2017 — A Year in Review

A Year in Review

Two-thousand-seventeen was weird, guys. Don’t you agree? Kansas had a mild summer and it has been over a year since Wichita has seen snow. The political spectrum has given SNL some of its best material in years. And I started a business. LOL… WOAH!

I don’t want this to be political or to repeat the news of the year -- I’d be writing until 2019. Instead, I’m focusing on personal growth and the growth and people around me. There have been some really great strides and bomb ass things have happened. There were some hard times, too, much that we had to work through and learn from.

January

I started the second of my four-semester graphic design program courses. I entered my second semester as an intern for Wichita State’s Strategic Communication office. I also attempted my sixth and hopefully final attempt at a 365 challenge. This time it was a design of day that I deemed #Alyssa365. I think I made it 36-ish days.

On January 20th, I also made my word of the year “kindness.” I tried to be intentional in my friendships and offer help to anyone who asked. I saw each person as a person and shared many smiles and warm laughs. America was shifting and needed more love. I tried my best to provide.

Oh! And I attended Wichita’s Women’s March on the 21st and it was SO COOL! Let’s do it again, ICT.

I felt joyful and hopeful in January.

February

It was a pretty warm February. Looking through my Instagram, I see that we played outside with Quinn quite a bit… in t-shirts. The biggest thing, I think, in February was #SiloShopICT. A pop-up shop created by the Wichita State student AIGA chapter. I helped the President, Gabby Garlow, with the poster and marketing as well as sold a bunch of sweet ICT, poop emoji and feminist buttons to the community.

I felt like I finally found my groove in February.

March

I started March the same way I have for the last few years. I celebrated my sister Katelyn and the #spreadthewordtoendtheword movement. This movement aims to stop the use of the R-word due to the negative connotation around it and the impact it has on the community. While she may be a grump most of the time, she’s my true sister and I’ve always got her back.

One of my favorite projects I’ve worked on was printed and delivered in March. Check it out here.

I felt motivated in March.

April

I rang in April with my fools--I mean, friends. We were in Dallas for a portfolio review/design conference. This is where, honestly, Wichita with Love began. I met a Dallas designer who was doing exactly what I wanted to do. Check out her work here.

While in Dallas I also got the news that I was selected for an interview at one of Wichita’s advertising agencies! I interviewed for the internship and got it on April 14th.

I felt super accomplished in April.

May

I finished my 2nd semester of the design program. Jared and I celebrated our final year countdown to our wedding with beautiful engagement photographs by Valerie Shannon Photography. I launched the Wichita with Love Instagram!!

I felt like 2017 might be my year in May.

June

I left my job at Wichita State and started my internship. I was terrified and hopeful all at once. The work was easy and, for the most part, okay, but I I wasn’t connecting like I knew I should. I went to work was a positive attitude each day, but ended up beat down and found a lost sense of self.

On a lighter note, we celebrated one year of Quinn on the 28th. It was a beautiful year as a dog mom. I love this pup more than words can describe.

I felt just OK in June.

July

LOL. YOU THOUGHT THIS YEAR WOULD BE EASY.

On a totally honest note, I called in sick to work (from Arkansas the next morning!) and drove to Arkansas in Jared’s new (like one week new!) car with Quinn in tow to the lake to meet him and his family. Guys, I drove, alone, overnight, down dark, curvy roads in Jared’s NEW CAR. Am I crazy? Yep. Totally. But, I don’t regret a single thing. Yeah, I probably should have been honest and not played hooky, but I was breaking down fast and couldn’t spend one more day after work breaking down alone with my dog. When I returned back to work that following Monday, I knew that everything was slowly crashing down. My partner at work was a ball of bad energy and I felt no outlet to share my frustrations. When I did finally share my experience, I was simply told to “work through it” as it had not been what I was currently attempting to do.

I became physically ill and knew that I needed to leave. I packed all my things and took an afternoon off the make sure I was doing the right thing. The following morning I emailed in my resignation and never looked back.

Instead, I ran for my future. I never felt better.

I hold no hard feelings toward the company that so generously offered me a job and taught me more about myself than years of life had. I was embarrassed for a long time, and I didn’t tell my friends what had happened. I felt like a total failure. I thought I had totally tarnished my name in the design field. No one would want to ever work with me again.

Then I remembered that I control my future. Wichita with Love was my future. And, if anything, I hope the company I left learned from me because I don’t want ANYONE to ever experience the same thing I did.

In July I was crushed and then rejuvenated.

August

I returned to work for Wichita State and was filled with relief the moment I walked in the door. Not only did I get to work with my partner-in-design, Brier, but I also went back to a team of supportive, kind people who always wished the best for me. I <3 Strat Comm. #GoShocks #MakeItMoreInfographicy

I officially bought and registered my business. Wichita with Love, LLC. It’s been a learning process ever since.

On the 21st, I packed a picnic and traveled to middle-of-nowhere Nebraska with Jared’s parents to experience totality during the eclipse. I think I shed a single tear with how absolutely breathtaking it was.

While in Nebraska, we (Jared’s mom)  got the call (that Jared and I had JUST been joking about!) that my future sister-in-law was being induced, and Jared and I would have a new, little nephew. On the 22nd, the little (now very big) bundle of joy was born. It’s been a blessing to watch him grow.

In August I was in awe of the world around me.

September

I was settling into my 3rd semester of my graphic design degree. The first day of fall was 92 degrees. I began feeling like myself again. And I made some super cool white on white tees.

In September I was setting sail toward the end of the year.

October

I turned 24. WHAT? That’s still weird to say. Each time a year passes, I wonder if I’m doing all that I can for myself and the world around me. I reevaluate my life and make sure that I am indeed happy. For the third year in a row, I was. I have a healthy life; I have amazing friendships; I have a wonderful family. and I could really feel Wichita with Love start to roll.

In October I was overjoyed.

November

In November things for my business stalled a little as I was focusing on finishing my semester strong. I knew that in September and October I had put my business before school and needed to rearrange my map a little. I spent more time on projects for class and less on projects for me. It’s okay because that’s life. Toward the end, things started to wrap up and I was about to re-shift my focus.

In November I was flexible and knew what needed to be done.

December

It’s currently December 21st, so I can’t speak for the month as a whole, but DAMN when did we get to December?

I’m currently sitting in a coffee shop by the Wichita State campus reflecting on my year. I’m amazed by my growth and resilience. Sure, most of what I have written is only the top layer. My emotions were literally all over the place this year, and my life isn’t super perfect. I am just as human as everyone else.

I tried my best to surround myself with strong people and celebrate them. So, here we go:

My sweet friend Jessie Jo grew as a person and a designer. She landed her FIRST design job working for Hyper Pet and gets to spend 2018 designing for dogs. Guys, that is literally a dream! She has been my girl, always had my back. I’m so thankful our paths have crossed. I’ve learned so much from Jessie. She is resilient and doesn’t give a shit what you think. She’s brave and tough and, damn, she is so cool.

•••

My dude, Trevor -- He’s had a year… not always great, but he always came through. I saw Trevor at his highs and lows in 2017. I think Trevor is such a strong person. This year proved it. When I needed help, Trevor was there. When he needed help, we were there. I think 2018 will do big things for Trevor. He sure as hell deserves it. My hope is that Trevor RUNS toward his potential in 2018.

•••

Brier… like the ice cream. Without this guy, I would have fallen flat on my face. He quickly became my person and let me complain, without judgment, whenever needed. Brier has worked his ASS off this year. Looking at how much he has improved is so amazing. He has blown me out of the water on a few projects and has stayed humble the entire way. I’m really proud of Brier and to call him a friend. I’m hopeful, when we graduate, we’ll stay close and always cheer on each other. I also hope to work alongside him at some point in our career once our days together at Strat Comm end.

•••

In 2017 my mom gave me some of the best advice in my life. She helped me through my departure from my summer internship. She has been a superstar in her career and helping as an investor in mine. Knowing where my mom started and seeing where she has landed in life is THE biggest inspiration in my life. She has always let me learn my own lessons and never been judgmental of them. She’s been my biggest cheerleader and the base of my support system. I’ll never be able to repay her for everything.

•••

My dog, Quinn, went to dog school and graduated. She’s still a maniac, but at least she knows (sort of) how to stay and lay down!

•••

My December was and is pretty dang great.

2017, you were overall good to me. I learned a lot, I grew a lot and I think I cried a fair amount, too. But, 2018 is my year (says everyone on Instagram ever)… BECAUSE I FINALLY GRADUATE COLLEGE AND GET TO MARRY MY BEST FRIEND.

If you have made it this far, congrats! That was a lot of words. I hope that my life lessons can help someone. That’s the biggest reason for sharing them, right? I hope that 2018 grants you and your families and friend everything desired. Stay strong in the times you feel down and surround yourself with positive people. We are built to be broken down and get right back up and work harder, stronger and smarter.

I am thankful and love each and every one of you. Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays! Wishing you the best New Year!

With love,

Alyssa

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