Ode to 2016

Dear 2017 – you have come around so quickly, it feels like only yesterday it was 2016! And whilst I am so excited for the new year and all it will bring, as I move forward I think it is also important to take a look back…

2016 has been branded my many as the “worst year ever”. There’s political unrest – the UK is leaving the EU. Racial tension is at a high – Trump is the US President Elect. People are dying in Syria and terrorism is at a high. Our favourite celebrities are dying, Samsung galaxy phones were exploding, Harambe got shot dead! What more could go wrong?

All of this got me thinking, was 2016 actually all bad? For me, 2016 has been the best year of my life so far. So I thought I would be a little self-indulgent and highlight all the reasons why I am so thankful for 2016…

Ode to 2016

2016 was the year that I caught flights and not feelings #WasteHisTime2016. I saved up all through 2015 (Check out my post on some of the jobs I did) and travelled to eight countries.

My travelling escapades began with a brief visit to Paris over the Easter holidays.

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If you look closely, you can see the Eiffel Tower in the background…

I then had a dry spell to focus on my degree (yawn!) before I had an incredible summer travelling. It began with backpacking around South-East Asia with my sister. I went to Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos (click the links to see the individual blog posts on the countries).

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Me and my sister before our flights to Thailand…

Backpacking around South-East Asia was honestly the best experience of my life so far. It pushed me out of my comfort zone and I squeezed in so much into those 5 weeks which you can watch in the vlog I made here. Documenting the experience led to a wave of new followers, so if you found itsmedammy.com through my travel vlogs, HELLO and thank you for reading! ❤

I then went on a family holiday to Dubai and Abu Dhabi…

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Frolicking in the deserts in Dubai…

This trip was the best time I have ever had with my family. We are all so busy so it was amazing to have everyone in one place and I made memories that will last a life time, like the time a camel literally bit my dad’s foot and he nearly fell off the camel! Check it out on my Dubai vlog!

My last trip of 2016 was to Portugal. I went for one of my close friend’s 21st birthday and we stayed in this adorable resort and it was just so great to take a break from studying.  I even organised these super cute matching t-shirts with her name on it for us to wear.

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You can just feel the black girl magic radiating…

2016 was also the year I began to feel closer to achieving all my post-university dreams. 2015 was filled with making endless applications, attending talks and suchlike (yawn!) and it was so nice to begin to reap some of the rewards from all that hard work.

Facing rejections was a humbling experience and made me realise that with hard work and by just being a nice person I can forge my own “luck”. Eventually no’s become yes’s and that made me appreciate them a lot more and not take opportunities for granted.

I do did two vacation schemes over Easter in London…

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Vac Scheme friends…

Over the schemes, I learnt so many new things, developed skills and got a better idea of which areas of Law I would potentially want to go into in the future.

I also made lots of really great friends…

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On the way to one of the evening socials…

These experiences led to a summer internship, multiple training contract offers and a scholarship. SO much to be thankful for in 2016!

2016 was where I learnt to say NO to the things I did not want to do and learned to value my time more. I wrote all about that here. I also learnt not to underestimate the power of a good nights sleep!

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Big smiles after sleeping…

In 2016, I finished my term as President of the Law & Business society at my university and handed over to a new team. I took a picture on my first day as President and a year later on my last day as President and thankfully I did not age as much as Barack Obama did in his term (I think I may actually look younger? #blackdontcrack). Clearly running a society is not as stressful as running the USA. Even thought it was one of the most challenging experiences.

With a lot less on my plate, I decided to try a few new things…

I auditioned to be in a play called Fallen Petals and was cast in it. It was so much fun to get back on stage after spending so much time working on the Production side of things. It was also a very different character to anything I’ve ever played before. I was playing an abusive mother, as a naturally cheerful person who is always smiling, this was really tough role. I had to work on characterisation and also learnt how to do a southern american accent for it!

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Promo for the show…

2016 was the year that I developed my love for radio. I started a show called Beyond Broadway on the university radio station RaW1251AM at the end of 2015 and I had so much fun doing it. For an hour a week I get to share my passion – Musical Theatre.

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2016, was the year I won an award for “Best Female Presenter” at the radio station awards. Honestly, starting a radio show was just something to do for fun and to get recognised for that felt so amazing. I also got into contact with Elaine Paige, one of my musical theatre idols, and she agreed to be interviewed on my show.

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Radio station awards evening…

2016 was also the year I rekindled my love for writing and began to actively look for opportunities to write more. I started writing for my university newspaper and it’s been such a great experience. I’ve been able to write about some really interesting topics some of which have been quite controversial. For example, I did a behind the scenes piece on the type of initiations sports clubs and societies do.

I mainly write for the News section so I’m writing about facts or reporting what other people think about a particular thing on both sides. So it’s really interesting when people get rude or aggressive towards me personally. This has allowed me to learn what it might be like to be a proper journalist. These experiences also led to two internship opportunities at major News publications.

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I still get excited every time an article I write gets published…

2016, was the year I learnt you can actually be allergic to SITUATIONS. I randomly developed a condition that is triggered my certain environments. Like a delicate little snowflake, anything from stress to hot weather to rain can set me off. Whilst this may not sound like a good thing, the experience taught me to look on the bright side of things and made me put things in perspective. Nothing makes you appreciate being healthy like momentarily being ill.

2016, was the year I tried to be more spontaneous, less set in my ways and say YES to random opportunities. From random trips to London to see a show on West End to hopping on a train to surprise a friend at university to club nights.
I got back involved with Scouting (Don’t judge me, Scouts are cool, okay?) and I went to an event called YouShape and helped with the presenting.

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YouShape…

I also was a panellist for the Sabbatical officer elections at my uni on the live stream. It’s actually crazy how seriously people take student politics so it was so exciting to be right in the centre of it. It was mad, I had people tweeting me about things I was saying throughout the night!

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Me and the 2 other panellists..

2016, was the year I turned twenty and officially stopped being a teenager. In true Dammy fashion, I made a big deal over hitting the big 20 as I felt really old. I made a spotify playlist called “mourning my childhood” with all the nostalgic songs that reminded me of growing up. Yep, very dramatic.

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Big TWENTY…

In reality, it really wasn’t that big of a deal. It was actually pretty anticlimactic.My friends are family did make a massive effort to make the day special though. My friends took me on a really cute trip to the Spa and then they organised a surprise dinner with all my close friends in the evening. You can watch the whole day in my birthing vlog.

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Birthday cake

2016, was also the year I solidified old friendships, made some new ones and learned to turn away from people who  were detrimental to me. 2016, taught me some really important lessons in this regard. Lessons that will set the standard for future friendships in 2017.

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Whilst 2016, has definitely had it’s downfalls especially when I look at the socio-economic climate. However, I can’t help but be thankful for all the good things that have happened in my life. Hope it’s been an interesting read!

How have all your 2016 been? Would love for you guys to comment what you have to be thankful for…

It’s just me, Dammy, looking forward to the next 365 days

xxx

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