2015 is coming to a close. It has been an absolutely crazy year. When I look back at where I was a year ago (and Facebook has been kind enough to remind me that a year ago today I was touring the Vatican with my family), I cannot believe how far I’ve come.
I was in Italy until June, finishing my Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in Assisi. Parts of those six months were really difficult. I was lonely and more afraid than I have ever been ever, not to mention that I had no idea what I was going to do next. But despite all this, I persevered, and I still had some wonderful experiences (I can say this now because perspective is a great thing). After Christmas, I visited Rome, Florence, and Pisa with my family. I returned to Rome in February for the Fulbright midyear meeting. In March, my mother and I visited Bari and Matera. In May, I visited Narni—the village that inspired The Chronicles of Narnia—with some Kenyon friends who were studying in England for the year. In June, before I came home, I went to see the Museo Omero in Ancona and the Flower Festival in Spello. We visited Spoletto and Venice, the wineries at Montefalco in Umbria, and Lake Trasimeno on the border between Umbria and Tuscany. And when I wasn’t traveling, I was teaching everything from English, literature and creative writing to history, sociology, and chemistry (I claim very little proficiency in those last two). I improved my Italian (though I haven’t practiced much since), and I made some wonderful friends.
At the same time, the difficulties I was facing in Italy, including a lot of discrimination, helped me decide that I want to attend law school. I’ve said this a few times already, but though I feel that I might have come to this decision without my experiences in Italy, those experiences gave me the passion and the empathy that I hope to bring to disability law in school and beyond. So when I came home, I spent the summer studying hard for the LSAT. I took the LSAT in October and claimed victory. Then I filled out all my law school applications. Now I’m back to playing the waiting game. And everyone knows I’m really bad at that. On the other hand, I have already been accepted to three law schools, so it’s much less stressful. I know I am going to law school. Now it’s just a question of where.
Since I took the LSAT, I have also been volunteering at the New Hampshire Disability Rights Center, which has been a blast. I have learned a lot about disability rights in just two months, but most of all, I am sure now that this is what I want to do.
Finally, I had some writing successes as well. My story “Naming Angelo” was the second runner-up for the Dell Award, and “Dissonance” was accepted for publication by Abyss and Apex in October. And it’s coming out Friday, guys! Be excited!
So I did a lot of stuff this year. Last January, when I set out my goals for the year, I had no idea what was coming. Now… I have no idea what those goals were and if I actually achieved them. So let’s take a look:
- By the time I return from Italy at the end of June, one of my novels will be edited and ready to start submitting:
From January to March, I worked pretty much nonstop to revise my small child wizard novel and get it down to a reasonable length. And I did it! I was having a really hard time then, and my father suggested that I reorient my goals: take this time and use it to write or read or draw. Set goals for yourself that you can accomplish and use this time for that. So I wrote, and I’m positive that having this project was the only thing that kept me going through February. I even started to get to the submitting part. More news on that soon, I hope.
As for the honors novel, which I also thought I might revise, that didn’t happen at all. But I have a plan for that, and my goal was only to edit one of the three novels on my computer.
2. Keep this website updated on a semi-regular basis:
Okay, I slacked a bit from July to October, but it’s a far cry better than I was doing before, when I was posting only like once every four months. So I count it a win. Also, I’ve gotten more than 2000 hits this year, so thank you all for sticking with me and my ramblings this year.
3. Use Twitter:
So, about that…
Unless you count that I tweet every time I write a new blog post (and I don’t, because WordPress does it for me), I have pretty much utterly failed at this. I just can’t seem to get the hang of Twitter. Can someone teach me?
4. Continue writing and submitting short stories:
Done and done. And it’s paying off.
5. Make decisions about what I want to do with my life:
Mission accomplished, at least for the near future. But let me tell you, these were some tough decisions—not to pursue a doctorate in comparative literature or an MFA in creative writing—and in some ways they were disappointing decisions. If I think about it, I’m honestly not that surprised that teaching wasn’t my favorite thing in the world. But I always expected that I would almost exclusively go the writing route, which isn’t to say I’m going to stop writing, obviously. It’s just not the only thing I’m going to do. And after I’ve been telling my family my whole life that no way would I ever become a lawyer, well, you can guess how that felt. But now I’m confident that I’m on the right path, and if I change my mind down the road, I know myself enough to accept that.
But I’m not going to change my mind.
So that’s 2015. It’s been an incredible year. Looking back on where I was a year ago, I’m overwhelmed with feelings I can’t quite pick apart. Nostalgia, probably. Happiness at all I’ve done, definitely. Shock and wonder at how far I’ve come—both figuratively and literally—there’s a lot of distance between January 2015 Jameyanne and December 2015 Jameyanne. But all the changes have been good, and I’m excited for what comes next.