An open letter to 2016

2016.

Honestly, I don’t know how to summarise you. You went too quickly, but at times, not quick enough. You were a surprisingly tasty but strong concoction of reality, happiness, fear, struggle and success. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.

2016 was challenging. I think every student underestimates how challenging university actually is. And it’s only natural. There’s no way you can prepare yourself for univcrsity. The courses are so content heavy, the exams are painful. If your faculty and staff for the semester are unfriendly, then you’ll suffer in misery. Failure is a real thing.

But UNSW was good to me in 2016. I made some of the most wonderful friends and got to experience some of the greatest things. Being at uni has allowed me to grow and flourish and really consider how I want to make myself successful and make something of myself. I’ve made some of the most invaluable and wonderful friends I could ever ask for. The support system and unbreakable friendship is something I am so grateful for and will cherish for the rest of my life.

I vowed at the end of 2015, that I would actively seek to rid myself of the self-doubt and at times hatred, when I didn’t perform as well as I could’ve. And successfully getting through my first year of uni proved that. I took responsibility for my happiness and wellbeing above all, and repeatedly taught myself that I would do the best I could and every result I received would reflect that.

And this mindset has made me so much happier, successful and fulfilled.

2016 saw me embark on a few travels and discoveries. From India to Africa and back to Melbourne, and also around Sydney and NSW, I had some of the greatest travel experiences. I got to give into my love for nature photography and combined it with my insatiable wanderlust. I met people, ate the most delicious, new foods; and was allowed to experience some life changing moments.

2016 was so wonderful, and I’m hoping 2017 is even more wonderful, so I can travel and experience more. And in light of this, I hope 2017 is as prosperous and giving, so I can fulfil my whims and desires and experience new and exciting things.

2016 was exciting. I turned 18, and I’m now a legal adult. I bought my first drinks as an adult (not that 2016 was the first year I drank alcohol), voted in Australia’s federal election, became a more aware and mature young woman; and began to take control of my life. 2016 has shaped me a lot. Whether it be learning how to drive, or actually going through with calls to our utilities companies so they can start fixing things; going to the doctors alone or going grocery shopping by myself; the little things 2016 let me experience have made me more aware and more “adult-y”.

2016 let me have my first clubbing experience. 2016 let me embark on more cooking and food adventures, allowing me to enhance my culinary skill and go wild and free in the kitchen. 2016 let me embark on a journey to understand and accept myself and my identity – a kickass, independent, fierce and intelligent young Australian woman with an indian heritage. It’s still a work in progress, but it’s happening.

I got to see Shawn Mendes live. I’ll be going to Coldplay on the 14th of December. I watched and streamed every single one of the All Black’s matches this year. I fell in love with Matthew Daddario and Harry Shum Jr (again because I was a Gleek back in the day), rekindled my addiction for political and legal dramas, and added to my list of celebrity crushes. I successfully marathoned The Fresh Prince of Belair and Gilmore Girls. I fell in love with Zayn (again) and gave into my addiction to the Weeknd and his voice.

2016 enabled me to take charge of my life. Start working while I study, and more recently, become a volunteer with Youth Outreach so I could give back to the community and work with disadvantaged students. 2016 enabled me to access and enlarge my political and social voice and use it to increase my confidence about my views regarding the most popular and controversial issues around me.

2016 also taught me a lot about myself. I know I vowed in 2015 to start looking after myself more. And I did. In my 2015 reflection, I promised myself that I would come clean with someone who had hurt me. I did. Whether it worked or not, I’m still not sure. Tears were shed. There was a lot of anger and a lot of frustration. And I still haven’t fully come clean with him. Simply because he wouldn’t understand. But now, I’ve come to accept that I won’t get even 50% of what we had. And that isn’t worth it. So it’s time for me to cut him from my life and move on properly, rather than cling to the hope of change. Yes, it hurts. It hurts like a bitch. But he isn’t worth a drop of my tears or a second of my anger; and he sure as hell isn’t privy to any of my happiness either. So why not just have a clean break so I can flourish?

If I’m to sum up 2016 in a nutshell, I would describe it as a diving board into new challenges and opportunities. Some of my dives failed and flopped. Some of my dives were successful and I flourished with them.

So, what do I want from 2017

In 2017, I want more happiness and more experiences. I want to work on my self esteem and my self acceptance. I want to turn my dreams into reality. I want to work and play hard, and get myself accepted into more activities that allow me to grow as an individual. I want to challenge myself with new experiences socially, poltically and maybe even romantically. I want to further my experience with photography and maybe enter competitions. I want to challenge myself to be and do better. I hope that each day in 2017 is more interesting and exciting then the day before. I hope that like 2016, I continue to stay true to myself, my values and my beliefs, and transform myself into the best version of myself.

2016, the end is near. And honestly, I’m so excited for 2017.

xx Simran

(a photo review of 2016 might come along as well. If I can be dedicated enough to search through the 25000 photos taken this year.)

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