Wow. I seriously cannot believe that 2016 is almost over already. This time last year, I was packing my bags to head to Africa for a 3-week mission trip, and it feels like just yesterday. Over the break, I have been trying my best to slow down and take time to reflect on all I’ve been through this year. 2016 was probably one of the most eventful years I’ve had, and I’m excited to share some of my highlights with all of you.
1. Taking a mission trip to Africa
Every January, my school participates in a sort of J-term, called Winterim. As a senior, I had to opportunity to go off campus and either travel or do an internship. Since I did an internship my junior year, I decided to go way out of my comfort zone and go to Jinja, Uganda on a 3-week mission trip with a group of girls from my school. I experienced so many new things on this trip. It took 36 straight hours to get to Jinja, and once we were there, I found myself immersed in a culture like I had never experienced before. Everyday I got to experience and witness God’s love and magnificence, as the people of Jinja taught me that happiness is most certainly not circumstantial. This trip reminded me how much I love to travel, and I hope to continue exploring the world in 2017!
2. Graduating high school
On May 30, 2016 – Memorial Day – I graduated from high school! While this is a great accomplishment in and of itself, it was even more special for me because as of that day, I officially got to share an alma mater with my mom. I am so blessed to have attended such an amazing school, and feel so grateful for the friends I made there and the college preparation I received.
3. Getting PR’s in 2 sprint triathlons
Summer 2016 was the summer of triathlon. After spending most of senior year injured, I was more than ready to set and worked toward some new goals. What was special about this summer’s training was that I started from nothing. I hadn’t run, biked, or swam in months, so my training consisted of establishing a base and building from there. Because of this, I felt even more proud when I was able to crush some pretty lofty goals. I tried not to put too much pressure on myself, since I was just getting back into tri’s, but when I realized during the run portion of both triathlons that I would be able to PR, I was ecstatic. I finished the season with a strong desire to improve, so I cannot wait to see what next season holds!
4. Family trip to San Francisco
Believe it or not, our family trip to San Francisco was my first time going to the west coast! Since I was going off to college and my sister’s graduation was nearing, we figured this summer might be our last chance to take a trip as a family, so off to California we went! San Francisco was nothing like I expected it to be, but we had a blast nonetheless. Some trip highlights: eating all the amazing food, biking 20 miles to Tiburon, visitng Alcatraz, and driving down Highway 1. It was so great to explore a new place and spend time with family before we all went our separate ways.
5. Starting freshman year at Duke
Probably the most significant change this year has been leaving home and going to college! I’ve always imagined and dreamed about this moment, but I never really thought it would actually come. Move-in day was beyond stressful, and the first 2 weeks of college were honestly terrible, as I was thrown into a new environment with absolutely no familiarity. But with the help of counseling, amazing friends, and lots of phone calls home, I learned to adapt and fell completely in love with Duke. I (miraculously) finished the semester with all A’s and lots of goals for the upcoming semester. Here’s to more college adventures in 2017!