Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 Reflections

These end of the year reflection blogs are some of my favorite blogs to write! I love looking back on the year that I've had. I definitely slacked in blogging this year, therefore this is a bit wordy because I certainly have plenty to write about! Most of the writing I did this year I chose to keep private. I've tried really hard this year to minimize how much of my life I make public, and am happy with the success I've had!

So with that.... this was my 2015!

To Move or Not to Move
When I rang the 2015 year in, I had intentions of packing up my life and moving to California. I wasn't happy in Bird City and I wanted and really needed a change. While it was such an exciting step for me to make, it was also one that terrified me. There were so many unknowns and I couldn't shake the uneasy feeling that I got when it came closer and closer to me making the move. After countless debates back and forth in my mind between a regret of not moving and the relief of not disrupting my life and making a potential mistake, I finally realized that I wasn't making the move with my best interests in mind. I was taking the leap a little too quickly and it was just something I was not at all ready for. I think the part that held me back the most was the fear of failure. Leaving my comfort zone was my biggest obstacle. That decision came with a whole lot of tears and heartbreak as I told my friends in California that I wouldn't be moving. However they were incredibly accepting of my decision and supported me 100% even through the disappointment I'm sure that they were hiding. That's what you call true friends =)

Now I can't say that I wouldn't have been happy in Cali. I honestly think that if I would have moved, things probably would have fallen into place and worked out just fine for me. However making the choice, no matter how hard it was, to put myself first was a HUGE milestone for me. At the end of 2014 I made the decision that I needed to concentrate and work on ME this year. To uncover my own identity and figure out what I wanted and needed in life. That was just the first step of many that I have to take!

To New York!
Before January, I had never been any further east than Topeka, Kansas. My friend Bob grew up in New York and he drove cross country from California to New York to spend his first winter break with his family in Lafayette, just south of Syracuse. I had the opportunity to take about a week off of work, so I purchased a one way ticket to fly to New York to experience the east coast and do a 1/2 cross country drive back to Kansas! The flight was a nightmare, but after a 2 hour delay due to deicing the plane, a missed connection, and then a layover, I made it to Syracuse!

While there I got to experience the best coffee I've ever tasted (that's saying something as I'm not really a coffee drinker!), ice skating for the very first time (and didn't fall down!), 2 Syracuse basketball games, Funk'n Waffles, amazing BBQ, sushi and Sake Bombs for the first time, and I met a whole bunch of new people and had such a fun time!

Top and Bottom Left: Syracuse Basketball Games
Top Right: Ice Skating at Clinton Square
Bottom Right: Delicious Waffle at Funk 'N Waffles 
ASCP Certified
In February I took the ASCP certification test to become a certified phlebotomist. I had been studying for the exam since September 2014 in preparation to become certified in the state of California as a phleb. I also have been wanting to take the exam as it will help me in my goal to become an MLT/MT and also just to prove to myself that I am skilled and know my stuff! I was absolutely ecstatic when the screen came up and told me that I passed! I got almost double the required score to pass further proving that I am very competent in phlebotomy and all of my hard work has paid off.

The very first thing I did after I passed my test was to text Theresa. She replied telling me how proud she was of me and that she knew I could do it. We had planned to talk on the phone that night or the next day, but unfortunately that text was the very last I heard from Theresa before she passed away that day due to a brain aneurysm.

Another Difficult Loss
Waking up that morning to that news was absolutely devastating. I cannot even express the sorrow that was in my heart and honestly still is. Never have I let out a sob so fierce in my life. I will forever be grateful for my friend who answered my blubbering phone call at 4 in the morning... for my sister coming to sit with me that morning as I cried... for my boss allowing me to take off work that morning so I could compose myself... to my mom who took me out for lunch and let me talk and cry... and for all of the support I received from my friends and family who understood how difficult that loss was for me. Your kindness didn't go unnoticed.

Losses never get easier. Whether it is a spouse, a family member, or a dear friend, each of them strikes your heart in a completely different way. I've had my fair share, but Theresa's death hit me deep down to my very core. Nearly a year later I still struggle with her death. When I talk about her I still shed a tear. Her friendship was so real and I truly thought she'd be the constant in my life for years to come that I had been missing. I miss her dearly, and she will always be in my heart.

Work Success
I had many successes at work this year as phlebotomist and our organ donor committee president. I was nominated employee of the month for the second time, I successfully did an arterial blood gas on a patient under Karen's supervision, earned a raise, had an awesome lab week and job shadow day in the lab, and made Blue and White day for Organ donor week a success by hosting a walk and presentation that pulled in more participants than expected.

Big Move Turned Little
After deciding that I wasn't going to make a huge move to California I decided to make a little move into a cute little apartment in Benkelman. As stated before, really needed a change and moving 30 minutes north into the town that I worked was just what I needed to keep me happy and sane. I really enjoyed living in Benkelman. It was nice only having a 3 minute walk to work, being closer to the majority of my friends, and not having to drive if I wanted a fun night out!

But eventually I began to feel stuck again. I was happy working at DCH, and I loved my job and my friends, however I couldn't escape the feeling that I wanted more for myself. After having a pretty low moment and heavy discussion with my mom one night around midnight, I made the choice to look into going back to school and getting my degree as an MLT. Things moved pretty quickly after that. I applied to Mid Plains Community College in North Platte and was accepted into the MLT program.

So far returning to school has been a huge success for me! I ended fall semester with a 4.0 GPA and honestly couldn't be more proud of myself. It's an accomplishment I didn't know I was capable of. It's been very exciting actually learning the things that I want to do with my career! I can't believe that the fall semester flew by so quickly. I will graduate with my MLT degree Spring of 2017. Only 3 more semesters of classes and a semester of clinicals and I will be well on my way to starting my career... Oh, and paying off all this student loan debt!

Quitting my job was extremely difficult but the prospect of getting my degree and working as a tech alongside Karen, Mike, and Emilee is so exciting for me. It's what I've been waiting to do for the last 2 years! The decision to go back to school was fully supported and encouraged by my family, friends, and coworkers. They have had my back from day one and continue to support me through this journey!

Ed Sheeran and California
I knew that after starting school the trips that I was going to be able to make would be pretty limited so I decided to fit a few in where I could! At the end of June my sister and I went to the best concert I've ever been to! We saw Ed Sheeran at the Red Rocks Amphitheater in Colorado. We paid a pretty penny for the tickets but it was completely worth it and I don't know about Shayna, but I'd do it again in a heartbeat! Opening for Ed Sheeran was Rixton, a band that I've been following for awhile and love! I completely forgot about it and so when they came on stage I got so excited! Glad that we got to take our annual concert trip. Wonder what's in store for 2016?!

Just a day after getting back from Colorado with my sister, I left again to the airport to take one last adventure to California to visit my friends for the Forth of July! It was so much fun and I got to see nearly all of my friends who live in Cali... and then some! I stayed in LA the first half and then stayed in South Pasadena for the second half. Glad I made that trip happen. Although I wish I could see my friends more often and they didn't live all over the map, it is really fun having them in different locations so I can experience new things!

During my vacation I received probably the best ice breaker message from a guy that I've ever received! It was enough to peek my interest and when I returned back home we went on our first date. At first we were both a little skeptical that it would work out, however a first date that seemed to have no end and 6 months later.... things couldn't be better! He hooked me by taking me fishing, we went to the Benkelman and Chase County Fairs, went to a Huskers game, have had many dinners together, spent lots of time with family, and have had lots of dates since we met. I feel so fortunate to have been introduced to Josh and have him in my life. He's opened my eyes up to so many things again since Spencer and he makes me so, so happy. It has definitely been one of the best highlights of 2015! We've been taking it one step at a time and are enjoying getting to know each other and taking advantage of spending time together every moment we can. I'm very excited to see where everything goes =)

August was definitely a whirlwind of a month! I got a job working as a lab assistant/phlebotomist at Great Plains Health, moved to North Platte, and became a student again! I'm currently living on campus in the dorms as it's really the only option as I'm going through school. It's been difficult to adjust to living with people again and tough to be on campus with mostly 18 year olds... but I've met a few awesome people that make it not-so-bad! Unfortunately the job I had at Great Plains Health didn't work out for me with juggling school and getting back into the swing of studying, and so after a major viral illness that landed me in the hospital overnight, I decided that school was my full time job and I needed to prioritize to put less stress upon myself. So I am now your classic definition of that broke college student ;-)

The last big trip of the year came in October. My sister has never been to the mountains before and her bucket list consisted of hiking in the mountains during fall right as all the colors change. Well this year she got pretty lucky and I had an additional day tacked onto my weekend right at the leaves were changing. So we headed up to Estes Park and hiked several miles to several different lakes. It was breathtaking, exhausting, but so much fun and it's a trip that I'd definitely like to take again!

I am so happy with how this year has ended for me. I'm so proud of where I've ended up, the lessons I've learned, and how much I have accomplished throughout 2015. I have a feeling that 2016 is going to be a heck of a year and I'm so excited to get it started!