2012: A Year in Review

As I finished my final final (at 8:30am, mind you), I was finally able to breathe a sigh of relief: first term is over! Christmas is 10 days away! I’ll be home in 3 days! And the world might end in 6… ūüėČ

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Looking back, this year has been kind of crazy and filled with many firsts for me.

In January I was returning for my second semester of second year and of advising. I was comfortable with my job and with school…probably a little too comfortable, in hindsight. I wasn’t motivated and I really wasn’t happy with what I was doing. It was around then that I started to unearth my passion for travel. I started this blog, stayed up late searching for flight deals instead of studying for midterms and began dreaming my great escape. I had applied to be an English tutor in Italy for the summer, which unfortunately didn’t pan out (they did offer me a position in late August), but it turns out it was for the best.

In February I got my first taste of solo travel when I spent a day alone in San Francisco! It was pretty uneventful but I impressed myself by getting from the airport to the hotel, dining solo and finding the sea lions on Fisherman’s Wharf. Looking back at it now, I can’t believe I went from 24hrs alone in the States to 3 weeks alone in Europe in only 4 months! My mom showed up the next afternoon and we spent the next few days together. It was a great escape from school/advising and I kind of fell in love with SF. ¬†The city is gorgeous and I can’t wait to visit “Frannie” again.

Fisherman's Wharf, San Francisco

Fisherman’s Wharf, San Francisco

March was Musical Madness Month! The residence musical I was helping to run had our 3-night run and it went so well! I was really proud of my cast, crew and colleagues – though I’m pretty sure I didn’t touch any school work for most of March.

Urinetown The Musical!

Urinetown The Musical!

School winded down in April and after finals ended and I moved out of Shuswap, it was time to face reality: I was homeless and jobless! It wasn’t as dire as all that, but I had been hoping for a tutoring job in Italy or cushy office job in Vancouver. ¬†Instead, as April ended I boarded a flight home to Toronto with no real job plans.

In May I was able to catch up with my friends and family at home. I spent a lot of time applying to jobs online and managed to get quite a few writing gigs.  Unfortunately, most of the gigs were unpaid, but the experience was great! It was exciting to be doing something I actually loved.  Still, my days felt a little empty.

By some miracle, I found the world’s greatest flight deal and in June I packed my bags, booked hostels and trains, said my goodbyes and jumped on a flight to Europe! I blogged daily while I worked my way through a whirlwind tour of London, Paris, Nice, Barcelona, Madrid and Lisbon. ¬†It was an insane 3 weeks and I still can’t believe how quickly it came together and how much I managed to squeeze in. I still shake my head sometimes when I see photos I took of the Eiffel Tower or remember that I stood outside Buckingham Palace waving at The Queen and her family. It was my first solo adventure and one I’m never going to forget. I can’t wait to go back!

Mastering the art of the selfie in front of London's Tower Bridge

Mastering the art of the selfie in front of London’s Tower Bridge

In July I began working as an Editorial Intern at The Kit Magazine. It was a great job and I really got to immerse myself in the magazine culture. Not only did I get to handle swanky clothing samples and luxe beauty products, speak with top brands and retailers, but I got to write and see my work in print and online! And in July I joined a new decade: my 20s!

August started off with an amazing family trip to Atlantis in The Bahamas.  It was nice to spend time with my sister who had been in Quebec for the month of July and just relax the 5 of us.  After that I had a few more weeks in Toronto before I headed back to the west coast for Advisor Orientation in Kelowna.

Me and my sibs at Atlantis

Me and my sibs at Atlantis

September was pretty much just a blur. I was settling back into advising with a new team, new floor, new house and new residence area.  Classes started up again and I was actually excited about my courses.  Ambitiously I joined the Pre-Law Society and Psychology Students Association to see if my future lay in either of those directions. FYI: Psychology has been taken off the table. Law is still in the cards along with Journalism. 

Mawder wins Vanier Olympics!

Mawder wins Vanier Olympics!

In October my mom came out to visit me and we had ourselves a Thanksgiving Staycation. It was so nice to see my mom and relax away from school/work. The rest of the month consisted of midterms, papers and handing out candy to adorable children at the Acadia Park residence on Halloween. Oh, and I casually won $100 from a random draw costume contest.

In November I found out that I had been accepted to an International Service Learning program and would be spending Summer 2013 in Mbabane, Swaziland! I’m so excited about this because I’ll get to go to an un-visited continent, embrace a brand new culture and have the opportunity to work at an HIV/AIDS advocacy organization. In November I also went to Disney On Ice (pure magic), the Twilight premiere and our Winter Formal in residence.

All Disney princesses get their own Lego carriages.

All Disney princesses get their own Lego carriages.

Our team looking classy

Our team looking classy

15 days into December and I’ve already accomplished quite a bit! I wrote my 5 finals, celebrated birthdays with good friends, visited The Vancouver Christmas Market and got a co-op job for next term! I’m so excited that in January I will be working for one of my favourite organizations, Free The Children! I’m joining the team as a youth programming intern and will be helping make the first US We Day come to life. The whole thing came about rather quickly but I’m so stoked! It’ll also be a really cool change to be on a co-op job term instead of just school.

Looking ahead:¬†The next few days will be full of Christmas shopping, packing and taking care of all the home stuff I’ve ignored during finals (dishes, laundry, etc.). And then on the 18th I fly back to Toronto for 12 days! I’m really excited to see my friends and family. ¬†I’m also hoping the cold holds off and it only snows once or twice. I’ll be filling out my application for exchange as well over the break. My plan is to go to The University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia in January 2014. It’s a pretty cool feeling to look ahead and know that 2013 will be filled with a lot of happy moments: I’ll still be RA-ing with my amazing team and house. I’ll be working for Free The Children. ¬†I’m seeing Lady Gaga on the 12th! I’m going to Africa in June! And I’ll probably be living on my own in Vancouver at some point. My expectations at the start of 2012 were vastly different from how the year turned out. ¬†There were some low points but there were way more highlights and reasons to feel so incredibly lucky. ¬†I’ve ended the year on quite the high note and I’ve got a great feeling about 2013.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

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