As the year comes to an end, I tend to do lots of reflection. I think it's a great way to close out the year and fully absorb all that occurred, or at least try to. I typically ask myself similar questions every year, such as what areas I saw the most growth, what changed, what I learned, what adversity I faced and how I moved past it, etc. However, this year I recently listened to a podcast by Jay Shetty called 7 Powerful Questions to Successfully Reflect on 2022 & End the Year with Confidence, so I'm going to steal a few of those questions to reflect on my year :)
1) What is a challenge that you've overcome this year?
I have always been a very independent person, so I wouldn't say that I ever struggled with this. That said, moving halfway across the world to live in two non-English-speaking countries takes independence to a whole new level. This year, I had to take on extra responsibilities that I never had to deal with or at least fret about in the states, such as all my legal matters (regarding immigration/ residency), insurances, taxes, and new ways of life. With this came multiple challenges. In Germany, I had some immigration/ residency issues that I had to deal with. Thankfully, everything got sorted out, but when you are trying to adjust to a new life and figure all that out in another language it makes matters quite complex. Additionally, living in another country with different ways of life is a challenge in itself. I had never really used public transport before going to Europe, and now I can happily say I am a pro!! Public transportation and traveling independently within another country/ continent are now a breeze for me. All in all, I overcame so many challenges in 2022 while living abroad that enabled me to grow into an even more independent individual.
2) What's a surprise you dealt with?
Before going abroad, international advisors and students tell you all these stories/ scenarios to help you best prepare for your upcoming adventures. They talk about the differences, challenges, changes, good/ bad, and so much more. I thought I knew what adversities I would face abroad and how I would manage them, but the truth is nothing can prepare you for being abroad other than being abroad! What surprised me most was the change in beliefs/routines I had. Before going abroad, I was very scheduled. I pretty much liked to do the same thing every day at the same time. I had great habits, and thought my routine was the only reason I thrived. Well, when my routine fell out of whack in Germany, and I became much more open to just going with the flow, I realized that life can be much slower-paced and relaxed than I had ever thought was possible. Plus, I became much more aware that you can thrive in multiple settings. You don't need the same routine every day. It's important to live a little! I may not have been the most productive I have ever been, but I was the happiest I have ever been. And witnessing this was truly life-changing for me.
3) What's the best book/ podcast/ course you've read/ taken this year?
This year, I took a gender studies course at Sciences Po, and wow oh wow do I wish everyone would take that course! The course discussed gender roles, sexuality, behavior, and women's rights by analyzing media outlets. It was crazy to see how women have been portrayed throughout the years and how we continue to be portrayed today (for better or for worse). So much of our world still operates in a manner that limits us women and our abilities to be the best version of ourselves. Why do women have to be the ones primarily "in charge" of children and housework? Why do we always fall into this category?! Not all women want to do this, and not all women should have to do this for their families to thrive. The familial/ private setting is just one example of the inequalities that many women still encounter. When it comes to the public sphere and/or corporate settings there are many more. I do believe times are changing and that we are becoming more and more equal, but oof how long does it need to take?!
4) What made you the happiest this year?
The short and sweet answer is my time in Augsburg! I had the greatest friends, the best memories, and the happiest of days :) Augsburg will always be very special to me!
5) What are some unknowns moving into the next year?
As with any new year, there are many unknowns. In May, I will graduate from IU! Woot woot! As of right now, I don't have any next steps locked into place. I'm very eager to get a master's in Disability Studies, but don't know if that will work out. If it does, I will be going that route!! If it doesn't, I don't know where I will be and/or what I'll be doing. It's quite crazy to think about, but it's also very exciting!! When one chapter closes, a new one begins :)