As the year comes to a close, I instinctively look back to try to remember all the things that happened this year. It feels like I crammed a lot into this year. As I scrolled through Twitter recently, I stumbled across a quoted retweet that has been going around the last week or so:
I started to quote that tweet but then spent a long time thinking of my top three. Eventually, I settled on this:
And then I discovered my Instagram top nine:
And looking at all that stuff, yeah, I guess I did mange to cram a lot into this year.
In fact, I would classify 2017 as a year of movement and travel. So it would sense that on January 1, 2017, I began my year on a plane. I flew back to Pennsylvania from Wisconsin on the first, and it was the smoothest, most relaxed travel I’ve ever experienced. People were in the mood to move that day, and the blue skies definitely helped. We arrived at each location, on time, early in some cases. I would fly on January 1st any day, if I had the chance.
From that first day of flying, I would spend a good chunk of the year in airports, on route to a conference or miscellaneous adventure. I tallied it up and I visited 13 different airports during 2017. Some, that I was very familiar with (Madison, O’Hare, Detroit, State College, Minneapolis, Philadelphia) and others that were new (Denver, Dulles, Atlanta, Indianapolis, Burlington, Memphis, Knoxville). I got comfortable flying. It’s no longer a scary process for me. I have routines, landmarks, set aside traveling gear, and new knowledge on how to fly as stress-free as one can be.
2017 also had movement in terms of my professional life. And professionally, 2017 was an excellent year for me. I moved into a tenure-track job, attended ACRL Immersion (and made some great new friends and colleagues), was named an ATG Top Up & Comer, was selected as a member of the 2018 ALA Emerging Leaders cohort, co-founded a blog with some other fabulous librarians, and published my first peer-reviewed article. I was introduced to some new collaborators and really got to dive into the parts of research I like — the talking through ideas, finding articles to support those ideas, and ultimately, getting to write some of those new ideas down. It still feels weird to me to think I was in two different jobs this year, two jobs that ultimately intertwine, overlap, and intersect. I couldn’t do my current job without what I did in my old job. But sometimes I think back on my Reference & Instruction job and say, "Man that was ALSO in 2017!?"
And with that professional movement, there was also some settling. Some, getting to know my colleagues, getting to know the student employees, getting to know Penn State and really leveraging those relationships to make change. For example, using my knowledge from my previous Reference & Instruction librarian position, I was part of a group who helped create a new peer-to-peer reference model. While this model still causes me some stress, it’s probably one of the most rewarding things I got to work on in 2017.
I settled beyond just work relationships too. As I entered the second half of my first year at Penn State, I really had the chance to grow friendships. Being a time zone away from my family pushed me to get out there, spend that time needed to really get to know people, and ultimately, to create my support system out on the East coast. I’m incredibly thankful for the warm welcome I’ve received from my friends in State College — they help me balance out all that I try to do.
And I've needed that support system this year. It has been, at times, a stressful, hectic year. There was a breakup, big decisions to be made, juggling of projects, a five year landmark of my mom's passing, and family health issues. This was a year of me saying no, prioritizing self-care, and better understanding what I need to be my best. I'm looking forward to taking all these lessons and bringing them with me in 2018.
So here's to 2018! I'm ringing in the new year with a Fargo family tradition, raclette. Because what's not to love about potatoes and melted cheese?! :)