Highlights of 2016

This year was pretty long and challenging and stressful for just about everyone, but instead of thinking about the bad, take this time to reflect on all the good that came out of it. My life went through more changes in 2016 then probably any other year of my life! Sounds dramatic, but it’s definitely true. My year started off pretty rough with one of my friends in the hospital and going through a rough patch in my love life, but some of my wildest dreams actually came true this year and I really want to make sure I take the time to appreciate those blessings.

Twenty-Two

In January, I turned 22. January was a rough month for me, but it is ALWAYS a blessing to see another year. As a 22-year-old woman, I was a senior in college, in a committed relationship, and super stressed out about pretty much everything. But, I always remained positive and I knew that this time in my life would be crucial to my future.

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Finishing Up At EMU

My last semester at Eastern Michigan University was pretty eventful! I studied abroad for the second time (more on that ahead), went to a Cleveland Cavaliers game with my sports marketing class, edited for my campus paper The Eastern Echo, worked at Victoria’s Secret and Aldo, and applied to a ton of graduate schools!

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Being A McNair Scholar And Picking A Grad School

The graduate school search was rough, but I ended up getting accepted into SIX different schools! I owe a lot of that success to the McNair Scholars Program at EMU, it was truly a blessing to be apart of that organization.

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London & Paris

In addition to all my classes, jobs, and extra curriculars, there was one major thing that I accomplished while at EMU. I studied abroad… again! In February, one of my biggest dreams came true as I got on a plane and flew to Europe. My first time abroad was in Italy and I loved it so much, but my number one travel goal was always Paris. This year I saw Paris AND London and it was so incredible.

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Spontaneous Purple Ombré

Can we all just take second to remember my amazing purple hair?!

Graduating College!

I graduated with my bachelor’s degree in April and it was my greatest accomplishment so far. Education is something that no one can take away from you. It feels good to have done something all on your own and know that it will always be there. College is hard and graduating is scary, but it is also one of the best feelings I have ever experienced.

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My Last Summer In The Mitten

So, I finally picked a graduate school… Syracuse University! And that program just so happened to begin in JULY. Which meant that unlike my other grad school bound friends, I only had half of the summer to prepare for my new life. I hung out with friends and family, had an awesome graduation party, and packed my bags for Central New York.

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New Beginnings

Then, things really got crazy when I actually left my home state, started graduate school right away, and got my very first apartment! My studio is basically amazing ❤

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Orange Nation

In addition to living on my own in a new state, I also completed my first semester of graduate school over the summer, a.k.a. bootcamp! I met some of the most amazing friends ever. By the time the fall semester rolled around, I was loving my new home and the people in it. Despite going through a breakup and being away from my family for the first time, this move was the best decision I ever made. Me and my new friends saw Kesha at the New York State Fair, got to know the city of Syracuse, bonded over stressful interviews and deadlines, and ate a lot of food together!

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Art, Culture, & Fashion

Living somewhere other than Michigan has really opened up my eyes to all of the wonderful art and culture out there. Sure, I have been to Europe and visited many states, but it’s different when you actually live somewhere else. Through my summer and fall semesters at Syracuse I saw Sweeney Todd at the Opera, I saw Great Expectations and Mary Poppins at Syracuse State, I spent my Saturdays helping out at the cutest shop called Vintage Love, I held a real Oscar, I photographed a Shaping Sound performance, I covered multiple events for Syracuse Fashion Week, I attended the Toronto International Film Festival and saw six films, and I wandered through many exhibits and coffee shops.

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Building My Brand

While in Syracuse, I have edited for an online publication called TheNewsHouse.com, I was a student teacher for the first time, I got published by Syracuse.com, and I wrote a cover story the Syracuse New Times. I really enhanced my skills in InDesign, Photoshop, and Illustrator and was able to rebuild my website and make a much more attractive resume. I also got to meet and network with many industry professionals through lunches, emails, and panels. It has been such a privilege.

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#NoMakeupMovement

I also did something really good for myself this year when I took three weeks in October and decided to go completely natural: no makeup and no straightening my hair. It was harder than it seemed, but it was very necessary to become more comfortable in my own skin. I took professional photos during this time (a headshot and I was featured in a campus magazine), went to fashion events, conducted interviews… many things that I would usually wear makeup for. I’m really glad I did it though.

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Finishing Fall Semester & Winter Break

I ended the fall semester with all A’s and one B. It was challenging, but worth it! I made even more friends this past semester and we’ve had some pretty great times. My last few weeks of 2016 have been hectic, but good. My Christmas was great and now I’m in Chicago with my two best friends. As much as I love my home in New York, it’s always great to spend time with family and those childhood friends who are like family.

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Thank you 2016, you’ve been pretty good to me!

Have a safe and fun New Years Eve and thank you to every single person who supported my blog this year ❤

xoxo, Kayla

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