2011 in Review

Ariana, First Year Medical StudentI remember writing a blog post on the last day of 2010, still on a high after receiving the acceptance call from LLU, saying how 2011 was going to be the “biggest” year, thus far, in my life. It’s amazing how much has happened in the past 12 months. There were several periods where I didn’t think I would accomplish what I was shooting for, but for the most part, everything seemed to fall into place. So here is my not-so-generic 2011 Year in Review:

Craziest Adventure:
Backpacking thru 12 cities in 27 days in France, Spain, Switzerland, Italy. Racing to catch trains, getting lost in a foreign country, and staying in shady hostels, essential parts of backpacking, are things that EVERYONE must experience at least once in their life. There are things that you just need to experience in person. The culture, the vibes, the food, the smell, the sights. You can’t get that from a book or a photo. Go out and see the world; you won’t regret it.

Most Ridiculous Moment(s):
Being called “Jackie Chan” several times in Europe and being “rescued” by a lifeguard at Balboa Beach. The Jackie Chan thing was, at the time, pretty amusing to me but is harshly racist in hind site.

INVINCIBLE feeling:
I was riding a “high” for quite a while after my senior cello recital. I’m not a great performer by any stretch of the imagination, but being able to share something that I’ve worked on for 12+ years of my life (taking lessons) with friends and family was something I will treasure for the rest of my life.

Most Exhilarating Moment(s):
Standing atop of the “Arc de Triumphe” in Paris and seeing an amazing view of the “City of Lights” at night, jumping off a 10-15 ft. platform into the sea in Nicè, and hiking and swimming in the Cinque Terre in Italy.

Stressful “Pulling-Hair-Out” Time:
Toss up between preparing for my recital, planning a detailed itinerary for a 27-day Europe backpacking trip, and taking my 1st set of med school exams. The difference is that the first 2 had a tangible reward at the end of the stressfulness. Med school stress? Not so much. It’s more of a continuous stress that will probably never really go away. Some say 3rd and 4th years are better but it’ll just be a different kind of stress. Not being able to reap the “fruits of my labor” is tough and something I’m still getting used to.

Thing I’ll miss the most from 2011:
Traveling and Music. I LOVE traveling and I’m not sure when the next time I’ll be able to wreak havoc across the world for pure enjoyment will be. This coming summer is what many call the “last summer of our lives.” But I will most likely be in a lab, researching who knows what. There is so much more to see in the world and I will definitely go when I get the chance to (after graduation hopefully?). Music is also something I will sorely miss. I practiced so much in 2011 (mostly cramming for my recital) but I loved it and the stress of juggling all the performances and rehearsals throughout the week is something I will never have again to that extent.

Biggest Lesson(s) of 2011:
I learned that hard work truly does pay off (with the exception of med school). Another thing I learned was to appreciate the boring, mundane things of life. You don’t have to go to a different country, or even a different city to see something beautiful and amazing.

“Life is something that happens to you when you’re busy making other plans.” ~John Lennon (“Beautiful Boy”)

This quote sums it up perfectly. Life is seeing a friend for the 5th straight day or watching the sunset or talking on the phone to your family. Trust me, you don’t want to miss it.

So 2012 is here, and there is much to fear (I’m sorry, I couldn’t resist). I tried my best to catch up on politics this break and figure out who I want to be President of the United States. My relatives were adamant about not re-electing Pres. Obama for obvious reasons. I have never voted before but I will vote this time since it will probably have a direct effect on me and my financial status/burden in the upcoming years.

I decided to go big on New Years Resolutions this year. I want to learn Spanish this summer, become comfortable in the kitchen (cooking), read and learn about finance and economics, read read read more, do well in school (of course), and tons of personal well-being resolutions. It’s a long list and seems quite ambitious but, as Les Brown once said, “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you will land among the stars.”