1. Graduating High School -- Graduation was so surreal to me. By June, I was already accepted to college and I realized that all of the SAT's, group projects, tutoring sessions, and all-nighters were so worth it. It was then that I realized that my next chapter was college, when I would be thrust into the real world and living essentially on my own.
2. Reaching 10K on Instagram -- When I started my Instagram to go along with Daily Dose of Prep, I told myself I would reach ten thousand followers within a year. It was a huge and extremely ambitious goal that I had and I refused to not meet it. Once I hit 10K, I realized that I can really take this whole blogging thing from a hobby and turn it into a career.
3. Moving Dorm Rooms -- Back in November I moved dorms at JMU. I got a lot of questions why but in the long run, all everyone needs to know is that it made me way happier at college than I was. Not only did my attitude completely change but I realized it was one of the first "adult decisions" I had to make. I didn't consult my parents or friends when deciding this, I truly went off of careful thought and intuition.
4. Working at Lilly Pulitzer -- I thank God everyday for my job at Lilly. I love being able to say that I work at the most colorful and happiest store in the mall. At the start of February I was desperate for a job outside of the food industry. It was a sign that the night I was searching for jobs, Lilly announced the store in Richmond. I applied that night and prayed I would get the position. I absolutely love working for Lilly Pulitzer!
5. Voting -- I turned 18 in July and one of my favorite gifts that being 18 gave me was being able to vote. I think exercising your Constitutional rights is so important and so was this year's presidential election. It turned out that when I registered to vote, the person who registered me gave false info, rendering my vote useless in the election. The only way to make my vote count was to drive home and cast my ballot -- so thats that I did. I drove home to cast my ballot in this years presidential election and I can say my vote didn't go unnoticed.
6. Moving to College -- Moving into college and being away at school in general has taught me so much about myself that staying at home wouldn't have been able to teach me. I have learned how to make decisions, manage my time, manage a bank account, and work harder than ever before in order to achieve something. Now, I'm not studying in order to get into college but I'm studying because I want to be the smartest person in the room and prove to myself that I can make the grades I want.
7. Teaching Scholarship -- In May, right before graduating, I received a scholarship for education. After a personal essay and a fully working lesson plan presentation I won a scholarship where the prize was a teaching contract. This means that I don't have to search for a job my senior year of college; I am already set up and ready to go when I graduate. Being able to return to the county that I went to high school in, and potentially return back to my high school I graduated from makes me that much more excited to have a classroom of my own!
8. Earning My Campus Foxhawk Position -- I set out on blogging with a few goals in mind and one of them was working with Kiel James Patrick. I have always adored both Kiel and Sarah's style and have really loved watching the company grow over the past few years. When I heard about the Campus representative program I knew I had to apply. I was fairly positive I wouldn't get the position just knowing how popular the brand was and how many people applied. When I got a second interview and then the acceptance package I couldn't contain my excitement. Hopefully in 2017, I'll be able to go to the factory and meet Kiel and Sarah but for now I'm just extremely grateful to be working with the program!
9. Rushing Alpha Delta Pi -- I wrote a few weeks back about my apprehension I had when joining a sorority. Looking back, I understand where those thoughts came from but oh boy do I love ADPi. If I didn't have my ADPi sisters, I don't know what I would do at JMU. I love being able to have a place to go, a group of forever friends, and a charity to hold near and dear. I love how low-key we are but I also adore the high standards and tradition that we uphold on campus.
10. Senior Year Tennis Season -- My senior year of high school on the tennis team was so fun. Being a captain with some of my best friends was one of my favorite high school memories. Although we didn't win states this year it was a great season with my tennis gals. Throughout high school, my strongest friendships were with my teammates and that might be one of the very few things I miss about high school.
11. Purchasing my Camera -- I told myself that I wouldn't spend a lot of money on making this blog work until I proved to myself that it was something I was going to stick with. As soon as I reached my 10K in one year goal along with being able to stick to my schedule, I knew that I was making Daily Dose of Prep work. I decided June was the perfect time to purchase my camera. I saved up all of my money and did a ton of research to pick out my Canon. Although I'm counting a purchase of a material good as a huge moment of 2016, to me it was a sign of commitment and passion.
12. Receiving an A in my Writing 103 Class -- As silly as it sounds, one of my proudest moments this year was receiving an A in my writing class this past semester. The second I walked into this class I could tell it was easily my toughest class I took last semester. The teacher was a harsh grader and asked a lot of her students. I worked harder in that class than I think I ever did in high school and am so happy with the results. I learned so much in that class and called my mom as soon as I received my final grade.
13. Finding my Confidence -- At some point in 2016 I found my confidence. It wasn't like I was walking on the street, saw it lying there, and picked it up but I guess in 2016 all of my thoughts about myself came together. I guess putting pictures of myself online for everyone to see and judge really helps a person appreciate their body and their flaws.
14. Thanksgiving Break -- Over Thanksgiving break my sister, Leslie, surprised my family by coming home after 7 months of living in Austin. She has lived there since June and I hadn't seen her since she had left Richmond then. We were under the impression that she wouldn't be home until Christmastime but she ran into the house the day before Thanksgiving! It was the best surprise!
15. Christmas in the Smith House -- My sister, Libbie, is graduating next Spring and my parents have been entertaining the though of moving out to the more rural side of Richmond. All around the West End, the development has been popping up which brings traffic, apartment complexes, and shopping centers everywhere. My dad mentioned on Christmas that 2016 is most likely the last Christmas in this house. I have only ever lived in this one house so I wanted to make sure to cherish it.
16. Connect with People -- This is a broad "moment" but it is something really special to me. Since deciding to put myself into the "public eye" through blogging and social media, I have had the incredible opportunity to connect with so many people. Whether it be through someone coming up to me at work and telling me they read my blog, or having someone email me for advice, I am so grateful that so many of you consider me to be a friend and have welcomed me into your life.