Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 in review -- mostly in pictures.

2013 is going away.

What a year it has been.
I've become a MAJOR nerd. Like, you have no idea how much school is bringing out my quirkiness. All of this intense gaining of knowledge can't be good for one.

While I have largely neglected blogging save to post about the "stresses" of my life (blogging is a lovely outlet) there have been many great things to happen too. I will do a countdown of the interesting/important/not-so-important life events thus far:

I learned to grade essays.
In the spring 2013 semester, I was able to TA for my advisor. (If that doesn't get brownie points, I don't know what will.) It was an interesting experience, especially in what was my second semester at college. I graded ~ 250 papers over the semester and gained a whole new appreciation for teachers everywhere. To give a fair, thoughtful grade requires quite a bit of work, especially when one is grading opinion/persuasive essays. It also allowed me to see what some college kids feel is acceptable. Is there hope for the future?

I fried bugs for 100 students. 
bug stir fry!
I TA-ed for another class the Fall 2013 semester. It was hands-on, lots of demos, and so much fun. It took quite a bit of effort, but I gained a great appreciation for what professors and their TA's do.

I assisted with research projects.
Over the summer, I worked with two students on their master's research projects. I learned so much from helping them out with their projects. Before, I didn't really know what went into being a grad student, but this experience made me see that I would probably very much enjoy this sort of thing. 

Dare I say it? ...I'm excited for grad school.

I am finished with Organic Chemistry. 
FOREVER AND EVER. I am so joyful! I was never so glad for a C+ in my life. 

I now have a job in an analytics lab! 
Major nerd excitement.
My bench.
I'm learning to operate one of these:
HPLC machine
I'm learning the science jargon for simple things. I guess it's the way scientists weed out who actually "knows the lingo" because really, the stuff I'm doing isn't terribly complicated. There's something somewhat amusing about attempting to explain what exactly one has been working on in lab. People tend to glaze over and smile politely. I've learned how to communicate my research somewhat simply.

I got this fortune cookie after I had spent all day frustrated in lab: 
It gave me HOPE. 

I will interrupt my list by the realization that most of my major activities for 2013 were academic.
It's a bit depressing that I've dedicated so much time and energy to school. 

I know that this year was one of the most stressful heretofore.  
I had to learn coping strategies.  
I'm learning to deal now by living one day at a time, living in the present moment.

I've whined written plenty about it, let's move on.

 There were other things I did, just let me think…
Ooh! I learned to dance.
I adore dancing. Salsa, swing, shag, waltzing. I wish there was more time for it. So that's something new.

I learned to wait tables.
As silly and simple as that sounds, I had never experienced this sort of exhaustion before. It's not so much the physical exhaustion [though my forearms could potentially rival Popeye's at this point from lifting trays] as it is a mental head game. I am an introvert, so walking up to countless seated strangers, attempting to be likable, and asking what they'd like to eat and try to accommodate their every need (without hovering too much) left me drained at the end of my shifts and zombie-like. When you work for ~$2/hr, you very much hope you do nothing to peeve the customer.
I appreciate good service so much more now.
And over the summer, I gained regular customers! I consider that a win.
I have humorous anecdotes as well from serving. At some point, they'll be relayed.

I went outdoor rock climbing for the first time. 
annnnd I loved it.

I am still trying to learn to play music.

I began to learn the mandolin, and I've been playing my other instruments off and on. Music is so incredibly soothing. Maybe someday I'll play in front of people.

I tried to go on new adventures whenever possible. 

I have gotten so many neat experiences in. 
The longer I sit here dwelling on the past year, the more wonderful times I remember. 

What a fantastic gift life is. 

So here's to 2013. 

Who knows what 2014 will hold? 
Always there will be adventure. 

“An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered.” 
― G.K. Chesterton

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