Hello 2018

Photo by Elliott Chau
I'm not going to lie, I'm a mess. And I'm still going to be a mess by the end of this year. However, I'm still going to try to make some goals this year. They're not necessarily resolutions because New Year's resolutions I feel like you have to change yourself completely and it almost feels inflexible, plus its also pretty cliché. Goals, on the other hand, can be made anytime, it's flexible, and not as wordy.
So here are some of my goals for this year:
  • Be more honest with myself. After doing a lot of thinking these past few days, I've realized that part of the reason why I've been unhappy, especially as 2017 drew to a close was that I haven't been entirely honest with myself. Not with how was I feeling, not with what I really wanted, nor with what I expected out of myself and others. So, I'm going to try to be more honest with myself and actually make an effort to find the cause of my unhappiness and do something about it instead of letting it run.
  • Read for pleasure for fifteen minutes a day. I need to remember why I chose to surround myself with books, why did I choose to become an English major in the first place. And that can't be done if I'm constantly reading what other people want me to read.
  • Drink at least eighty fluid ounces of water every day. I just want a healthier body and water is one great way of achieving that.
  • Blog at least once a month. I know I always make this goal every single year, but this year I'm actually going to try. I've learned that it's easier to do something if you plan it. For this goal, in particular, that means actually thinking of content, making the time to draft it, edit it, and then posting it. And that could take a while. However, I will do my best to try. 
Ther are of course other goals, but they're more personal. Plus, these are the ones that I'm more likely to work on throughout the year if I remember them of course.

How about you? What are your goals that you want to work on throughout the year? Is there a particular one that you always make every year?

And now the weather: 

~ Stacy N.
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Goodbye 2017

Photo by Adam Birkett
Looking back, I viewed 2017 in a negative light. And I was right to a certain extent. Trump proved to be a jackass by banning trans people from enlisting in the military (thankfully that's been repealed). Threatening some Vietnamese immigrants with deportation even though they're protected under an agreement made back in 2008 between the U.S. and Vietnam that allows those who came to the U.S. before 1995 to stay even if they have deportation orders. As well as, taking away the DACA program, and other measures. It also didn't help that 2016 wasn't a good year for me personally, so that helped shape my view of what I thought 2017 was going to be.
However, this year I learned a lot. I learned about the incredible solidarity and human empathy people can have for each other. I learned just how powerful money can speak in this world, whether it's used for good or bad. And how small and kind of pity my problems are in the grand scheme of the universe, and how humbling that is.
2017 was a year of growth and getting better (or at least trying). Whether it was drinking more water, trying out the bullet journal system, finding out my sleep schedule, getting out of my comfort zone, etc. Overall, trying to find out what works for me and what didn't.
I've also had a lot of amazing opportunities this year from being an editor over at the Stay Bookish zine (link) to being a treasurer for AASA. From being a secretary for VASA to being an unexpected dog owner. And honestly, yes it's a lot of hard work and quite stressful at times, but it's been pretty fun, and I wouldn't trade in those experiences for anything else in the world.
To be honest, I didn't expect myself to travel quite a bit more this year. Whether it was to Arizona, Washington, or even Colorado where along the way I've met quite a medley of people who still help me continue to grow to this day. I've also met an interesting group of people in Utah and connected more with some of the people I've already known.
And I know that it sounds cheesy when I say that I wouldn't change anything (well maybe a few parts, I'm still a bit of a perfectionist) but overall, it's been a good year for me personally. Yeah, there are a few bumps along the way, and truth be told I'm not in the greatest place mentally right now, but I still wouldn't trade it in for anything the whole world, even Hamilton tickets. Hopefully, 2018 will be just as okay.

And now the weather:
Stargazing by Kygo ft. Justin Jesso
 ~ Stacy N.
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Photo by Tuur Tisseghem
Give me something to think about, and my thoughts will cycle around and around it like an obsessive wolf circling her prey.
I know exactly what to do to get out of it, but still there's a part of me that's resistant. That's afraid of the consequences.
So to get out of that cycle, I work and focus on something else. Whether that's schoolwork, actually being at work, some club officer stuff, or whatever.
It works for a moment. But when it's quiet, while I'm driving, listening to music, reading, or watching videos, or whatever, my mind can't help but go back to circling those thoughts. About my future, certain parts of my past, about me in general, or even other things.
I don't know how or what to feel. It's just there like some kind of glob, and I'm not sure if I want to sort it out.
So I write it all out, but I don't know if that's going to help.
I take a moment to breathe because what else can I do?

And now the weather:
idontwannabeyouanymore by Billie Eilish
~ Stacy N.
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A reading memoir

Photo by Jay Mantri
Reading never really interested me until the summer after sixth grade. But the funny thing is, throughout elementary school, I was always involved in reading, somehow, some way. In first grade, I was part of the AR (Advanced Reading) club that mainly tested my reading comprehension. I would read a variety of books and then take a test about the book. And the only reason why I was in it was because my first-grade teacher, Ms. Howard, oversaw the whole program and, I guess she saw potential in me and asked me to be a part of it. I agreed because it gave me something to do after school. But that was really one of the only times when I actually read. When I got home from school, I would usually watch TV or play.
My older sister also used to take my siblings and me to the library a lot and read to us there, even checking out some books to read to us at home. That was fun, and it piqued up my interest, but I mainly just went because I wanted to check out some of the movies and grab a free cookie on the way home or some ice cream from Arctic Circle if my sister was nice enough to buy some that day.
It wasn’t until the third or fourth grade when I got slightly more interested in reading. My teacher, Ms. Meenen, was reading a fantasy book to the class about dragons. I wanted to read along and better envision the story. So, the next day when the class went to the library, I got the book and read along with her. It was very interesting, and I genuinely enjoyed the story, but that still didn’t really inspire me to want to read on my own.
It wasn’t until sixth grade when my teacher, Ms. Hansen made everyone do reading bingo that I started to read more on my own. Basic gist, as part of our Language Arts grade, we had to independently read five books from different genres and then write a little paper on the book. I learned a lot about FDR, read Marley and Me and cried of course, and in general actually start going to the county library by myself. However, what made me really enjoy reading was the book Dragon Rider by Cornelia Funke. It was unlike anything I’ve ever read before, dragons, a journey, and adventure. That made me want to read more books like it and other books in general. And I did, and I haven’t stopped since.
In conclusion, dragons helped me gain a love of reading.

And now the weather:
Rich Love by OneRepublic
~ Stacy N.
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Why I protest

Photo by Alice Donovan Rouse
Protests, fear, curiosity.
Why do I continue to go? Even though I know that it could get violent; even though I'm tired of the fact that we have to continually fight for what seems like the same things over and over again; even though most of the people in charge won't care that much, etc. Why do I continue to go?
Because it would feel wrong of me not to go. Because I find it one of the best proactive methods of showing your displeasure with a system that I realize was built on social injustice. Because it's effective to a certain extent. Because protesting is a privilege and I should use that privilege often and do it for others who can't be able to make it for whatever reason.
Because I want future generations to live in a slightly better world, even though I know everything won't change overnight that it may not change at all, in fact. I still want to fight for a future that is hopefully a bit better than this current state, for a generation that deserves to be treated like a human being, who shouldn't walk around in fear. And I know it's going to take centuries or maybe even a millennium or never for discrimination to go away, but at least fighting is better than being silent. Silence means that you've given up, that you've sided with the oppressors, that you just don't care for a better world. A better world that can't happen if people don't do anything.

And now the weather:
Surefire by John Legend
~ Stacy N.
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