End of the year(book).

December 14th, 2012 | Posted by Ashley in Family and Friends | Musings

As 2012 comes to a close, I am pleased to announce that I am officially finished with graduate school! The three-semester program went by in a flash, but I have so many memories. And yet, at times like this one, I struggle with how to organize and preserve those memories. I remember completing my first year as an undergrad at UCLA, and I was left with so many open-ended questions, experiences, and relationships that I worried would fade after we all went to our respective hometowns for the summer. Since then, after every year of school, I’ve wondered, Why can’t I get a yearbook?

Remember signing people’s yearbooks at the end of every school year growing up? I have such fond memories of exchanging yearbooks with my best friends so we could draw pictures and decorate and write the most thoughtful message possible. I remember writing yearbook entries in people’s yearbooks with whom I wasn’t necessarily close and feeling a sense of closure and happiness that I was able to tell them how I really felt about them after seeing them every day for a whole year (all good things!) Yearbooks literally close the book on a year gone by, allowing you to reflect and reminisce, but then put the past behind you and move on to the next exciting year. Yearbooks show you how you’ve grown up – they’re time capsules that will always remind you of where you’ve been and who you are. And how much fun is it to look back at old yearbooks and see who your friends were and what people had to say about you? Especially when you realize you’re probably the exact same person you were back then, if not with a totally different body, longer hair, and straighter teeth. Not to mention a learned propensity toward not drinking six cans of Coke a day or eating an entire box of Frosted Flakes in one sitting. (The cookie dough thing is still going strong though.)

At UCLA, I longed for that closure, and I’d get so disappointed when I realized I wouldn’t be able to say goodbye to everyone I wanted to before summer break. Then I got my yearbook senior year and realized the only thing a college yearbook is good for is adding extra dead weight to your packages while you’re boxing up your apartment. In the end though, I guess yearbooks are a thing of our youth. Since we cannot get people to write down what they think of us at the end of each year or every milestone in our lives, maybe we can learn from the yearbook philosophy. When big events in our lives come to a close, we should try to reflect on the journey, realize how far we’ve come, and more importantly, whom we met along the way.

I thought it would be fun to turn this post into a sort of informal yearbook by posting some of the most memorable photos from my past three semesters/year and a half in Boston. It had a million ups and downs, but I made some incredible friends along the way with whom I know I’ll be in touch for a long time coming. Thank you to everyone who made the completion of my master’s degree possible – whether scholastically, or just contributing to my mental wellbeing. I can’t wait to reunite and re-experience Boston in May for graduation!

Watching the Red Sox play at Fenway for the first time.

Watching the Red Sox play at Fenway for the first time.

Octoberfest with Nicole at Harpoon Brewery.

Octoberfest with Nicole at Harpoon Brewery.

Visiting my cousin, Carlye, in NYC.

Visiting my cousin, Carlye, in NYC.

Halloween dress-up.

Halloween dress-up.

Visit from Mom.

Visit from Mom.

Meeting my nephew, Tyler, for the first time.

Meeting my nephew, Tyler, for the first time.

Getting out of hand at the Bell in Hand with Gabby and Kyra.

Getting out of hand at the Bell in Hand with Gabby and Kyra.

I went to Israel! My sister and I did Birthright - amazing place, amazing people!

I went to Israel! My sister and I did Birthright – amazing place, amazing people!

Snow in Boston with my sister, Sam.

Snow in Boston with my sister, Sam.

Fun times out to dinner with Emily.

Fun times out to dinner with Emily.

Celebrating Kendal's birthday with the girls.

Celebrating Kendal’s birthday with the girls.

I saw Van Halen LIVE!!

I saw Van Halen LIVE!!

I ran a zombie 5K race with Kendal and Gabby. And I'll never do it again.

I ran a zombie 5K race with Kendal and Gabby. And I’ll never do it again.

My 27th (eek!) birthday celebration was so much fun! So many of my favorite people came out to party!

My 27th (eek!) birthday celebration was so much fun! So many of my favorite people came out to party!

I had the opportunity to visit Philly with Nicole, who was a phenomenal tour guide. Here I am doing the Rocky pose.

I had the opportunity to visit Philly with Nicole, who was a phenomenal tour guide. Here I am doing the Rocky pose.

I went on a weekend trip to Maine with some of my best Boston friends.

I went on a weekend trip to Maine with some of my best Boston friends.

Aaanndd a year later, back at the Bell in Hand with Gabby and Pamela.

Aaanndd a year later, back at the Bell in Hand with Gabby and Pamela.

I’m looking forward to wrapping up my time in Boston celebrating a few birthdays, going to a few holiday parties, and boxing up my memories to be shipped back to the city by the bay. I’ll be back soon, Boston! XO

Always,

Ashley

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