Look Back at 2015...

Original photo by Iffet Genc

A year that was full of as many lasts as it was firsts, 2015 is definitely one to remember. Between graduating from high school and starting college, this year was nothing less than pivotal in my life. Looking back, I'm not entirely sure how I feel about a few of the decisions I made, but I'm also one who believes that everything happens for a reason. Therefore, this year is just another chapter for the books, so join along as I take a walk down memory lane and reflect on one of the craziest years of my life so far. 

The year started off with a basketball heavy month; with a typical two games a week, basketball could get pretty old, pretty fast, but there was nothing like my sarcastic sideline commentary along with a nice dose of feigned excitement to push through each game. (Don't get me wrong, I LOVED cheering on the sidelines; it was just hard for me to stay completely focused on the game at hand the whole time.) 

Photo by Robin Elliott 

I was then surprisingly nominated for my school's Sweetheart Court.

Photo by Kelsey Dunkin

Towards the end of January came the highly anticipated basketball tournament in Dodge City. While I'm not quite sure what the scores were on any of the games, those details are insignificant compared to the memories we made as a team on our little weekend trip. Between last minute choreography, our night at "The Alley" and a healthy dose of teenage drama, it was a semi-stressful yet fun experience I'm glad we had to opportunity to have. 

Photo by Robin Elliott 

The first week of February was a whirlwind to say the very least. My school's Sweetheart Assembly was on Thursday, and the cheerleaders kicked off the assembly by performing a routine choreographed by both myself and my co-captain Alyssa. I couldn't have been more proud of my team after our performance considering we had extremely limited practice time in the band room since there was nowhere else for us to practice in the school. This was also the one and only time I was able to wear a ponytail while cheering, so you could say I was a little excited about that!

The Sweetheart Court nominees were also presented at the end of that assembly, so there's nothing like trying not mess up your hair as your perform a cheer routine, followed by quickly changing out of a sweaty cheer uniform into a fancy little dress, and then walking across the gym floor in heels, right?

Photo by Katie Imes

The following night the Sweetheart Court was announced between the girls and boys basketball games. I was once again escorted across the gym floor, but this time with my beautiful mother by my side! And while I was absolutely head over heels in love with my dress for the night, it was definitely not designed to be cheered in. I was able to wear my dress while I cheered for the boys basketball game, but I was constantly stabbed by merciless rhinestones and mesh. Beauty is pain, I suppose.

Photos by Robin Elliott

To end the week's festivities was my school's WPA (Women Pay All) dance. 

The following week was my 18th birthday, as well as Matthew and I's 2 year anniversary and Valentine's Day, so to celebrate my family and Matthew went to New Orleans for Mardi Gras. I lived in New Orleans for 5 years when I was younger, so Mardi Gras is nothing new to my family, but it was a ton of fun to show it to Matthew who had never been before! 

The Friday after I got back from New Orleans was the Pink Night basketball game. Not only did the giant, pink poms give me a great arm workout throughout the game, but us cheerleaders also performed our Sweetheart Assembly routine again during halftime. And even though we had to pull up some JV girls the week of the performance to replace a couple girls who were unable to perform that night, we ended up performing even better than we did the first time, making me prouder than ever of my team. Also, following the basketball game was my school's Blackout spirit dance, an hour full of mediocre music, girls eating glow sticks and paper money.

Photos by Robin Elliott

The cheerleading banquet has always been oddly timed, before our cheerleading season is over. After three years of watching teary eyed seniors giving their farewell speeches, it was still fairly surreal to finally be one of those girls. It was crazy to think about how I was soon going to be saying goodbye to the program that had shaped my entire high school experience. While I could never thank my mom enough for everything she had done regarding my cheerleading over the past 12 years, I only got choked up when talking about Trisha, a sophomore who started out as my cheer little sis but turned into so much more. Somewhere between helping her during summer camp, giving her rides to practice and our late night trips to Freddy's after games, we became best friends. She made my last year cheering better than I could have ever expected. But of course everyone took our speeches with a grain of salt as we would all being seeing each other the following night at another basketball game.

Photo by Robin Elliott

The night after the cheerleading banquet was the Senior Night basketball game where my mom once again walked me across the gym floor, and I chose Trisha to give me my rose. 

That Friday after squeezing our team of 25 into unusually small sidelines and being stepped on a few times by the refs, we beat our rivals in basketball! 

Photo by Robin Elliott

The following week was my last high school basketball game. In the heat of an amazing crowd and a close game, I somehow got the nerve to throw my first back tuck since my knee surgery the previous fall, and let me tell you, it was one of the greatest feelings ever. 

Photo by Robin Elliott

As I said, this was a year of several lasts, so then came my last time performing at an assembly. Sure, we had a little disagreement with our coach about whether or not the excerpt from "Love Me Like You Do" for our music was appropriate or not, but everything turned out wonderfully. And I ended up throwing one last back tuck.

Photo by Anna Distefano
Photo by Paula Schwabauer

This was not only us seniors' last assembly, but it was also our principal's. So why not have the senior class take a giant selfie with him?

Photo by Anna Distefano

Besides cheerleading, another school organization that had a huge impact on my senior year was Student Council since I was on the executive board as Student Body Secretary. Towards the end of the year was the annual StuCo Ball which everyone in Student Council at every school in the district was invited to. The theme was "Peace, Love and StuCo", so we obviously had to break out our tie-dye.  

In Mid-April I attended my last ISC meeting, an occasional meeting between all of the school's in the district student council executives. It was a bittersweet moment as I had developed amazing friendships with several people from different schools over the past year. 

Then came Prom, the one dance I was shorter than Matthew at. I decided to do without the heels just this once! Minus the pasta that tasted like perfume for dinner, I had a fabulous time, and our principal even danced for all of us at the end of the night! 

I also attended my first softball game in 2015! Had to support one of my best friends Christina on her Senior Night. 

Then before I knew it came graduation. I don't know why, but I was never able to imagine myself in that position, walking across the football field in those long green robes, graduating from the same high school as my mom and her siblings. There I was, though, shivering in the sprinkling rain going through the hour and fourteen minute ceremony. 

Photo by Robin Elliott
Photo by Paula Schwabauer

Following graduation came a countless number of graduation parties to attend, otherwise known as: free food.

In an effort to kick-off the summer, Matthew and I went on a double date with Trisha and her boyfriend to see Jurassic World at the drive-in theater. 

At the end of June, I was able to attend Matthew's brother, Brian's beautiful wedding in Springfield. 

I then spent the rest of the summer relaxing poolside. 

Instead of taking a big summer vacation this past summer, my family went on a small weekend getaway to Tan-Tar-A Resort. We spent our days in the pool exhausting our arms by throwing a football for hours on end, horseback riding and quickly dipping into the lake. 

Before I knew it, I was making my first real drive on the highway ever for move-in day at Kansas State University. I didn't realize how different it would be living without my family. Thank goodness I had a packed full week of sorority recruitment to keep my mind off things.

After five days of sweltering heat, my first bee sting, torrential downpour and many, many Tic Tacs, I was offered a bid to Alpha Xi Delta! Who knew I would become a member of the same sorority as my mom. 

The following day, I laughed my way through fraternity serenades. 

Then in I partook in my first philanthropy event, Fiesta FrenXI. There's nothing like nachos to bring people together to donate towards such an amazing organization as Autism Speaks. 

Over Labor Day weekend, besides sitting by the pool, my family went to see the stunning sunflower fields of Grinter Farms. I suppose Kansas can be pretty beautiful every once in a while.

I then attended my first Alpha Xi date party themed "AXi/DC". It was a blast, and afterwards I attended a glow paint party, which my white tennis shoes can still show the evidence of.

Following that I participated in the Sigma Kappa Mud Bowl. Sure I may not have played volleyball since gym back in middle school, but hey, we still dominated the loser's bracket of the tournament. 

In another Alpha Xi philanthropy event, I somehow managed to walk a 5k in the dark. Glow sticks aren't necessarily the best way to illuminate the darkness. 

On Family Day at K-State my family came up for a couple hours and brought me out to dinner at Olive Garden because food is naturally the way to every college students heart. Later that night I ended up going swing dancing at Dirty Dawgs.

I had managed to make it this far through the semester before having to do my own laundry for the first time. Thanks to Nate I was able to do it without error. 

I then had a spontaneous moment and agreed to go on a blind date for a Mathletes/Athletes Phi Delta Theta date party.

That Sunday I had an Alpha Xi sisterhood retreat where we all went rollerskating in Junction City. I'm not quite sure how, but I managed to stay on my own two feet the entire night. 

Then came a fun filled Homecoming week. Alpha Xi Delta was partnered with Lambda Chi Alpha and Kappa Sigma, and our theme was the "Roaring 20s". On Sunday night I participated in "Pant the Chant", which is basically a step competition. Then after racing through my math exam on Wednesday night, I headed over to watch the dance performances at "Wildcat Request Live" (WRL), and then concluded the week on Friday with the Homecoming parade. 

On a much anticipated Wednesday night, I got my Alpha Xi mom! I think it's safe to say I'm a pretty lucky dottie to get as great of a mom as her! 

Halloween then rolled around, and to be honest, Halloween is probably my least favorite holiday. But I made the most of it with my crazy cat lady costume. 

The Sunday after Halloween my sorority had a paint war in the park. 

I then came down with severe tonsillitis, basically felt like I was on my death bed. But after I recovered I was back to fun and crazy nights with my friends! 

At the end of Thanksgiving break, I endured the cold to watch the Cats take down KU in football. Well at least through the first half...I start to get impatient when I can no longer feel my feet. 

My sorority then had our Tacky Christmas date party which gave us the opportunity to have a night of fun before cracking down on finals. 

 After making it through the dreaded finals week, I made the drive back home, watched my sister perform in Kansas City Ballet's The Nutcracker, and have just been hanging around the house since binge watching Criminal Minds and Hallmark movies with my cats.

Overall 2015 was very good to me, and it will definitely be a favorite year of mine to look back on. But I cannot wait to see what 2016 has in store for me. Happy New Year! 

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