My laptop has finally been fixed and I am back from my annual short trip home for Christmas, so I’d say there is no better moment to write one of those “year in review” posts that seems to be a mandatory thing on the last day of the year.

I am not an optimist. It is not in my nature. I always tend to see the glass half-empty, to hope for the best but always expect the worst (it’s sort of a defense mechanism so that, if things go wrong, I don’t get too crushed). And despite all this – and, probably, in spite of all this – that I can safely and truthfully say that 2014 was one of the best years of my life.

Between academic/professional and personal accomplishments, I have achieved and grown so much that it is impossible not to feel amazed and proud of myself (believe me, it doesn’t happen that often). I took all the priceless opportunities and advantages that were given to me and ran with them. I challenged myself, forced myself to defeat my usual Great Wall of Self-Doubt and saw amazing results and feedback coming out of that persistence and effort.

I finished my Master Degree cum laude (it means “with honours” in Latin). I had one of the best thesis grades of my year. I had a freaking 19 out of 20 in Political Philosophy and Ethics of Globalisation – a course that had me shaking my knees in the beginning, for I hadn’t had Philosophy since secondary school and this class would be taught together with Philosophy students. I was 3% short of a magna cum laude distinction due to a lower but still positive grade in Global Environmental Politics – my only regret this year is probably the fact that I chose not to repeat that exam (not sure that I would be allowed to, anyway, because this University is a bit weird when it comes to re-sits).

I got a traineeship in one of the European institutions. I can’t even begin to describe how blessed and lucky I feel regarding this point! I have learnt so much it is ridiculous – fool are the ones who get out of University thinking they already know it all – and I only wish it was a) longer and b) a permanent job. I am no stranger to hard work, atypical schedules that demand all of your flexibility and stressful deadlines – having worked for 3 years in order to save up for my Master degree in jobs that were the definition of these last three points – and, maybe because of that, I was able to cope so well with the rhythm at the EU institutions that I ended up making an impression. The moment that got me teary-eyed was when I realised that, even though I couldn’t stay, my Unit had been telling The Powers That Be, individually and as a group, that it was ridiculous to let people like me go when they were so overworked and in such dire need of good, committed professionals. Their words, not mine.
I was also invited by my former professors to be a guest speaker on a panel regarding internships. The experience was priceless.

I moved in with my boyfriend, and so far so good. I took him home for Christmas and my family welcomed him in such a warm manner it was impossible not to feel blessed and grateful. We went on holidays to the United Kingdom in August and his friends couldn’t have been kinder to me. I feel grateful to have him by my side every single day.

I met lots of new people – some of them became friends, good friends, best friends. I got to see old friends and realise that it’s as if time didn’t pass since the last time we’ve met. I now can’t keep a straight face when I hear “yes of course” said in a somehow posh way, and I stifle the laugh when someone mentions 20 euros (private joke between the person mentioned in the post “The Man and The Ugly Last Resort” and I).

I’ve met George R. R. Martin – I could start and end my year review post with this sentence only. I was introduced to the brilliance that are the books of Connie Willis and Jo Nesbø, and finally felt again how it is to discover something new that inspires your utmost devotion with London Grammar. I confirmed the brilliance of Wes Anderson with The Grand Budapest Hotel and almost won my informal bet with my best friend when we watched The Fault in Our Stars. I surrendered to the awesomeness of House of Cards and finally finished Breaking Bad – and my heart remains Jesse’s. Masterchef became my new guilty pleasure (currently binge-watching) and both my boyfriend and I still can’t understand how David Martinez made it to S3’s top 6.

2014 brought me hope for a personal problem I used to (because almost all the TPTB would tell me so) find unmanageable and out of anyone’s control. It is not. It won’t go away, but it is manageable in several cases. There is a way and it is working. All I can hope is that it becomes widespread soon so that more people have access to it. Of this I will speak no more, just know that I am grateful for being on the right place at the right time.

The best part of it all, however, was the gigantic step I took, personality-wise. I finally learned how to say no, enough and to take no bullshit at all. I haven’t stopped being afraid to speak in public, but I will do it nonetheless and I will seem confident doing so. I will speak for myself and stand up for myself. I am done with parasite-type of people and I am not afraid to call them out on it. I will give my input, in a polite but assertive way, because – T., you were right – I do have something to say and it matters.

2015 might prove itself difficult – it will start with two words that are painful and dreaded by almost everyone: job hunting. But I won’t give up, because I rarely do. It might be hard, but I need and will get there. But for every cloud there is a silver lining, and 2015 will bring me one right at the start – the crossing of the item at the top of my Bucket List (more on that in a following post).

Happy New Year, everyone. May 2015 be even better than 2014! Speaking for myself, that will be a tough act to follow, but not trying is worse than failing.