The end of the year always seems to be a time of reflection and rethinking about the past 12 months and preparing for the next 12. People make New Year’s resolutions, some for dieting and exercising, some to be a better person, some to be more awesome (to quote some friends from Facebook), and numerous other ones. For me, I’m trying to post at least once a week. With a “freer” schedule next semester, I have more time to devote to other pursuits including working more and blogging.
Now, for that reflection that I always do at the end of every year::
Overall, 2011 was a mixed year for me. On the negative side, I realized I have an overwhelming desire to please people in what I write rather than sticking to my guns when it comes to some research papers. My capstone project proved that. At the beginning of the semester, I chose to switch research topics and decided to write on the California and Klondike gold rushes rather than early modern England. The entire process exhausted and frustrated me as the semester wore on. But in hindsight, it was because I placed an extremely high standard for myself and lost confidence in my abilities as I wrote. I did, however, grow as a historian, researcher, and student because of it. Others recognized my struggles and helped me to figure out why I stumbled. That support made me realize I was not alone or unique in my problems, and that no one was going to lose faith in me or my abilities because I lost confidence in myself.
Beyond that, the year brought numerous positive events in my life. First and foremost has been reenacting. It all began when I began a spring internship at the Trimborn Farm in Greendale, WI. Little did I know a former classmate and friend of mine was a caretaker at the farm. His wife and I quickly became good friends, and she subtly coerced me to try on reenacting clothes one day. I had briefly expressed my interest in the hobby, and the end of the semester saw my first event in Illinois. Although the May weekend saw us chilled to the bone because of sleeting rain, I realized I found something that suited me to a T. I was immediately hooked. Since then, I have made great connections with several living historians and networked with others which will only benefit in the future. Beyond that, I have made lifelong friends who have become my second family. Plus, I get to dress in funny clothes and play a happy taverner’s niece when the sun goes down. Now, how many young women my age can say that?
If there is one thing that hasn’t changed this year, it’s been my relationship status. Single I’ve been for the past three years, and it does not bother me unduly. It’s strange though since most of my close friends are in long-term relationships/engaged, and it always causes me to wonder what’s going to happen when I meet that person. Sure I suffered heartache this year, but I’m pretty resilient and look for the next thing. There’s no point in looking behind when there’s usually something better in the future, right?
And for the next year? Applying for grad schools. In the midst of the mental turmoil from capstone, I made the decision to take a year off from full-time school. I need a break. But, for those who know me closely, I can’t sit still for long. I’ll be working, taking one or two classes to keep myself academically stimulated, research for conference papers and freelance (or just blogging), and extending my connections even farther. I’m going to constructively use my time before I decide on graduate school. As it stands, I have five programs to consider: University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee for a dual degree in history/library science; the same thing between Dominican and Loyola Universities in IL; dual degree in public history and museum studies from a school in Cooperstown, NY; an MS in Information from the University of Michigan, and of course, returning to Lancaster for my history masters. I have other programs to consider as well, and I’m not wanting to limit myself to just remaining in the States. International travel is in my blood, and if all goes as planned (which life never does), I’ll be visiting Lancaster in June.
And there’s a lot more blah blah blah I could reflect on, but the above is the most important. As it stands, 2011 might not have been as action-packed as 2010, but that is what is exciting about 2012. That, and the impending (zombie) apocalypse will make for some interesting conversations, eh? Happy New Year!