Thursday Things #9: New Years Edition

Holding my last math assignment of all time, in my Stats class freshman year. Oh, youth.

Stepping foot onto University of Portland’s campus for the first time as a freshman in August of 2010, I could not even begin to imagine what the year 2014 would look like. Actually, I think I refused to. My little 18-year-old self did not even dare to imagine what four entire years down the road would look like. Let alone being the big 22 – it was enough to make a girl word vomit all over the place.

And yet, here it is, just around the corner, and I can’t help but feel like 2014 could either be a big fat slushie in the face (I may or may not have been marathon-watching Glee this winter break…), or an incredibly amazing mash-up of different things that are somehow fitting together to create a beautiful and harmonious song of life (yup, definitely marathon-watching Glee).

2013 has been, by far, one of the most outrageously insane, busy, out-of-control years of my life. There are so many things that happened this senior year that I never would (or could) have predicted would have happened when I was a wee little freshie.

So in a special New Years edition of Thursday Things, I’ve decided to take a skip down good ol’ memory lane in honor of this past year of psychotic-ness, and the thirteen things that really defined my personal 2013.

1. NIK Moves Back to the Pacific Northwest – After three years of holding down the city of Portland as my own, the new year brought incredible news that I soon wouldn’t be the only Kennedy taking P-Town by storm – my older brother, N, had been accepted into Oregon Health and Sciences University’s medical school program, and would start in the fall! Yayz for the Kennedy family being (sorta) reunited! Plus, occasional free meals.

2. The Rambling Queen was Born – In March, after applying to more internships than years I have been alive, I realized I had racked up quite a bit of knowledge about the do’s and don’ts of applying to internships, resume tips, and random other tidbits regarding career advice. With the intention of curing other ailing college students looking for help in the internship forum, I founded The Rambling Queen hoping to be a light in an often dark tunnel. In reality, I ended up only writing one (1) post that really had tips for future interns (Intern Lessons from Lauren Conrad – probably my favorite post so far), and otherwise just documenting random things on the internet I loved and my summer in NYC as an intern. But hey! I’m planning on finding a better niche for my blog, instead of just making it a day-to-day tracker.

3. Internship with Linda Gaunt Communications – Around spring of my junior year, my entire idea of how my summer woud go was – to say kindly – on the rocks. I had applied to over 28 different magazines and public relations firms for a summer internship, from NYC to San Francisco, Denver to LA. Just short of having a panic attack regarding my entire future and an extremely bleak looking summer, I received news that I would spend the summer interning for a fashion PR company. Not only did I figure out how to adequately dress myself (more on that later), but figured out that the PR world was essentially built for me. #LGCforever.

4. From the Apple Capitol to the Big Apple – Channeling my inner Whitney Port, I jet-setted off to NYC this past summer for an internship with a fashion PR firm, Linda Gaunt Communications. Flying blindly into the unknown in almost every way (new place to live, absolutely NO connections in NYC, zilch experience in public relations, all while wearing basketball shorts with UGGs), it would be extremely cliche and entirely accurate to say that New York City changed my life. Spending the summer in the Big Apple, surrounded by some of the most ambitious and successful people (plus, the highly anticipated obsession of potentially celeb-spotting!), I began counting down the days until my summer in the city could begin. Not only did I spy multiple celebs (Wyclef Jean and Sanjaya in June; Matt Bomer in July; Martha Stewart, Miss Jay, Jay Alexander, Margarita Levieva, Gabriel Mann, Nastia Liukin, Adrienne Baillon, and bloggers Amy Song, Shea Marie, Kelly Framel and Jamie Beck in September), but I had an unforgettable summer with friends I will Facebook stalk forever, and real-life stalk as well.

5. Call Me Mia Thermopolis – As a direct result of interning in a fashion PR office, consistently being surrounded by fashionistas and beauty products, I somehow learned how to dress myself in grown-up clothes and look older than sixteen. My coveted and signature outfit, basketball shorts and Uggs, went from being my go-to for a night out (not joking), to realistically just something I slip into when chillin’ with friends or around the house. I finally started to figure out my body type and what really works (and what DEFINITELY DOES NOT – I’m talking to you, v-neck shirts. Stay away from me), in a transformation I am compelled to compare to Mia Thermopolis in Princess Diaries (the first, obvi – we don’t speak of the second). Except there were no awesome gay hair dressers.

6. 101 Things in 1001 Days – I am my mother’s daughter – I am a list-maker. Nevermind the fact that I lose most that I make, there is almost nothing more satisfying than crossing something off of a list that you’ve created. Inspired by one of my favorite bloggers, Mackenzie Horan, I created a 101 Things in 1001 Days list, of 101 things that I want/need to get done in the next 1001 days, AKA, about 2.75 years. A fair amount of the things I was able to get done by the end of the summer (good thing, because most are for NYC!). See my posts here, and the entire list here – I may or may not still have to think of a few more things to do…

7. Back to School – There’s nothing like experiencing your last first day of school. Sure, it’s a tongue-twister, but more than that, it’s an eye-opener. Unless grad school is an option, the first day of fall semester senior year is your last first day of school – ever. Liberating and depressing. Exhilarating and frightening. A very bipolar feeling that is both welcoming and radical.

8. New York Fashion Week – No need for separation anxiety: NYC, I came back for ya! I mean, come on. You just can’t keep me away from the city. So about a month after beginning my senior year, myself and a few other interns were invited back to help LGC out during New York Fashion Week and put on various fashion shows. Insanity and chaos ensued, but not without its benefits: for every late night and early morning spent at the office, a celeb was spotted or a show was witnessed or just a general feeling of empowerment was felt. NYFW, you are one crazy bitch. But I love you.

9. I’m Feelin’ Twenty-Two – At the end of September, I celebrated my biggest birthday yet: turning the big 22. This sent me into quite the frenzy – not young enough anymore that I can get by just saying that I still have time, yet not old enough to really feel like I’m a true adult yet. Being 22 brought a burden I hadn’t really foreseen, brought responsibilities that 21 (and definitely not 20) didn’t have. But I’ve grown to love my old-lady-ness of being 22… plus, I can sing T-Swift’s “22” as loud and annoying as I like without getting reprimanded. It’s socially acceptable now.

10. Girls Just Wanna Have Fun – And that’s what October brought. For my last fall break, two of my roommates and I decided to take a girls trip to Colorado. Hilarity ensued with adventures to Denver, Colorado Springs, Evergreen, and of course, Boulder. I’ve always loved Colorado, and I’m pretty sure it’s because it reminds me so much of Yakima… but not such a shit hole. And without gang violence. Plus… CU Boulder looks like HOGWARTS, PEOPLE.

11. Her Campus University of Portland is Official! – After almost two years of crazy hard work, my chapter that I founded for Her Campus at University of Portland is finally an OFFICIAL club! Couldn’t have ever happened without my incredible team of girls. #hclove

12. Pilot Til I Die – Social media wasn’t really ever something I saw myself being good at… well, professionally, at least. But when opportunities fall into your lap, you gotta take them in stride and make them your own. This basketball season, I’ve been the social media intern for the University of Portland Pilots Men’s Basketball Team, meaning I took over their Twitter, Facebook, and launched their Instagram account. I dig being able to grow and cultivate the relationship between the fans and the team, giving them insider information and photos that they wouldn’t normally have access to! And I’ve missed being around basketball – I’m not one to brag, but I was a baller in high school, but have since lost my touch. Maybe I can get it back watching the Pilots play!

13. Laughter – As many times as I felt like this year was too overwhelming, too much to handle, there were twice as many times that I laughed so hard I cried, or was overwhelmed with passion for something I do, or honestly just had incredible hope and gusto for what is to come in this next year of my life. It’s been a trying and perpetually difficult year, but just as much of a rewarding one, as well. 2013, you kicked my ass, but I kicked yours right back.

So 2014, BRING IT ON. Because I will finish you like a cheesecake.

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Julia Jean Kennedy

Julia Jean Kennedy

Preferring basketball over barbies, travel over tutus, and almost any chatter that could somehow relate back to Harry Potter, Julia is always game for a beer and an impromptu booking of a ticket to a game, country, or even the latest Fast and Furious movie. Here, find random thoughts, tidbits about trips, and occasionally Seattle Seahawks propaganda.

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