So, well, 2016 has been… Um… eventful.
I ended 2015 thinking, in the coming year, I was going to be SUPER OPTIMISTIC, and this was going to be THE BEST YEAR YET.
Well… It wasn’t. Okay, it was in a few aspects, but largely, on a personal level and a global level, 2016 will go down in history as the year from literal hell.
In a beginning annual tradition on this blog, here is how this year has gone for me, in words and pictures!
My first concert of the year, and my second concert ever! I went to see Halsey on her Badlands tour, with a friend of my mum’s (a last minute decision that was quite fun). Still being a lil shy human, I just stood and watched the whole thing and took photos, but it was honestly such an awesome night.
My sixteenth birthday! Everybody bigs up the whole ‘sweet sixteen’ thing, but I really didn’t feel much different at all. I didn’t have a big party, or even go out with friends – I just stayed in with family given that I was in such a tired state from the slowly increasing exam revision. This birthday was notable because I ended up in the doctors because of a sudden freak acne breakout. Lovely. At least I had a pretty brilliant cake.
Although I had done early entry exams for a few subjects, the middle of May marked the start of my GCSE exam season. From mid-May to mid-June, I was under so much stress and pressure that I was either frantically writing notes and making mind maps, or not revising at all and giving up completely. There was no in between. If you’d like to see how I (tried to) balance reading and revision, I wrote a post!
However, this stressful month was made endlessly better by my favourite person ever, who will know who they are when they read this! We met online at the beginning of the year through Tegan and Sara, a shared favourite band, but properly got to know each other this month and support one another through this hellish GCSE exam season! I cannot wait to meet them and all of the other friends I’ve made through Tegan and Sara very soon.
Exams finished on the 17th of June, hurrah! considering I was staying at my school for sixth form, I didn’t feel even a little bit sad – I stayed to take some photos with friends after the last exam, then went home and literally slept for a month. When I wasn’t sleeping in the last half of June (and early July…) I was binge watching shows on Netflix. It was well deserved.
On the 22nd of June, I had one of the most life changing and wonderful nights I could ever ask for. I saw Tegan and Sara live at KOKO London, one of the first shows for their new album. It was absolutely incredible, and such an emotional night for many reasons. I’ve been absolutely in love with Tegan and Sara for over two years now, and their music has been the soundtrack to the most important parts of my teenage life. Plus, this show was very shortly after the Orlando shooting, and Tegan and Sara made this evening such a loving, open and happy space in a time that was really dark. I’m so thankful I got to experience this concert, and I met some people who I’ve known online for months, which was so lovely. At this concert, the opening act Oscar dedicated a song to voting Remain in the Brexit vote (which was the next day) and well, it was lovely while that hope lasted, I guess. Sorry, EU. We suck as a country.
After a month of sleeping and winding down from exam stress, I finally left the house! One notable day out was when me and my family went up to London to visit the MinaLima Harry Potter exhibition, which is just around the corner from where the Cursed Child is playing. I haven’t really been feeling the hype around the new film and play, but this exhibition was such a lovely, nostalgic look back at the props and artwork used in the films that were my entire childhood.
At the end of July, of course, was the third annual YALC at London Film and Comic Con! I’ve been really out of touch with the blogging world this year, so I sort of just floated around this year, going to talks but not really speaking to anyone. The event this year was incredibly well run, though, so huge props to the team for another incredibly successful year. Thank you also to Macmillan for inviting me to the blogger’s breakfast, where I was lucky enough to get to talk to David Levithan and Nina LaCour. I may have been a tiny, quiet kid who just shuffled past with my signed books awkwardly, but it was so surreal to get to meet them! Levithan and LaCour have written the books that are most important to me.
My leaver’s prom was also in July, and honestly, I didn’t understand the hype at all. People in my year have been squealing about prom since year seven, and I honestly couldn’t care less. I wore a blazer and skinny jeans instead of a sparkly dress, and worked the whole evening as the photographer! A pretty unconventional way to spend what was meant to be the ‘best night of my life’ or something, but hey, I prefer being behind a camera over partying.
I spent the beginning of August working at my school’s summer camp for the second time. It’s a huge stressful job that I take on by myself, photographing the whole camp and producing promo videos in a week’s space – but it’s incredibly rewarding and such great experience. I absolutely love the atmosphere and it’s my favourite job.
The week before results day, I did a week’s internship at a publisher in London. It was in non-fiction publishing, so quite different from what I usually read, but it was a really valuable experience (and also such a good way to take my mind off of results!).
At the end of August, I nervously went to pick up my GCSE results. I had made a tracker whilst revising, with all the grades I was aiming for, and somehow I got every single one – 4 A*s, 2 As, 2Bs overall. I was strangely dissociated from the ‘excitement’ of results day – people were congratulating me on my results, but I genuinely didn’t feel a thing? It was weird. I was happy, of course, and I should have been very excited and relieved but it just didn’t hit me! I signed up to sixth form at my school, then spent a relaxed afternoon with my friends in the park, which was us just basically flopping on the grass like FINALLY IT’S OVER.
Right at the end of August, I did a thing. I’ve never been able to love long hair and all the things it entails. I’ve wanted short hair forever. So I finally got a pixie cut. Adios, seven inches of hair. If you want the longer story to this, it’s on my photography blog as I took many photos.
In October, I was unexpectedly given the chance to spend a week at Wieden + Kennedy, working with a team called The Kennedys to learn all about advertising. This company is so large, and do things in such a cool and creative way. It was an absolutely awesome experience, and gave me totally new ideas about my future career. I’m veering away from aspiring to work in publishing now, and I’m really interesting in film production and photography, particularly within advertising. Thank you, Kennedys! (It was in Shoreditch, hence the artsy wall above… more of my photos here)
I won an award! Although I couldn’t make it to the ceremony, I was chosen as the winner of a UKYA Blogger Award, in the Champion Teen Blogger category. This trophy and book token arrived in the post a few weeks after it was announced, and I wasn’t expecting them at all – it was the loveliest surprise!
So much tiredness. Sixth form has really caught up with me in the last two months of the year – I’ve been coming straight home to crawl into bed, doing just enough work to get by. I was doing okay at the start of term, but the exhaustion finally got to me. A sad way to end the year, but… Here’s hoping things are more manageable in the next term!
So… That was my year! Last year, I listed my five favourite posts from this blog, but looking back, I’m really proud of a lot from this year. So here’s a top… eight!
Cinnamon Girl Blog Tour: Review Graphic
GCSE English Literature | A Call for Diversity on the Curriculum
Cover to Cover: My Favourite Overseas Book Designs
Favourite Quotes: You Know Me Well by David Levithan and Nina LaCour
Book Review: As I Descended by Robin Talley
The Bibliomaniac: A Bookshelf Tour
GIRLPOWER: My Favourite Girls in YA
Life Online: Thoughts on Internet Personalities
If you’re still reading this very long post, then congrats, and thank you!
Watch this space… In a few days I’ll be posting about my favourite books from 2016 (and films and music… I have a lot of favourites, guys)