As 2014 comes to a close in the coming days, I can without a doubt say that this year has been one of the best years I've experienced in my mere twenty-one years of life. Yes, that probably seems feeble to say that so far this is my best year, but it is. 2014 has opened doors for me in more ways than one and I'm incredibly grateful. If you've read my blog at all in the past year, you'll know that I've written about almost all of my favorite experiences, so there's no point in (completely) reiterating them in this grand end-of-the-year post. Instead, I'm going to recount 14 things I learned in 2014, because learning all these things helped me to have a fantastic year.
1. I learned that Valentine's Day can still be fun even if you are (eternally) single.
Most of you who know me and read my blog know that I am (probably eternally) single. However, Valentine's Day 2014--ahem, Single Awareness Day 2014--was the best ever, because not only did I get to lay around and eat chocolate and watch rom coms all night long, but I got to do it with my BFF. Julie came up on Valentine's Day weekend and we got all dolled up and went out to dinner to celebrate our singleness and then went back to my dorm and watched sappy movies with Meg Ryan while eating Frango mints that my mom sent us.
Basically, it was the greatest day ever, and I learned that even though you may be (eternally) single, Valentine's Day can be really fun, as long as you spend it with the right people.
2. I learned that there's a dinosaur whose name literally translates into the Dragon King of Hogwarts.
This fall I began working at the Ball State Digital Publishing Studio and let me just say, it's basically the best job ever. But, with it being the best job ever, I--along with my co-worker Katy--have gotten some of the coolest projects ever. My favorite has been getting to work on an app for the Indianapolis Children's Museum about their Dinosphere exhibit called "Know Your Dinos". It's an educational app for children ages 6-10 that teaches ten about the different dinosaur eras and Dinos in a fun, engaging and educational way.
I've never been a huge fan of dinosaurs (although I did enjoy going to the Field Museum to see Sue and watching the Rex in Toy Story), but this project has been so much fun. The first dino we really worked with to prototype the app was Dracorex hogwartsia. Yes, you read that right: Dracorex hogwartsia, also known in the paleontology world as "The Dragon King of Hogwarts" and known to children and Potterheads as the Harry Potter dino, which basically translates into Hannah's most favorite dino on the face of the planet.
What are the odds that I, a still obsessed 21-year-old Harry Potter fan, would get to learn about and work on an app about the Harry Potter dino?! Anyways. The development process of this app is an experience I'll never forget, because a) Harry Potter, b) we got to go to the Dinosphere at the museum, c) I got a piece of fossilized amber that was excavated from a dinosaur bone (just like in Jurassic Park, how cool is that?!) and d) I can now say that I basically have an honors degree in paleontology (well, at least I think I should have an honorary degree).
3. I learned how grateful I am for my home state of Indiana
I have lived in Indiana for all of my 21 years of life, and it wasn't until now that I am truly appreciating my home state. My friend Katy is almost a poster child for loving Indiana and the Indianapolis area so much, and this semester she's been able to show me the nooks and crannies of different parts of the Indy area before and are seriously so cool. I've also learned to appreciate Whiting more now that I am realizing my career will most likely take me out of Indiana. I love my home state, and I'm grateful for everything I have learned--and continue to learn--here.
4. I learned that Sir Paul McCartney can play for almost a full three hours without taking a sip of water until the first encore.
I had the awesome chance to see the one and only Sir Paul McCartney in concert with my family over the summer, and it was literally the greatest show I have ever been to. Ever. And, literally, I don’t know how Sir Paul McCartney does it. The man is 72 years old (!) and he played for almost three whole hours, which included TWO encores. He played for this long and did not take one sip of water until he broke for the first encore. NOT ONE SIP OF WATER. Who does that? Sir Paul McCartney, that’s who. Many props to the Beatle for putting on a phenomenal show that was 39 songs long and having more energy for three hours than I usually have for a span of 15 minutes (if I’m lucky). The man literally must have taken some Elixir of Life from Harry Potter or something, because he had the same amount of energy as a four year old who was just given a bag of Pixie Sticks. So, universe, how does Sir Paul McCartney do it?!
5. I learned that Sue the T.rex at the Field Museum in Chicago has her own Twitter account
For one #ThrowbackThursday I posted a photo of seven-year-old me with Sue the T. rex at the Field Museum on Instagram. It also posted to Twitter and Facebook. A few hours after posting, I learned that Sue the T. rex has her own Twitter account, because she tweeted back at me. It was simultaneously the greatest and weirdest thing that has ever happened to me.
6. I learned that you must always have two forms of ID with you when you go to the bars.
No matter how much you look like the picture on your ID, no matter how many of your friends tell the bouncer that you are indeed who you say you are, you must always have two forms ID on you when you go to the bars because you will have to call someone to bring you your wallet.
7. I learned that not all Mormons walking down Michigan Avenue are from The Book of Mormon.
Over the summer, I had an internship in Chicago. One of the days while I was walking back to the train station, I saw some Mormons walking down Michigan Avenue. As soon as I saw them, I, the person who obsessively talks about how she wants her life to be a Broadway Musical, almost, I kid you not, started singing them music from the musical The Book of Mormon. Then I, who had seen The Book of Mormon two summers ago, realized that BOM was no longer in Chicago and the cast was not walking the streets of the city in costume.
Lesson learned: Not all Mormons are cast members of a Broadway musical.
It's like the old saying goes: "Life is too short to not like catchy Taylor Swift songs." Actually, that's not an old saying, but it is a saying and I quite agree with it. No matter how much I tried to not like Tay's new album 1989, it just didn't work. I will shamelessly say I'm obsessed and love just about every song. Even the annoying ones.
9. I learned that you don't have to commit some terrible crime to be on the front page of the newspaper.
I mean, unless you can categorize dressing like an old Polish lady and polkaing down the street a crime...and let me tell you, I polkaed down that street like no one has ever seen.
10. I learned that hanging up frames straight on a wall is not my strong suit.
Really. It isn't. Just take a look at my walls in my bedroom in my apartment. Everything is crooked.
11. I learned that I have some of the greatest friends anyone could ask for.
Really. I don't know how anyone can put up with me. I swear, I do the most random things, like start singing to myself as I'm working, and not actual songs. I'll straight up add singing commentary to what's going on in my brain. Or how I literally form relationships with my television when I watch reruns of Friends ("WAS IT A BREAK? WAS IT REALLY?" "GET OFF THE PLANE RACHEL!!! GET OFF THE DAMN PLANE!!!" "COULD I BE ANYMORE EXCITED ABOUT WATCHING THIS EPISODE FOR THE SEVENTEENTH TIME?!?!?"). Or how about once every 1-2 weeks or so I talk about how I'm eternally single and will end up becoming a crazy hairless cat lady because I am allergic to cats. Also, in this scenario, the cats also hate me so really I'm all alone.
But really, the point of this is that I thoroughly enjoy every friendship I have in my life, because somehow, all of my friends are almost just as weird or awkward as I am. Whether these friends are the people I see everyday or friends I only see a few times a year, they're some of the greatest people I know, and they're most of the reason why I've had an incredibly fantastic year.
12. I learned that I, an athletically challenged couch potato and Netflix extraordinaire, passed my Physical Fitness & Wellness class.
Yes mom, you read that right. I passed. Not with an A, but with a B, but a B is still passing so HA!
13. I learned that I couldn't be happier with what I have decided to do with my life.
I am not going to lie, work and projects for school pretty much consume 97% of my time. Because of this, I don't go out that much and I'm on campus a lot, which sometimes sucks, I'll admit it. But, one night I was working with Katy in the studio on our "Know Your Dinos" app for the Indy Children's Museum and I realized something. We worked in the studio for the majority of the day, and then worked more when we got home. I didn't go to sleep until almost 3AM that night. But, at the end of this very late and exhausting work day (early morning?) in which I questioned my sanity numerous times, I was still able to say with the utmost confidence that I love what I have decided to do with my life. I love my major and I love my jobs in the Digital Publishing Studio and in Unified Media, and I am very, very grateful for the amazing opportunities that Ball State has given me thus far. I don't know many people who can stay up until 3AM and still confidently say, "Man, I really love my job," before they go to sleep without an ounce of irony in their voice. I say this every night before I go to sleep because I genuinely love the profession I have chosen to dedicate my life to. Design and journalism is something I am incredibly passionate about, and the greatest thing about it is that since I love what I do, it doesn't feel like work one bit.
14. I learned that becoming an adult, while really fun, is really, really hard.
My mom laughed the first time I called her after doing a bunch of adult things and said, "Mom, being an adult is hard." I laughed with her too, but it's true: being an adult is hard. This year, I learned to commute to downtown Chicago three days a week by myself. I live in an apartment where I have to cook my own meals and clean my bathroom and wash dishes. I have a car that I use to go back and forth to work and school. I have a freelance job. I grocery shop. Through all of these things (and more) I have learned to become an adult, and it is both fun and incredibly scary. It's hard to remember that I have to clean my bathroom or make sure that I go grocery shopping so I can actually eat. It's hard to balance work, school and free time (if there is any free time).
Yes, all of this stuff is scary, but it's definitely preparing me for the day I get my first big kid job and move away from home. The things my parents have taught me have definitely helped me learn about being an adult. Being an adult is hard, but in the long run, I know it'll be worth it.
1. I learned there's a nail polish named after me.
2. I learned that I can actually take semi-hipster photos on Instagram.
3. I learned that getting a tattoo really hurts, but it's worth it because it's really cool.
4. I turned 21 and learned that Applebee's has really good margaritas.
5. I learned how to book a spring break trip to Disney World and Harry Potter world and a trip to Washington DC for the SND DC conference all by myself.
Favorite Blog Posts from 2014:
These are just some of the things I've learned in 2014. I'm so excited to see what I'm going to learn and experience in 2015.
Happy New Year, everyone!