously doing social media work in my field. That dream was crushed when I was told that there was no longer a fitting position for me at camp. The devastating part is knowing that you won’t be able to spend your summer with the friends you love and the kids that you adore. I may never see the old wood of my favourite cabin steps, or feel the peaceful breeze off Duck Lake with the sounds of laughing children playing in the background. Worst of all, I may never see the people I care about again.  Hopefully, that’s not the case (and probably the sadness of self-doubt ringing in my ears), but you never really know. It’s a raw, open wound that I probably will spend the next few months feeling.

The FOMO itself is too real. There aren’t enough words to explain how hard it is, nor enough words to express what camp has meant to me over the past three years. But, as this year has taught me that I can survive sadness and come out on the other end a stronger, better person. Hopefully.Worst of all, I may never see the people I care about again.  Hopefully, that’s not the case (and probably the sadness of self-doubt ringing in my ears), but you never really know. It’s a raw, open wound that I probably will spend the next few months feeling.  But, as this year has taught me that I can survive sadness and come out on the other end a stronger, better person. Hopefully.

The takeaways

  1. Don’t put all your expectations on the year. 2018 will be a new year but like all years, it will be filled with ups and downs.
  2. Know your strength. Ups and downs are part of life but you can get through them, even if it’s hard.
  3. Let people know you care about them. Tell the people you love that you love them. Take a leap and tell that person you’ve been crushing on that you like them. You never know what’s going to happen.
  4. Take a deep breath when faced with challenges. Remember what you’ve been through and how you got here. It helps!
  5. Most times, there are no challenges that we cannot overcome. It will be hard work, but it too shall pass.

So 2018, you’re almost here. I’ll probably fall into the trap of thinking that you’re going to be my best year yet. Or, maybe you just might be the best year. Whatever is going to come my way, I know I will get through it.

You can also see the hard work that I’ve created throughout my public relations program so far through my online portfolio.

Until next time…

Truthfully yours,

Sam

 

4 thoughts on “The Truth about 2017 | A Year in Review

  1. To be honest, this is your first post that I’ve read.
    Sam, you’ve grown up to be such a mature young woman and have so much to offer those around you.
    I love your optimistic, but realistic look on life.
    For what it’s worth, I am so proud of you and love that social media allows me to see all that you will accomplish in the future.
    <3 your pseudo Big Sister,
    Kristina

    1. Pseudo, thank you so much for your kind words. Helps to have great role models when I started university. I’m very proud of you and can’t wait to see the amazing mother I know you will be <3

  2. Hello ,

    I saw your tweets about animals and thought I will check your website. I really like it!

    I love pets! I have two beautiful thai cats called Tammy(female) and Yommo(male).
    Yommo is 1 year older than Tommy. He is like a bigger brother for her. 🙂
    I have even created an Instagram account for them ( https://www.instagram.com/tayo_home/ ) and probably soon they will have more followers than me (kinda funny).

    I have subscribed to your newsletter. 🙂

    Keep up the good work with your blog.

    Regards
    Wiki

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *