Saturday, December 31, 2016


According to the internet, 2016 will go down in memory like this:

I can understand why. It was a tough year for me, too, in a lot of ways.

However, it was also a lot more than a dumpster fire. In some ways, it was downright fabulous. In the interest of promoting positivity and optimism, and without pretending that 2016 was actually perfect and not hard for many people, myself included, I've decided to share some of the ways 2016 was a great year for me. And so, in roughly chronological order...

This year I discovered Coldplay. I've always been aware of Coldplay's existence, and have liked some of their songs in the past, but this year they really just spoke to me. Five out of my top 16 songs from 2016 are Coldplay songs. I even got to go see them in concert at the end of the summer.

It. Was. Awesome. I don't know if I will ever go to another concert that cool. They gave out wristbands with multicolored LEDS that synched to the music, so the entire stadium was part of the lights show (along with lasers, lights, confetti, and giant balloons). They played for over 2 hours, which is just insane, and played SO WELL live. 

I took a French class on a whim at the beginning of the year. I'm by no means fluent, but I now understand/speak enough to have basic conversations in the language of love. I plan to one day speak 5 or 6 languages, so getting to 2.5 (English, Spanish, et un peu de Francais) is a good start!

I was on the BYU Ballroom Dance Company's 2:00 team this last year. The year's performances culminated in a huge Ballroom Dance Showcase that I got to be a part of in April.

Halfway through Winter semester, one of my friend suggested I try watching "A Crash Course in Big History," a series of YouTube videos about... well, everything, from the start of the universe to the end. Not only was it an awesome series of videos, but it introduced me to the geniuses behind the videos, John and Hank Green. I've since enjoyed watching lots more Green Brothers videos; I've also discovered this vast hidden world that is the educational side of YouTube, and have learned about everything from science to culture.

Two of my favorite Green Brothers videos: Are Poor Countries Doomed? and Towering Mountains of Ignorance.

I was published twice this summer (for the non-scientists in the room, a project I've been doing experiments for was published in a scientific journal--that's a pretty big mile marker in research!) Links here and here if you need help getting to sleep tonight.

A year and a half ago I attended a mocktail party, and decided that true happiness is sipping fruity non-alcoholic drinks surrounded by friends. This summer, I helped throw a mocktail party that included drinks, hors d'oeuvres, live music, and dancing.

This summer I jumped out of an airplane 1,300 feet above the ground. After 60 seconds of free-fall, I pulled the cord (or, the guy I was strapped to did) and glided down to the ground. It was amazing. I think all extreme sports are trying to be free fall--it is the definition of awesome. (No pictures because they were $60 and I'm cheap. Sorry.)

Rock Climbing
Last summer a few of my friends and I bought gear and became rock climbers. This summer we became contagious. We took lots of people climbing, and even convinced a few to buy their own gear so that they, too, could be climbers.

As if my summer wasn't already extreme enough towards the end of the summer my cousin invited me to go canyoneering. Free fall might be the most extreme experience possible, but canyoneering's combination of extreme (rappelling down 200' cliffs) and beautiful is something else entirely. 

Graduate School
The awesome didn't stop with the end of the summer. During Fall semester, I applied to graduate schools across the country so that I can get a PhD in Chemistry and go cure stuff. I got to fly to Los Angeles a few weeks ago to interview for a fellowship, and have already been accepted to Duke University in North Carolina (right next to where I grew up!)

While I was putting this together, I kept thinking of other awesome things that have happened this year, like hiking with my mom or going to a friend's house to watch General Conference. So, if I were to keep at it this post could get really, really long.

But I think I'll cut it off here. And hope that if 2017 ends up like 2016, it'll have as many awesome moments as 2016 did, too.

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