My first year of college has been insane. That is an understatement.
I never could have imagined the amazing people, opportunities, experiences, and lessons that I would encounter in these past 12 months. I don't think past Nina could have fathomed how much future Nina would grow as a person. Speaking in 3rd person is weird, but you get what I'm saying.
What I can take away from this year is that I am blessed to be able to live this life – my life. A running joke that I have with my best friend is that "My favorite thing about life is living." It really is.
All the beauty, pain, and triumphs that I've been able to experience at this age… not a lot of people can say that they've been through that. These things have made me stronger mentally and emotionally; they have been my real teachers. I know what I can endure and how far my passion and ambition can take me.
This year has also strengthened things that I already knew about myself. I know what my values are and what I want out of life. Those things are even clearer now.
Not only am I blessed to be shaping my own path through life, I am beyond grateful to have met the wonderful people that I did. I believe that everyone is introduced into your life for a reason. Whether the role they play is big or small, every individual leaves a lasting impression on your heart. Thanks to all who have knowingly and unknowingly made a mark on mine.
Here is (almost) everything that I did these past few months.
Places I Traveled To:
Vietnam (Nha Trang, Sa Dec, Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Can Tho, Da Nang, Ha Long, Hoi An, Hue, Phu Quoc, Da Lat…)
Los Angeles, CA
Santa Barbara, CA
New York City, NY
New Haven, CT
Salt Lake City, UT
New Experiences That I Pursued:
Freepress Summerfest 2012
Being a coach at LEAP 2012
Moving to Austin...and falling in love with the city.
Going to college at the University of Texas.That's a big one…
SXSW Eco Conference 2012
Austin City Limits 2012
Color Run with Steph
Touring the East Coast with Molly
Starting my own business!
Getting to hang out with Jake in Utah
SXSW 2013 for the Music and Interactive Festival… Life-changing.
Interning with the food startup Goodpop
Starting a humanitarian service project
RISE Austin 2013 (Week-long Entrepreneurial Conference)
There's no way that the lists above could possibly sum up what this year has meant to me. They're merely snapshots.
Like I said, I've learned so much about myself in the past year. Growing up, I believe, is a journey of exploration – learning about yourself, finding your passions, and discovering what the world has to offer. Along my journey, I've learned to fall in love with my life and everything about it – the beautiful and the not-so-beautiful things.
How is everything is going to unfold for me in the year to come? …I have no freaking idea. Honestly, I'm just winging it through life. But a big lesson that I've learned is that it's ok to not know. I'll figure it out as I go along. That's how it should be, right?
Here's to discovering new – and even bigger – oceans in the months and years to come.