2017 in review

I finally finished this semester so now I have time to write! My New Year post is quite late, but hey, better late than never, right?

But first, a little rant!

2017 was one of the worst years for me. Last year, I experienced some of my lowest lows. I almost failed a class, struggled to start my thesis, gained weight, had health problems, and so much more.

I also wasn’t able to blog often because there were so many things going on, and I actually wanted to permanently shut down my blog because I felt like I only knew how to write about myself, and there was literally nothing interesting going on so I couldn’t really post anything.

All of the negative things combined gave me the urge to isolate myself from everyone, including my blog friends, because I thought these things only happened to people who were lazy and incapable of achieving great things; I was embarrassed of the thought that I was turning into one of those people and I didn’t want anyone to see that side of me – that was how bad it was. That’s why I feel an even greater need to reflect on the previous year and not only think of all the lessons I’ve learned, but also remember all the good things that happened despite the shitty ones.

Life in general

I’ve learned so many things about myself last year. Studying abroad and living away from family really forced me to become independent. And since I moved from the school dorm to an apartment, the responsibilities just increased tenfold and I learned what it really meant to manage a household. I thought I already knew a lot from living in the dorms but it’s really different when you don’t have resident assistants and other people to help you!

Learning how to cook was one of my major accomplishments in 2017. I had to learn how to cook so that we don’t starve and so that we don’t have to settle on eating fast food every day, which is not very healthy. Plus, this is a huge feat for me because I used to be scared of fire, but I was able to overcome it. I’m not very confident about my cooking yet so I still don’t share it with people outside my circle of friends, but it’s edible so at least that’s a good start. Haha!

I’ve also discovered the wonders of physical activity in 2017. I started exercising because it helped me cope with stress in school. For me, it was a bit difficult to get started because my health condition does not allow me to just take the plunge and do whatever workout I wanted. I first had to consult whether the workouts were safe and suitable for me. But once that was settled, it felt really good to exercise! During the last 3 months of the year though, I stopped because the schoolwork was just flooding in, and I didn’t even have time to eat healthy and take care of myself. I have to work harder to get back on track in 2018!

Most importantly, last year I’ve come to realize how important my family and friends are to me. For the most part, I am an emotionally independent person and I don’t like bothering other people with my problems, but I’ve come to appreciate the smallest things that they do for me. I guess it’s true that even if you have friends and lots of company in a foreign country, at some point you’re still going to crave the love and affection that you can only get from home.

School

The earlier parts of the year were disastrous for me in terms of academics. You all know that I’ve had so many negative things to say about the last Spring Semester. If you’re following me on social media, I know you’ve seen some of my rant-y posts about schoolwork and how stressful everything is. But now that I’m reflecting, I’ve realized that the courses I took during the 2017 Fall Semester were all wonderful, I really regret focusing too much on the difficult parts and not appreciating the great things I learned in class.

Throughout my academic career, I’ve always been a risk-taker; I’ve always liked the thrill of picking difficult professors and challenging courses, even though there’s always the risk of tarnishing my transcript with the odd low grade. Last semester, I took yet another risk and signed up for a course on Geomatics, a course that [seemingly] doesn’t have any relevance to my degree. After all, what do satellite imagery, geography, and land surveying techniques have to do with economics?

Satellite image of Metro Manila for my remote sensing homework in Geomatics class. What do stuff like this have to do with economics? A lot, apparently, if you know how to use the data.

Well, the decision to take this course was one of the best decisions I’ve made in a long time.

It turns out that geomatics was not a standalone discipline, and it could be applied to so many fields, including economics! In fact, the course material in my Geomatics class helped me get through the topic generation phase for my thesis. I’ve explored several topics throughout the semester but I couldn’t find something I really cared about. Then, one day in class, we discussed a certain geomatics technique that was demonstrated in class as a mapping tool, then I figured that it would be ideal for analyzing a certain economic phenomenon that I learned in another class. And just like that, I had a topic that I was truly interested in. Of course, my knowledge still isn’t as extensive and I still have to learn a lot of things regarding the technique to really make it work, but I’ve never felt this excited about a project in a long time.

Online

I still didn’t blog very often in 2017 (I really resolve to try harder this year!) but last year, I was finally able to share something that I’ve been hiding from people for the longest time:

My singing.

It all started with a Timeless Thoughts post about our family jamming sessions. I originally wanted to write that entry without any accompanying media, but I figured that it would be weird to read an article about music without… well, music XD Since I couldn’t find video or audio clips of my family members singing and playing the guitar, I just uploaded clips of myself singing and hoped that no one would bash me.

Now, I think I’ll share more of my singing if I get the chance. I know I still have so many things to work on but honestly, this is a huge thing for me because I don’t really share my singing with other people. I’ve never been confident about my voice and the insecurity is starting to build up again after I found out I had vocal nodules because I don’t feel like I’m recovering quickly enough. But seriously, the comments are keeping me from completely succumbing to the insecurity and making me appreciate my voice even more, so thank you, everybody! I love you all to bits!

Travel

I didn’t realize that I’ve been to so many places during the past year, but apparently 2017 was actually a great year for me travel-wise! I mean, I wasn’t able to take longer vacations because of schoolwork, but I did manage to squeeze in a few short trips in between! Besides my trip to Taichung and Cinsbu, I’ve also gone to other places in Taiwan such as Kaohsiung and Keelung. I was also able to explore more of the Philippines as well!

Here are some travel highlights!

Taken at Oslob, Cebu. About to get on the boat to Sumilon Island! If there’s one thing I love about the Philippines, it’s that there are so many beautiful beaches and islands to explore.
Feeding the whale sharks. Oslob, Cebu is known for its whale sharks (butanding). You can actually swim with the whale sharks if you want, that’s how gentle they are!
This is how the whale shark actually looks like underwater! It’s huge!
My high school friends visited me in Taiwan, and we got to fly sky lanterns <3
Shifen Waterfall!
It’s difficult to take jump shots XD
MRT Formosa Boulevard Station in Kaohsiung (高雄)
Fo Guang Shan Buddha Museum (佛光山佛陀紀念館). It is said that this museum houses one of the tooth relics of Gautama Buddha. One of my favorite places in Kaohsiung!

Kaohsiung’s Love River (愛河) with my love 😛

Entertainment

I swear, my fandoms kept me alive and sane in 2017. I’m so glad that the past year gave me the opportunity to watch my favorite artists’ concerts. Until now, I still can’t believe that I flew back to the Philippines just to see my favorite artists perform live but I’m happy I did it. Those concerts definitely brought some life to my gloomy semester!

Last year, I also got the chance to become closer to the people I met through my fandoms. There were some people whom I only knew but never really got the chance to bond or talk to; 2017 gave me new friends and I really cherish that <3 I hope this friendship lasts for a long time!

I met these girls 7 years ago(!) in a fan meeting but after that, we didn’t really talk much. We happened to meet again after the R3.0 concert last year and I’m happy because we’re now keeping in touch 🙂

Things to look forward to

2018 is going to be a great year, but I also know it will be full of challenges. The challenges will primarily concern my thesis and remaining coursework, but I have to stay positive because I am looking forward to graduation! I have to graduate this year and I am claiming it!

I also look forward to more travels this year. It doesn’t always have to be a full-scale vacation, so my travels would focus on short trips and finding hidden gems. I intend to start by exploring more of Taipei because, hey, travelling is one of the perks of being an international student and it would be a shame if I don’t go out and explore what Taiwan has to offer! Besides, I’ve realized that it’s difficult for me to constantly work day in and day out, so taking breaks is totally necessary and contributes to my overall well-being.

Finally, I’m looking forward to learning more things not just in school, but also outside as well! For the past year, I’ve seen learning as a chore and I have forgotten what a privilege it is to be here, studying and learning things that I never imagined I would get the opportunity to learn. For 2018, I would like to invest in myself and learn skills that I’ve always wanted to learn, not just to jump-start my career but for my personal development as well. Again, I am taking a huge risk this semester and am planning to enroll in a class that would really challenge my expertise. There’s a little doubt and nervousness there, of course, but I’m mostly excited about the things to come.

Here’s to a great 2018 and I hope your year started out right! 🙂

21 Comments

  1. Wow nice! I am also graduating this year. Academics is so tiring sometimes. Sometimes I wonder why did I continue on postgraduate studies. But i have not regret about it yet since I love learning new stuff and gaining new knowledge. It can get quite tough at times but I know both of us can do it and claim our second degree! 😀

    1. Haha, sometimes I ask myself the same question too! But I agree, learning new things is really enjoyable especially if you’re really passionate about what you’re studying 🙂 Let’s do this! 😀

  2. Sorry to hear that 2017 was so bad for you 🙁 I’m glad you’re still able to reflect on it and see the positive parts. I’m also glad you didn’t close down your blog! It’s ok if you don’t know what to post. Just take your time with it and take a break if you need to, especially if you have so many other things going on!

    I know what you mean about responsibilities piling up when you move from dorm to apartment. I felt the same way because I suddenly had to set up my own utilities and internet and learn other things. Good on you for learning to cook and overcoming your fear of fire! I don’t think I really started cooking until I left college. That’s also great that you started exercising. I find that it’s a really good stress reliever too (plus the health benefits!)

    Oohh, geomatics sounds interesting. I’m glad that taking that course ended up being a good decision and worked out for you! I’m also happy for you that you’re not afraid to share your singing anymore! It feels good to share something you love 🙂

    Aahh, your travel photos look beautiful. That’s great that you were able to see other places in Taiwan. I still hope to visit there some day! It’s on my travel to-do list!

    I hope 2018 will be a much better year for you!

  3. 2017 was so hard for me as well.
    Hugs.

    Yeah, believe me, I definitely know about responsibilities of being in a place of your own. I’m still learning the ropes and just grateful everyday for it.

    Regardless, of those bad things in 2017, I am glad that some good thinkg happened, plus, thanks to you and a few others thing, I’m back to singing as well. I didn’t realize that my singing voice remained even if I didn’t use it but I plan on using it more.

    1. I’m sorry to hear that 2017 was tough for you as well 🙁 I hope 2018 treats us much, much better!

      I didn’t know you could sing, Michelle! Please share some clips on your blog, I would definitely love to hear you sing <3

  4. I’m so glad to see that you managed to fight the urge to close your blog. I know I would’ve been really sad to see you go because I genuinely enjoy reading posts from you – it gives me a fresh perspective on that side of the world – all its happenings and all. *big hugs* Don’t pressure yourself into writing blogs if you can’t, other things take priority after all! Your blogging family are always here for you when you return!! <3

    I'm so sorry to hear that 2017 wasn't a good year for you. But that's what reflection posts like these are for you, right? I'm glad that despite the fallbacks, you managed to go out and do things like travel to amazing places and having loads of fun with your fandoms! 😀 PS I LOVE YOUR SMILE IN THAT PHOTO Y U SO PRETTY T_T

    I wish you nothing but positive vibes, fuel and love in 2018. I know you're going to smash your goals because of your positive attitude in this post despite the bad things that happened! Keep your chin up, sweetie! You're going to be amazing this year!!

    1. Thank you so much for all the kind words Pauline! I’m really glad that I did this reflection post, I focused too much on the negativity last year that I didn’t really realize all the great things that happened until I actually started writing. I must say, your posts and stories were super inspiring and somehow helped me cope with all the mess that happened during the past year <3 I'm looking forward to an awesome 2018 as well and so far I'm starting everything right <3

  5. Oh, wow, I am sorry to hear 2017 was rough for you! Despite that, though, it’s clear that it has made you stronger. 2017 also allowed you to grow more independent and take on responsibilities like cooking and staying healthy with physical activities. And despite all that, you still managed to travel and discovered a great class that you can apply elsewhere!

    I wish you all the best for 2018. Blog when you can, and if you can’t, don’t worry about it. Take care of yourself first, and blogging second!

    1. Thanks Tara! 2017 was tough but I realized that I really have to invest a lot of time on myself to keep me sane, so self-care is definitely one of my 2018 goals 🙂

  6. Congratulations on finishing your semester! I’m sorry to hear about some of the setbacks you’ve faced last year. You have support from the blogging community! Definitely don’t shelter away.

    It’s great that you’ve learned some independence by studying abroad. Glad to hear that you took advantage and traveled as much as you could last year. You had a lot of amazing experiences!

    Hope 2018 will be a better year for you! Definitely don’t shy away! You got people rooting for you, girl! Good luck with all of your goals :)!

    exquisitely.me

  7. Yay on finishing the semester and having time to write, now! I always get sad when I get really busy and am unable to write.

    I’m glad that you got the confidence to sharing your passion of singing. You’re a really good singer, girl. I remember when you posted the Timeless Thoughts post and listening to what you shared and thought, “Yaaaassss! You go, girl!”

    Your photos are making so excited because I am potentially visiting the Philippines next year! I want to visit all of the islands!

    I’m so sorry to hear that 2017 wasn’t good for you but I’m glad you focused on the positives in this post because it looks like you had a blast! Sending you loads of positive vibes that 2018 will be YOUR year. You got this girl, smash it! 💪🏾

    1. Ahh I’m so happy you’re visiting the Philippines! It’s a lovely place and I’m sure you’ll enjoy the islands and the FOOD OMG. The food is heavenly :’) I hope I’m in the Philippines when you visit because I would love to meet you IRL! <3

  8. My goodness girl, I’m so sorry knowing you felt way about yourself regarding problems you had during the year. Please please never believe that bad things happen to you because you are lazy! Most people struggle and you even moved to another country, lazy people certainly don’t do that!
    And you know, I love your blog BECAUSE you write about your life. That’s how blogging began, with people sharing about their world. I love that kind of blogs because I love reading a out people and learning about how they view things. Also, if you think it’s boring, write about your singing and your music because that’s truly fabulous.
    Wishing you a much more brilliant 2018!

    1. Aww, your comment made me smile, Susanne! :’) First off, thanks for the support, it really means a lot to me when people see and acknowledge my efforts. Thank you so much for appreciating what I do in my online space and I will definitely keep sharing <3

  9. I’m really glad that despite all the hardships in 2017, you’ve been able to take it in as a learning opportunity and not a year that crushed you. The ability to take the bad things and learn from it is very very important, I think, since the way we manage to frame experiences in our minds defines who we become and how we are able to cope with hardships in the future.
    The trip photos look amazing!! I really want to visit Taiwan soon. The only Asian country I’ve been to is Japan, and I think it’s about time I Expanded that! And I’ve heard sooo many amazing things about food.
    Speaking of food, congrats on learning to cook! I’ve been living outside the home for years but my cooking is still not something I really share with ANYONE… They’re… edible, but I feel bad to force it upon people. One of these days, I hope I have at least a few dishes that I’d be happy to share with people and know they’ll love… 😛

    Best wishes for 2018, and hope you get to travel more!!

    1. Thank you Hiro! You really should visit Taiwan! I don’t know why it’s an underrated Asian destination but it’s definitely a lovely country with so much to offer <3

      Haha, I don't like sharing my cooking with anybody too! Like you, I'm not yet confident enough to let other people try my cooking lol 😛

  10. CEBUUU!!! i miss cebu already! I love it there specially the whale sharks! I miss them! In love with sumilon island too! HAHAHAHA!

    Cheers for the 2018! Let’s do our best!

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