Friday, 30 December 2016

2016:: A Year in Review

So 2016 happened. It's been a storm of political pain and death after death. People shout and scream about 2016 and how in years to come we won't talk about 2016 when recounting history, but I want to talk about it. I want to remember this year, because between the turmoil that's been going on in the world, this has been the best year of my life. It has been a year of extraordinary experiences that I never dreamed i would encounter. Above all, this year has taught me that a month may seem blank when you glance upon each day of the calendar, but to expected the unexpected, and opportunities can arise from the strangest of places. Over the course of the year, I've documented each month as it unfolded; for both my own benefit and anyone whom is remotely curious. Here is 2016


As with every January, the year began slow and sluggishly, nothing massive or eventful happened, and instead a very quiet month was had. I chalked my hair. First blue and then red. College recommenced for 2016 and suddenly I was immersed back into A Level life.
Alan Rickman died halfway through the month. Out of all the famous deaths that occurred over 2016, this was the one that hit me the hardest, and not just because he was Snape, but because he was a wonderful actor that had so many film connections to my childhood. Finding out about his death was a moment I struggle to forget, but like so many Harry Potter fans, feel comforted in the knowledge that so many others mourned his loss.


I don't feel like I ever really caught a break in February. On the 4th it was Harry Potter Book Night, and so I dressed up as Nymphadora Tonks met up with my friends Charlotte and Bekka, and also the wonderful Laura at Waterstones. It was crazy and amazing but after that everything just seemed to slow down. February was a month of cancellations, me having to cancel on people and others cancelling on me. It was a month where I was meant to have a week break from college and yet spent the entirety of that doing Media Studies Coursework. I don't feel like I ever stopped, so whether it was a good or bad month is questionable. (But I did read some good books, take from that what you will.)

I hate to be boring,but March was all about work. I advanced in my search for Universities and was travelling to sort paperwork for my AS Exams. When I wasn't establishing future links, I was revising for my English Literature mock, (which went really well ), and generally hibernating in my revision lair. Having gone into full on revision in January, the conquest continued this month. Aside from that literally nothing happened; I didn't really go out, and when I wasn't working I was marathoning Jane the Virgin in the hope of improving my Spanish.


April was a month solely dedicated to revision. With my exams less than a month away, I stopped reading and pulled myself through any free hours with relistens to my favourite podcasts. Most days I was doing 7-8 hours of revision a day, and slowly pushed myself to extremes that I now regret, making myself more stressed than I should have been. I also had my first coffee. What an exciting life I lead that month...


Early on in May I travelled to Leeds to stay with friends whilst we went to see another one of our friends in an OperaSoc version of The Pirates of Penzance. The night itself was one of the best if not the best I've ever had. Between the alcohol and me learning to play Cards Against Humanity, and being with some of my favourite people, I couldn't have had a better night. I stayed up all night, and then promptly passed in and out of conciousness between 6AM and 8.30. However, a few days later my first exam hit. All my AS exams were over the course of 20 May days, spent travelling back and forth and staying in hotels the night before due to the distance my exams were from home. Stress overwhelmed, and eventually I reached I point where I couldn't remember a time when I didn't have revision to do. In all the madness, I took a one day break in order to see Alice Through the Looking Glass with a couple of my friends, which was good enough, but not great for a long awaited sequel. 


June was a month of struggling to reconnect with lost time. After five months of spending most of every day revising, with the end of exams came unlimited time and endless freedom. For the first couple of weeks, a lot of that time was spent simply wandering around the house, because I wasn't used to having those hours in my grasp. After that, June involved catching up with reading, writing, and everything else I'd put on hold whilst studying for my exams. Additionally, I quit my voluntary job. 9 months in I decided that whilst I was grateful for the insight and experience of working in a library, I wasn't happy there, and chose to focus on my second year of A Levels instead of continuing. We voted to leave the EU, and I was disgusted. June 24th was a morning of crying and watching as friends started making plans to leave the country and move across oceans. It was a morning of evaluating what I could no longer do with my life, and reassessing the political hope I'd had in a guest post at Weaving Pages


While July featured new adventures and expeditions, the month was tainted by a hard struggle with my mental health, which hadn't been so bad in a couple of years. Early in the month, I spent a week in Wales, absorbing the peace and calm that comes with the rural seaside. On the 29th I headed to Leeds to stay the night with my book club friends, which then bled into the 30th, in which I was an excitable mess anticipating Cursed Child. That evening we all went to the midnight release of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, and am overwhelmed by the emotions I experienced that night. Intense excitement could have been bottled in the countdown to midnight, and it is certainly I night that I never want to forget. Being able to celebrate something that means so much to me with friends also meant the world and made the experience a lot better than it would have been alone. Following getting my hands on the book, I spent the rest of the night reading, refusing to sleep until I'd finished. Following on from turning the final page, I chose to spend the last day of July celebrating Harry Potter in the only way I know how - loving it unconditionally. 


Plot twist after plot twist, August was a month of the unexpected. I spent 2 terrified hours queuing for Cursed Child tickets and succeeded. 2 out of my 3 AS-Level results arrived a week early, and nobody had been made aware that this would be happening, so I spent an hour staring at  the words 'Guide to Marking' as oppose to turning the paper over and finding out my results out of pure fear. Eventually when I did, I got A'S I GOT A'S! I don't know how the hell I did it, but I did! Also in August, I experienced my first University open day at York St John University. Having never visited York prior to this, I was in awe of the gorgeously historical city and spent plenty of time simply overwhelmed by the variety of past periods had been preserved within the city walls. Visiting the university itself inspired many days of longing for explorations in new places and freshly printed English Literature book lists. The month closed with many hours absorbing sun upon my new bike - a present for doing well in my exams - and finally seeing Finding Dory. 


September was a month of recommencements, and also recommencements of both academics and friendships. I hadn't seen my friendship group since the end of July and then got the chance to see them twice this month, both times accompanied by Mexican food in Wahaca. Then an old friend and I started Skyping after having not spoken face to face for nearly five years since he moved to the USA. To have the opportunity to pull a friendship out of the rubble after such a long time and be properly talking like nothing's changed is something of indescribable magic. Academically, my final year of A Levels began, and once again I was plunged into literary analysis, media production, and sociology. Halfway through the month, I voyaged into my second university open day, this time for Keele University. Despite Keele being a wonderful place to visit, it wasn't somewhere I could picture myself being happy at for 3 years, and so ultimately chose not to apply there.


October was by far one of the best, if not the best months of the year. Anne Shirley's famous quote of 'I'm so glad we live in a world where there are Octobers' never felt a fraction as relevant as it did this year. Yes, there were some bad moments, but on the whole, this was an incredible month. Throughout the month, I continued attending weekly screenings of the Harry Potter films in a local cinema - something which I hadn't had the chance to do originally for any film other than the last. Seeing the films in such an environment was emotional, to put it lightly, but also made me love the ones I was iffy about far more (OOTP). On the 15th, I got to travel to my 1st choice university - Bangor University, for an open day, and I couldn't have fallen further in love with it if I'd tried. That weekend killed me as I had book club the day after, but it was worth every second. Much to my dismay, I was nominated for a Champion Teen Blogger Award at the UKYABA's, I didn't win, but that doesn't matter; I'm just incredibly honoured to be nominated. Speaking of books, the month ended with 2 book events; over the course of 3 days my friends and I met Becky Chambers [author of the wonderful Wayfarers series] and went to the last stop on Rainbow Rowell and Leigh Bardugo's Worlds Collide Tour. Bar J.K. Rowling, Rainbow Rowell is my favourite author, and it was wonderful to finally meet and thank her after so many years of loving her books. 


Within six hours of the month commencing, my plans for the month had already been changed and multiplied. A 2AM email from MuggleNet confirmed that they were offering me an Internship as a Creative Editorialist on their Creative Team. Having applied for the internship, along with what is usually hundreds of others, the last thing I had expected was to be informed that had such an opportunity. My first 2 articles went live on the 25th and 29th of the month, my second article being viewed over 60,000 times. Then, 3 days later, another twist in the story of November occurred. Amber had tickets for the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them European Premiere and she asked me to be her plus one.  15th November was a whirlwind of emotions, mainly because I'd been waiting for such a long time to see this film, and not only was I getting to see it early and in extraordinarily exciting conditions, but I was getting to do it with a great friend, when as you'll know from my writings earlier this year, I expected to attend cinema viewings of Fantastic Beasts alone. As part of this a spontaneous 2-day trip to London developed, including the premiere and Kings Cross with Amber on the 15th, and then sightseeing with my Aunt on the 16th. I happily spent money I didn't really have on Potter merchandise, but opportunities are opportunities, my friends. Only a few days later, and I was jumping between my fourth open day, this time in Oxford, and going to see Fantastic Beasts  another 3 times and collect the script, all in an irrationally short space of time. 


A month of hot chocolates, Christmas wrapping, and trying to manage my busy digital life around a fortnight without internet, December was beautifully chaotic. Between doing my A Levels online as well as an internship and communicating with my friends via the internet, this was a long and surprisingly difficult struggle. Once again, my MuggleNet internship articles went live, 5 Harry Potter Moments to Keep You Warm This Winter, and Life Caught Between the Potter and Beasts Generations. On the 8th I at long last submitted my UCAS application to my referee at college, and within a few days, it had then gone live and been sent to the five universities I'm applying to. 48 hours later, and I had an offer from my first choice, and my third, then unexpectedly on the 21st, I got an unconditional offer from my second choice, meaning that no matter what happens, I am going to University next year. On the 18th, my friends and I had a joint birthday meal in celebration of five of us' birthdays in December at Las Iguanas, and then at long last, I turned 18 on Christmas Eve. The milestone was celebrated by heading to a country pub with family for drinks. Of course, Christmas then followed, spent mostly enveloped in newly gifted books by the Christmas tree. 

How was your 2016?


  1. SOunds like you had an extremely crazy year! I went to see Alice Through the Looking Glass at my hometown theater, and I have to admit that I was expecting much more. Haha. I do love the song Just Like Fire by Pink though.... The midnight release of The Cursed Child was so much fun! I went to a bookstore that was having a midnight release party, and there was so many Potterheads. It was incredible, and I probably made at least five new friends there. Anyways, Happy New Year and congrats on that amazing internship! Don't forget to balance your time! It's been quite hard for me since I'm taking three AP classes...

    1. It was an insane year and it sounds like you had a great one too!
      Thank you, I need to remember to take breaks, or I'm going to drive myself mad! Happy New Year too you too, and good luck with the AP classes!!!


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