So Long, 2011. Howdy, 2012!

I recently wrote a list of “firsts” that social media has brought into my life, all happening during 2011. If I could describe the year in one word, it would be “whirlwind.” It’s been a whirlwind year. I’ve learned so much about myself and about life in general, and have had so many wonderful, eye-opening experiences. I set out to write this post hoping to make some profound statement about everything that can happen in a year, but I keep getting distracted by the need to say “thank you.”

Man, I could list people I owe thanks to for hours. Really. There’s too many to fit into one blog post. Through acts large and small, it’s been the people I know that have made 2011 fantastic. If it weren’t for the kindness, faith, an support of so many people, 2011 would have been “just another year.” It’s been far from that. It’s been my biggest year yet, and 2012 will only be bigger.

On my recent post about first experiences in 2011, my friend Mike Haley left this comment:

It’s not social media that is awesome, but the relationships made possible through the use of social media. What’s next for the great Rivard?

He couldn’t have said it any better.

Just a list of the pivotal moments of 2011 for me:

  • Embarking on my first fresh year as a single woman, after six years with my high school sweetheart
  • Scoring an internship in California, driving there, living there for three months, and totally experiencing life as I’d never seen it before
  • The first #Agvodate
  • Traveling to Nashville for the 2011 AgChat Conference
  • Coming home to realize that Illinois isn’t where I’m supposed to be at this stage in my life
  • Completing the most challenging and exhausting term of my college career to date
  • Starting to plan my post-graduation life away from Illinois
  • Losing the insights and inspiration of Chris Raines

The year wasn’t all good; there were plenty of dark spots, none of which measured up to the news of Chris’s death. It was shocking and painful and has cast a cloud of sorrow over the #AgChat, academia and food communities on Twitter and Facebook. I put into words my feelings following the new in this post, and I don’t really feel that any amount of words can adequately portray my feelings about it.

With that said, I’m looking down the road. I have six months left to my undergraduate degree (assuming all of the paperwork and grades work out). After that, it’s off to where work takes me. I have high hopes for a few specific opportunities, but I won’t be sharing any of that until things become official. I’m looking forward to the day I can announce that I have that big, official “big kid” job.

My New Years weekend actually started last night, on Thursday, continues with my best friend’s birthday outing tonight, and a few parties tomorrow night. While I galavant across the county celebrating the end of 2011, I ask that everyone parties safely and has a wonderful New Years weekend. I’ll see you on the other side!


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