It seems like each year continues to be a bigger and bigger deal for me as college progresses. 2012 was fuller than 2011, and now 2013 stands as the fullest year of my short life. Before I participate in the annual futility that is the New Year’s Resolution, I’d like to take a minute to reflect on this year.

On the professional front, it’s been an incredible year. I completed a second season with iD Tech Camps, and excelled at teaching like never before. The second time around I felt more confident, and loved teaching programming far more than I expected I would. I took on a second term as an Orientation Assistant (OA) for RIT’s New Student Orientation and met an incredible group of students, a few of whom I’m still in contact with. My success in my second year as an OA led me to apply and be selected for a Lead OA position for 2014. I also helped pioneer a new position within the Academic Support Center at RIT as a Peer Advisor. I even went so far as to write a lesson for the course I was advising for and have made a commitment to help improve the curriculum further.

At Resnet, I’ve taken on the additional responsibilities of being a Senior RCC, which basically means when things go wrong I get to deal with them. I also became the lead developer for our internal ticketing system, and fared better than I expected in developing various features. Working with a messy, undocumented web app is not the most pleasant experience, but I learned a lot from the challenge and pushed my skills as a developer forward. Both of these experiences proved immensely valuable in securing my first co-op, which I will be fulfilling this spring with Brand Networks in Rochester. I have no doubt that I would not have been hired without the experience I gained this year at Resnet.

In 2013 I made the transition from using a Wordpress.com-hosted website to hosting my own sites with my own server. I learned how to setup and maintain a web server (which for basic tasks like I’m doing is quite simple, actually). In addition to my personal website and blog, I started a site dedicated to the iPhone App Reviews I write. I spent time designing a custom theme for the CMS I use (Anchor), and have started mapping out further plans for it. By utilizing Facebook and Twitter, I reached a peak visitation of 440 unique visitors totaling nearly 600 visits in the month of November. Not bad for a small side project.

On top of it all, 2013 marks the start of the third decade of my life, a period that is, apparently, more important than many people realize. While 2014 marks the “important” 21 years old landmark, the dawn of the next decade seems more significant to me. And from a personal perspective, a lot has happened this year.

I visited places I’d never been before, including Lowville, NY, New York City, Ocean City, NJ, and Long Island. I’ve continued to excel in school, despite the increasing difficulty of much of my work and my increasing obligations. I survived a partially collapsed lung which involved 3 days in the hospital - my first stay in a hospital since my birth. The first car I ever owned finally died beyond my willingness to repair so it was sold. A few months later I purchased a car on my own for the first time and secured financing without a co-signer, a feat that seemed to really impress the salesman.

I legitimately had my heart broken for the first time when the longest relationship I’ve had came to an unexpected end. In the process, I discovered a bit of strength I didn’t realize I had, and took the time to again figure out what it is I’m looking for in life. This led me to an increased interest in minimalism (a concept I’d been mulling over for a few months prior), and to another new relationship. Being with someone who shares a very similar big-picture view of life and the world as me, with large differences in smaller details and personal passions is a wonderfully refreshing experience.

I don’t have all the right words to describe it, but it’s been a year of intense self-discovery and future planning. This year marked significant events across virtually every aspect of my life. I’ve been challenged and presented with opportunities as a student, professionally, personally and financially. It’s been a lot to take in and handle, but it’s the hand I’ve built. All I have to do now is figure out what to do with it and where to go from here. But that, I think, I’ll save for another post.